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The Never Tilting World #1

The Never Tilting World

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Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

512 pages, Hardcover

First published October 15, 2019

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About the author

Rin Chupeco

22 books5,398 followers

Newsletter: http://www.rinchupeco.com/newsletter

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,167 reviews98.2k followers
October 16, 2019

ARC gifted to me by Olivia! Thank you!

“When the dead find words, the goddess and the Devoted son will meet atop a fish not a fish, on a sea not a sea. It is she who travels to the endless Abyss, and it is he who guides her.”

It’s no secret that Rin Chuepco is one of my favorite authors of all time. I have supported and loved every book I’ve picked up by them, but I was still apprehensive how they were going to top The Bone Witch Trilogy, which is one of my favorite series of all time, but friends, The Never Tilting World might be my new favorite Rin Chupeco book. And this was such a perfect start to this duology.

This book was originally pitched to me as Mad Max meets Frozen, and even though that sounds like the wildest of comparisons, it totally is true. The world of Aeon is separated into two cities after “the breaking”. Two goddesses have raised these two girls, while keeping secrets and never allowing them to know that they are twins and that their sibling is alive. Yet, monsters are breaching both shores

Two Dying Cities:
Aranth - Never ending night, cold, and frozen everything.
The Golden City Never ending day, heat, and chaos.

Two Powerful Girls:
Haidee - Has a love for mechanical engineering and is expected to marry soon.
Odessa - Lesbian, chronically ill, and I will protect at all costs.

Two Traveling Companions:
Arjun - Disabled (missing a hand), a rogue rebel, and likes Haidee.
Lan - Bi, has PTSD, healer and bodyguard for Odessa. (Also, best library meet-cute ever!)

Honestly, Lan is probably my favorite character and seeing their journey to love and heal was really so beautiful that it makes me cry just thinking about it. Truly one of the best fictional characters I’ve had the pleasure to read about in a really long while. Rin also always gives their readers the best romances, and this book was no different. I was in love with both romantic subplots in this book, but Lan and Odessa’s f/f relationship meant everything to me (who is surprised?). Also, Rin confirmed they are Gryffindor and Slytherin and *chef kiss* you all know that’s the best pairing. But Haidee and Arjun are the best Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw m/f to probably ever exist, too.

But both of these two pairings go off on separate journeys, trying to uncover secrets that have been hidden from them their whole lives, while also willing to do anything to save their people.

This book is for sure a metaphor for how the time is truly ticking until our own world becomes uninhabitable, while we all live in opposite ends of the spectrum of constant day and night. There are monsters in this book, but the most terrifying aspect is the waters rising too fast and the ice coming in too quickly, which threaten to erase an entire city. While another city cannot provide for their people because nothing will grow, therefore they have to be sealed away hoping to gain more time before everything dies. Rin also always celebrates the Filipino culture in all of their books with all their themes. Also, I always view all of Rin’s characters as Asian, unless stated otherwise.

“We’re chasing a dying sea under an endless sun that kills us with a thousand little cuts every day. There’ll be nothing left soon. Nothing but sand and bone.”

This story also is truly a love letter to womanhood, motherhood, and sisterhood, and how those powerful bonds can scare men. The feminist undertone is constant in this story, and the parallels to our world is also impossible to not see. Again, the world doesn’t deserve Rin Chupeco and their stories, and please protect them at all costs.

“A demoness is what they call a goddess that men cannot control.”

I will say that I know this magic system, world, and world building isn’t going to be for everyone. Just like Rin’s other works, people are going to say that it is too complex and the learning curve is too steep, and that’s valid. I will be the first to say that I always just feel instantly connected to Rin’s work and their stories, but I know that is not the case for everyone, so here is your warning.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and Trigger Warnings: PTSD depiction, violence, gore, mention of sexual assault, talk of death, and war themes.

Buddy read with Alexa! ❤ (This buddy read meant so very much to me and I just really love Alexa so much and I’m so thankful for her friendship and her voice!)

And thank you so much Shealea for putting this amazing blog tour together! (You’re the best, bb!) ❤
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
April 18, 2021

A demoness is what men call a goddess they cannot control.
Twin goddesses have always ruled Aeon but seventeen years ago, one of the twins refused a prophecy and the Breaking happened.

When the Breaking occurred, the world ground to a halt.

Half of it became a fiery desert and the other half is a frozen city- each ruled by a different Goddess and divided by the Great Abyss.

And each goddess has raised one of the next generation of twin goddesses (Haidee in the desert, Odessa in the frozen city).

Neither Haidee nor Odessa know of each other's existence but both of them feel a pull towards the site of the Breaking.
The mirage stared down at me...Its face was still swathed in shadows - until I realized it wasn't.
There was no face underneath that hood.
Perhaps they feel drawn to correct a great wrong? Or perhaps the broken prophecy is drawing them into something far more sinister...
...the shadows gathered to a spot above her heart, pulsing with an unknown ichor.
Whew. This one was a WILD ride!

Though, as a fair warning - this book really hits the ground running.

There is a LOT of lore thrown at you in the very beginning - how the worlds work, the lies between the goddesses and a magic system - but once I got the hang of that, I really sunk into this story.

I loved Haidee and her Arjun - they were such a natural pair of characters that I adored every time they took up the page. Her mechanic's eye and his practical nature made their storyline easy and enjoyable.

Odessa and Lan had such an interesting dynamic - especially with the way magic was affecting Odesssa's personality towards the healer.

The world's magic was enchanting and it was fascinating watch it grow and develop.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book! It was a fun adventure and I cannot WAIT for the next one!

A huge thank you to HarperTeen and Rin Chupeco for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Rin Chupeco.
Author 22 books5,398 followers
March 28, 2019
EDIT [3/28/19]: cover reveal! https://t.co/r1pRsQ06GC

Hello, what you should know about THE NEVER TILTING WORLD:

1. Four POVs:
+ Haidee, goddess-mechanic with free-spirited Moana vibes
+ Odessa, bookish chaotic lesbian goddess energy
+ Arjun, sarcastic fire-wielding amputee and secret cinnaman
+ Lan, healer/ranger and fierce bodyguard in love with her charge

2. Twin goddesses scrambling to fix a world slowly dying of horrific man-made (goddess-made?) and destructive climate change. Yes, climate change deniers are my villains now.

3. A world torn between night and day, and an endless abyss in the middle of the world where Horrible Things Climb Out Of

4. Sandworms! A sea-desert! Ships sailing on winds! Shadow demons and corrupted creatures! Sand dolphins! Two-tiered elemental magic system! Did I mention SAND DOLPHINS

5. Maybe some kissing?

(While it's been pitched as Frozen meets Mad Max, I like to think that it's more of a Mad Max meets Avatar the Last Airbender aesthetic)

Enjoy! <3
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,122 followers
September 30, 2020
This Is why I shouldn't judge books by their covers. I expected it to be as good as it looked. I was wrong!

Don't get me wrong, the book didn't totally suck, despite my sucky rating. It was just meh, which is probably worse.

My first issue is that I, quite frankly, didn't care about any single one of the characters. Whether they lived or died was not my concern. One of them could have gotten hit by a magical bus and I wouldn't have batted an eye.

The characters didn't seem original to me. There was nothing about them that made them interesting. Nothing that made them stand out. By the time the year ends in two months I probably won't remember any of their names. The only thing I might remember is the fact that the 'goddesses' had rainbow hair, if only because it gets drilled into our heads repeatedly.

My main problem with this book is that no matter how much I tried, I couldn't get invested in the story!

The POVs all started to blend together after a while and despite having such an awesome premise, I was bored while reading. I kept putting this book down and not feeling any desire to pick it back up. I actually thought about not finishing because my mind wasn't in it.

All of that said, this book is not actually horrible. The premise is super interesting. The writing is decent. The characters are pretty meh, but there was nothing that was necessarily wrong with them.

It's like all the pieces were there but the puzzle just wasn't put together in the most effective or appealing way for me.

Overall, It was OK. But life is too short to read books that are just 'OK'. With so many amazing books out there waiting to be read, I cannot in good conscience recommend this one.

That said, if you do decide to give this one a shot, I really do hope you enjoy it!

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October 8, 2021

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DNF @ p. 66

Oh man, this is another review that is probably going to get me hate, but you know what, I thought this book was bad and I'm not sorry about being honest. I'd be a pretty crappy book blogger if I lied to you and said this was amazing when I kept zoning out while reading this and thinking about all the other books I'd rather be reading instead. It was boring and 100% not for me.

On the surface, THE NEVER TILTING WORLD sounded amazing. LGBT+ fantasy set in a broken world where one half is always cold and dark and the other half is sunny and light. It reminded me of this planet I watched in this documentary called "Exoplanets from Hell" (which is totally amazing and you should track it down and watch it), and I believe the planet that I'm thinking of was Upsilon Andromeda b, a planet that is literally half-fire and half-ice. Obviously my nerdy heart started palpitating and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book.

THE NEVER TILTING WORLD turned out to be not my thing, though. The world-building is kind of a mess. I loved the premise, but it was so convoluted and confusing that I couldn't get into it. I had a similar problem with another book, THE TENTH GIRL, where I could not figure out if the author was doing a bad job explaining the story to me, or if I was just too stupid and uninterested to figure out what was going on. There are goddesses in this world, and they're at odds, and it has something to do with what caused the planet to "break" in the first place, and that's as far as I got.

There's also some "this is my original character" fanfic vibes going on here. Two of the characters have LITERAL RAINBOW HAIR and one of the characters has two colored eyes (I think one is gold and one is violet/blue). Everyone in this book has a POV chapter of their own and unfortunately they all have very similar narratives, so it was impossible to keep track of who was who, which was another thing that made it difficult to keep track of what was going on. I shouldn't have to keep flipping back to the chapter heading to look at who's narrating. They should be distinct.

I'm sorry to give up on this but I'm not going to waste my time on something I'm not enjoying, either. You might very well like this, and if you do, more power to you.

Disclaimer: I am reviewing an ARC copy of this work and my copy may be different from yours.

1 star
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,461 reviews9,615 followers
November 4, 2019
October Faecrate Unboxing! Click the link to see the GOODIES


Another damn book that I hated!! I loved the authors Bone Trilogy BUT not this one. I’m getting so tired of these kinds of books!!

I also think the cover is ugly, where many others love it. I thought her Bone Witch covers were better.

Anyway, I only like two of the items in the book box so I’m seriously thinking of dropping all book boxes at the beginning and of the year. I wish they did boxes with just the goodies so we didn’t have to waste money on books that go straight to the trade in box!

Anyhoo, Happy Reading Peeps!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked).
295 reviews1,463 followers
April 5, 2021
HOLY FUCK BALLS I LOVED THIS. I have so many questions that need answering, but my GOD this was so good. My faith in YA fantasy may have just been restored.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,009 reviews1,328 followers
September 22, 2019
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

ARC provided by the Publisher through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review

“A demoness is what men call a goddess they cannot control.”

🌟 I have always wanted to read something by this author and when I saw this awesome cover on Edelweiss (Thanks for them for providing an ARC in exchange of an honest review) I did not think twice and requested it. I have been reading less YA recently and changing into adult fantasy and maybe I am not being fair to this book because of that.

🌟 I decided to give this a chance as I thought it was a standalone but obviously it is a part of a series. That being said, this is not a bad book, I gave it a good rating which is 3 stars. but in a world full of good books, I am looking for something very good, extraordinary, something that stands out between all those books out there.

🌟 The Never Tilting world was good in all aspects but I felt it could have been better, some of the potential was lost somehow. The writing was good but I was bored every now and then.

🌟 The characters were okay, I would have preferred 2 instead of 4 POVs, I rooted for 2 of them and did not care about the other two. Their voices were not the same but it was not so distinctive either. I always say that writing multiple POV is very hard and it could make or break the book. In this case, it was more of the later for me!

🌟 The world building was unique and I liked the magic system but I also wanted more. I think there will be more in the next book but I won’t probably continue this!
The pacing was inconsistent, I felt it was slow sometimes and fast sometimes. The plot was kind of predictable for me.

🌟 Summary: I think The Never Tilting World was a good book that could have done better. I may have picked it with different expectations so you can take this review with a grain of salt! I just thought that all the elements of the story were constricted and had more potential.

You can get more books from Book Depository
Profile Image for Umairah (Sereadipity).
212 reviews107 followers
November 25, 2019
4.5 stars
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 5/5

∗ It was a climate fiction fantasy novel about a world called Aeon split between permanent day and permanent night with extreme weather and dangerous magical creatures.

∗ I absolutely loved it- it was so imaginative and action-packed!

∗ The world building was really well fleshed out. I liked learning how both the day and night sides coped with their situations.

∗ I loved the backstory. It was inspired by Assyrian mythology and was really intriguing.

∗ The plot was full of surprises and I never had a bored moment! I liked watching the two story lines converge.

Odessa was a goddess who lived on the night side of Aeon ruling a city called Aranth. She became braver and more sure of herself as the story progressed. Her character arc was all about fighting the allure of power and how it nearly corrupted her.

Lan was Odessa's bodyguard. She was fierce, strong and disciplined and she had PTSD after a traumatic experience. I liked how she started to come to terms with what happened to her and open up her heart.

Haidee (my favourite character) was also a goddess who lived on the day side of Aeon and ruled the Golden City. Her and Odessa were twins but neither of them knew. She was really smart as a mechanic, extremely caring and definitely reminded me of myself at times.

Arjun lived in the desert on the day side of Aeon and he went with Haidee on her journey. He was an amputee and also really smart and resourceful. My favourite thing about him was how he pretended to be all gruff but his softer side gradually emerged as the novel progressed.

∗ Both the romances were adorable and flawlessly done.

∗ Even though the climate change was caused by a magical disaster the message of being responsible for the damage we cause to our world applies to us all.

∗ It's a brilliant, creative novel- I'd definitely recommend it!

Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

To find out more about the book, check out this interview I did with the author, Rin Chupeco.
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,596 followers
May 24, 2020

Many thanks to Wunderkind PR for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Buddy read with Miranda Reads!! <3


I wasn't a fan of this one but I didn't hate it.

As is the case with most fantasies, I became very bored very quickly. I have ADHD and my brain simply can't wait out the explanations and jargon dumps. I need action and I need it fast. And this book did not deliver.

But I persisted because I didn't want to quit. I'm glad I didn't because things got better. Like, two-star-to-three-star better.

I kept running into the same problem over and over. There was a lot of jargon. This on top of the four POVs kept me constantly confused until the halfway mark. After that point, I finally got a handle on all the craziness that was going on.

But that still wasn't enough to redeem the confusion in the beginning.

Overall, I found this book to be a little to confuzzling and overwhelming but for those who have a longer attention span than I do, I recommend giving this one a try!


This book was 10 hours of meh. Review to come


this cover and title are absolutely gorgeous
i just want to stare at them for hours

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Profile Image for Fadwa (Word Wonders).
547 reviews3,543 followers
November 15, 2020
CW: physical assault, PTSD, physical abuse, allusion to sexual assault and predatory behavior, violence, death

I absolutely LOVED this book but I don't have the brainpower to write a full length review so here are some bullet points. Good AND bad. But let's start with the bad since it's honestly not THAT bad.

The bad:
- The book has a bit of a learning curve. I was a bit lost in the first 60/70 pages because of how much world-building and focus it requires. So this won't be for everyone, especially if you're not into world-building heavy fantasies that kind of throw you in the trenches and you figure things out as you go. But honestly, once I stuck it out it was SO worth it.
- The multiple POV, first person narrative can get confusing at times, especially in the beginning when you still don't have a feel of who the characters are. I sometimes forgot who was speaking and had to read back a little to figure that out.

The good:
- The strong female leads, and matriarchal society. This book is genuinely a love letter not only to women but to the strong bonds between them, no matter their nature and no matter how messy, complex and complicated they get.
- The unique take on goddesses and godliness. I loved seeing them as very...human, powerful yes but also fully immersed with their people and serving them. Or at least, they're supposed to. *coughs* I interviewed the author about this and LOVED hearing what they had to say, which you can read here.
- The parallels with our world's state, especially when it comes to climate change. The Never Tilting World is set in a world ravaged by climate change, where half of it is always in the sun and thus dealing with drought and the other half is always plunged in darkness and dealing with water related disasters. This book really delves deep into the consequences of climate change and you really can see what's ahead of us if we don't get a grip soon.
- The world-building. Yes, it is a pro and con, fite me. But like I said, once I got over that steep learning curve, I LOVED IT. It's so intricate and complex and well done, there are no loose ends left and any questions left unanswered are left that way on purpose. I particularly loved Chupeco's take on elemental magic and how it's influenced by the state of the climate around, that is truly a brilliant thing to add to the book.
- The characters. LOVED every single one of them. They all had their own characteristics and things they were passionate about, and not only did the twin goddesses compliment each other, but each pair (couple) also complimented each other in a different way.
- The romances. I rooted for them so hard for them, ESPECIALLY since the tropes used are ones that I eat up. We have a f/f princess(or goddess)/bodyguard romance and a f/m kind of enemies to lovers romance, and both are in turns tender and angsty. I lived for them.

All in all, this book and I got off to a rough start but once I got over the slow beginning, I read over 300 pages of it in two sitting and if you know me, you know that that's something I rarely do.
Profile Image for Sahitya.
1,032 reviews206 followers
October 17, 2019
I have waited obscenely long to read this book. Multiple requests for the ARC got rejected and while sometimes I lose interest in a book when that happens, it wasn’t the case here. Rin Chupeco has become a favorite author of mine this year and there was no way I wasn’t gonna read this book immediately after its release. And I can’t tell you how happy I am that I wasn’t let down.

This world is brilliantly conceived. As a land that has stopped turning and has literally been cleaved into two, the effect this has on the world itself as well as the people is described with stark detail. The half with perpetual sun is basically a desert with even the strong rays of the sun too dangerous for people to be exposed to, the waters drying up in a way that leads to unprecedented droughts and deaths of creatures leaving very few sources of food remaining. The other half is endless night, with unbearable cold and oceans and ice encroaching on the remaining land that is left. There are also acid rains, sand seas, rivers and seas changing course and various other disasters, which make survival the only thing important in this world.

The origin and basis of the magic system is pretty unique, even though the powers that each person possesses are pretty standard for a fantasy novel. I can’t go much into detail because I don’t think I can really explain it properly and maybe you should find it out yourself. However, the myriad of creatures, some sweet, some motivated and some hostile are all wonderfully described and I really dreaded every time a new one showed up. There really were some very monstrous creatures and I think the author captured the horror of them very well.

The writing style of the author is definitely something that you need to get a bit used to. Just like The Bone Witch trilogy, you are either going to completely fall in love or not like it much at all - and you can obviously guess which side I fall on. The author definitely doesn’t believe in info dumps at all, so while we get to know the issues faced by the people in the world right from the beginning, the reason for the breaking of world and the mythology behind the story of the goddesses is revealed very slowly. The only thing that slightly miffed me was that we really didn’t get answers even by the end of the book, and while I’ll surely read the sequel, I just wish we had gotten some more revelations.

The pacing of the story is steady but mostly on the slower side, with some interesting action sequences in between which thrilled me a lot. This book has one of my favorite tropes - a quest - and I really enjoyed the journeys the characters took across the two vastly different but consistently dangerous landscapes. We get 4 different POVs and the author does a wonderful job giving each of them very distinct voices and making me fall in love with all of them. The audiobook also has a full cast production, which made for a great listening experience. I actually read and listened to this book alternately and I loved both ways of enjoying it.

The characters are another strong point of the story and it always gives me immense pleasure when I end up liking all of them. Odessa is the young goddess of the darker side of the world, while Haidee is from the desert side. They both have been brought up very differently but by very similar strict mothers, with Odessa isolated most of her life due to her chronic illness and Haidee a very talented mechanika (despite her mother’s distaste for it). But they both are inherently compassionate human beings who decide to do something to save their world and set out on very similar and perilous journeys. Odessa is also a romance novel lover and it was adorable to see her try to understand the mechanics of seduction by applying whatever she read in her books. Haidee on the other hand is very competent and practical, but jumps into things headlong without worrying too much about what might happen next.

Lan is a former ranger who suffers from ptsd and is tasked with being Odessa’s bodyguard. They have a kind of established relationship from before the book starts, so it was nice to see it grow and change based on circumstances and also the push and pull due to the power imbalance. Lan is very honorable and her struggle to accept the trauma of her past and realize that it’s okay to sometimes ask for help is very painfully but realistically depicted, and I thought it was amazing to see some kind of therapy sessions happening in a fantasy world.

Arjun on the other hand is a desert nomad who is very skilled at doing whatever it takes to survive and wants to kill Haidee because he assumes she is responsible for the breaking of the world and all his people’s troubles. But it’s obvious from the start that they are destined to be together and it was especially their banter that made for some lighthearted moments in an otherwise intense book. They also make for great partners when fighting off creatures hell bent on murdering them and I lived for those scenes. Arjun seems like a grumpy dude in the beginning but he really is a softie and there are some adorable heartwarming moments in the story between him, Haidee and a group of golugongs and I just wanted to give them all a hug.

Right from the cover to the premise, it’s obvious that this book’s main theme is a direct parallel to the climate change emergency of our world. It really showcases how an entire world can be devastated just because a few in power get greedy for more of it. And how in such catastrophic conditions, those with more resources will essentially shut off relief for anyone they deem unworthy. The author’s note about her own experiences with climate disasters in Philippines really makes for a chilling read and gives the book a whole different perspective. It’s mostly a call to action to everyone to do their part in preventing this devastation from proceeding any further.

There is also a whole subplot about verbal/physical abuse by superiors over their subordinates and I think the author gives us a lot to think about with the way she handled this part of the story - if we get to punish our abusers in the same way they abused us, is it really justice and are we really any different from them? Where is the line really between justice and retribution and what is it that prevents us from becoming abusers too?

If you love books with excellent ensemble of diverse characters, a very complex world and some adorable romances, then you should pick this up. If you have previously enjoyed the Bone Witch trilogy, you’ll probably like this a lot too. If like me, you are fan of characters going on physical as well as metaphorical quests, then this book is a perfect choice for you. The audiobook is also excellently narrated, and I loved listening to a full cast. The book however can be a bit slow, so maybe keep that in mind before you dive into it. I may not be entirely satisfied with the ending, but I really loved the journey this book took me on and I’m already upset that I’ve got to wait a very long while to see how it all ends.
Profile Image for mina.
685 reviews243 followers
May 20, 2022
buddy read with Celaena
DNF @31%

The synopsis was interesting, however, the execution didn’t work for me. I had to force myself to pick it up, and when I did pick it up I would stop mid-chapter to do something else because I didn’t have the will to read it. The world was confusing to me maybe because I wasn’t paying much attention, but the characters didn’t pull me into the story either. I couldn’t care less about the goddesses that were oh, so important in that world.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
Want to read
January 21, 2019
After this tweet by the author, I kinda really need it.

My new series, THE NEVER TILTING WORLD, has 4 POVs:
+ chaotic Slytherin lesbian deity
+ PTSD-suffering Asian bi Gryffindor warrioress
+ Grouchy disabled Hufflepuff Asian gunner
+ Ravenclaw nerd mechanic who is also a goddess
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews189 followers
May 8, 2020
How can you write something so unprecedented yet so tropey?

3.5 stars.

The Never-Tilting World is a queer post-apocalyptic fantasy book inspired by ancient Mesopotamian mythology and climate disasters. It's a really peculiar book, and yet, despite my love for weird queer novels, I never fell in love with it. I did enjoy it a lot, yes - it was overall a really fun time and the audiobook was amazing, making the four PoVs work perfectly with four different narrators.

Let's start from this book's main strength: the worldbuilding is inherently cool. It's set on a tidally locked planet (instant love for me), it has an interesting spin on what could have been a very tired elemental system but wasn't, with a sprinkle of creepy plant magic. This book understands how to maximize the cool factor with the characters as well, having two goddess with rainbow-shifting colored hair as main characters, and involving undead underworld priests covered in lapis lazuli. And it's really diverse, having an all-PoC cast, an F/F romance, an amputee main character and another with PTSD, with some really great conversations around trauma, including what's more or less their world's version of therapy.

However, while The Never-Tilting World is made up of a lot of very interesting and often unique ideas, they never quite came together in a satisfying way, and you could see the scaffolding too much.
This book has two storylines, one that is a hate-to-love romance during a desert chase, one that is a goddess/bodyguard love story featuring a descent into darkness. And everything about them felt like the author came up with the pitch before actually writing the story. I don't know whether that's true, but the result felt a lot more like a list of ingredients than a book. I wanted more depth from it, from the relationships, instead of it relying on tropes over and over, but that's difficult to achieve when the novel seems to think that the way to keep the reader engaged is throwing either romance tropes or fight scenes against monsters at them. (Fight scenes are really not that interesting. I promise. Please let the characters have an actual conversation for once.)
The result is character work that is shoddy in places, predictably.

This book is inspired by climate disasters, and it was promoted as a book that had "climate change" as a theme. Did it, though? I guess that it does in the sense that it's a story about young people doing what it takes to change the status quo in an increasingly hostile environment, and it talks about how the powerful believe they can survive by living in a bubble (the golden city) while stealing resources from poorer people, but the thing about fighting climate change is that it's nothing so cool as fighting monsters; rather the often depressing and too slow work of, among many things, pushing for better policies, learning to deal with our problems instead of making them someone else's, listening to scientists and indigenous people, reshaping the ways we conceptualize growth and economy, changing our priorities and whole way of living. This is not a problem we're good at dealing with as humans, and the fact that you can't solve it by whacking something might have something to do with that. The solutions this book gives to the environment-warping magic do not resonate, so far.
Maybe that will change in the sequel, I don't know - it's true that there are still a lot of unanswered questions, and this novel kept my interest enough for me to want to read The Ever-Cruel Kingdom. If the is a way to say that we can solve this problem only if all the world works together, then yes, we're already thematically on a better path. I hope that's what it meant, as there is already one egregious case of wasted potential: Odessa's descent into darkness.

You're telling me that you had a whole character arc tied to greed for power in a book about climate disasters and you didn't tie the "greed" and "climate disasters" themes together? Why? Is that not one of the main driving forces of real-world climate change?

I also found Odessa's arc, like most "descent into darkness" arcs, unsatisfying: it relies too much on magic that warps the character's mind. It deprives the main character of agency, and generally makes for a very uninteresting story. Hundreds of pages of a main character falling into a trap, slowly, with stilted magic-induced character development: not great!
(Also, let's add "character eavesdropping on other character's therapy session" to the "content warnings I didn't know I needed" folder.)

Acqua, you might say, you spent the whole review complaining. Why a positive rating?
Mainly because I'm a simple gay distracted by shiny cool things and this book is full of them and gay girls, so this was actually a great time, as long as I wasn't thinking too much about how much better it could have been if only it had done certain things differently. But I don't want to undermine that this book did get a lot right, mostly pertaining to Lan's storyline and the ways it talked about power.
Lan's arc around trauma, survivor's guilt, and her attraction to Odessa was really well-written; if Odessa's arc disappointed me, the exploration of the power dynamics between her and Lan, the way they shifted as Odessa changed, was really interesting to read. So was the subplot revolving around abuse in religious orders, which was accompanied by some hard truths this kind of stories don't often deal with - everyone has the potential to be an abuser, and switching the people in power won't put an end to abuse if the power structure itself isn't changed.

Also, it was fun. It was entertaining and it was tropey but tropes exist because they work, so yes, I enjoyed this a lot, and I want to know what happens next.
Profile Image for Ellie.
575 reviews2,115 followers
November 26, 2019
This was one of my most anticipated reads for the latter half of 2019, and it did mostly live up to my hopes! It’s a really unusual fantasy inspired by climate change, set in a world split in two realms - one with in an endless desert day under a blitzing sun and another an endless frozen night under a cold moon.

I was attached to all 4 narrators - a strong positive. One girl had an antiheroine arc - another strong positive. Also a f/f relationship - a third strong positive. An amazing, charming male love interest with a missing limb - yet another fourth positive.

The only negative things were that some small editing needed to be done (as expected, I was reading an arc) and the worldbuilding was so complex some could find it confusing. I’m still trying to fit my head round the brilliant but confusing idea of “gates” inside the body which are visible in the eyes (?) which then channel energy which then the users manipulate. Honestly it’s so creative and I love it, and different to the current energy systems around in YA right now. But I do think a little more explanation (just a tiny bit) could’ve helped.

That, and this book lacked the oomph and connection I needed to give it a 4.5/5, but I am looking forward to the sequel. Full review shall also come soon!


this has girl goddesses and gays :)) has someone specifically summoned me here

Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
996 reviews780 followers
Want to read
April 7, 2019
This cover is gorgeous!
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Pitched as Frozen meets Mad Max...what does that mean?
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Also, it seems like qutte a few books lately have been pitched as Mad Max meets *another famous name drop*
Profile Image for Tara ☽.
304 reviews249 followers
Want to read
March 28, 2019
"Frozen meets Mad Max"

I'm disturbed yet excited
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
November 7, 2019
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

The Buzz

I read an excerpt of The Never Tilting World because I've read Rin Chupeco before and found her plot boring and the writing too dense for YA fiction. And I really, really liked what I read...

The cover is neat as it shows a representation of the world in The Never Tilting World... but I feel like it must be better in paper?! Because the digital cover is dark and muddy looking. I did really like the title... I think its totally perfect for to reflect the world when we have 4 POVs to follow.

The Premise

Whenever gods and goddesses are at the center of a fantasy series I fell like its a toss up whether I'll like it or not. Ultra powerful goddesses... where do we go with that?! Well to a wasteland of a world that has been ripped apart and kept going by these twin goddesses. I really love the idea of a world that has been decimated due to power hungry women. We see that Rin Chupeco is really hinting at the effect humans have on a world with all the environmental concerns that beset earth. And I loved the different problems The Never Tilting World has now because of their choices.

Much of the mystery of the what happened to the world is hidden in a she said. but wait, she said sort of debate that we see through the newest generation of twin goddesses. Odessa and Haidee have been raised by mothers totally in the dark about why their world is in the shambles it is. But in The Never Tilting World we follow them as they try to fix the world. Along for the ride is Arjun, Haidee's buddy and Lan, Odessa's companion. Having 4 POVs sounds complicated but it really isn't. We are really following two storylines... Odessa and Lan's journey and Haidee and Arjun's journey. And to make it more fun we switch back and forth between the 2 POVs.

And yeah, The Never Tilting World is totally a road trip through a hell of a wasteland. And I enjoyed how Rin Chupeco made both journeys different from one another. However, there is a lot of heavy mythology behind why these goddesses are leaving home to save the world. It feels heavy with religion though not of the Christian kind. This back history can get quite confusing because we learn about it from Odessa and Haidee's POVs and they don't have the truth!! They can only tell us what their goddess mothers have told them and what their people know about the world breaking.

The Never Tilting World ends on a trite note. With the creativity woven through the story up to now I was really underwhelmed at the choices Odessa and Haidee make during the final pages of the book. I wanted these girls to stay in character and now I'll have to wait for book two to learn why their choices didn't stay in line with who we traveled with...

My Experience

Having read Chupeco before and not enjoying it, I couldn't help comparing the previous book's flaws to this new offering... The Never Tilting World is heads and shoulders better than the previous book I read by the same author. For one there is plot. Like actual things happening. I was jazzed to find the pace never slowing even if the story switched between the twin goddesses.

Different this time was the POVs. And I really loved that there were multiple POVs. With two storylines and 4 POVs we could have gotten really muddled. And we really needed Arjun and Lan's POVs. Their POVs gave the story depth and kept the focused goddesses from becoming boring and repetitive. I appreciated that Chupeco stayed with the Lan, Arjun, Odessa, Haidee pattern that she established in the beginning. That should help readers who struggle with multiple POV know which character they're reading.

There are some peculiarities to Rin Chupeco's writing style that remain the same and can be a turn on or a turn off to readers. The Never Tilting World...

...is a dense world. There is a ton of back history going on and we don't learn in through info dumping. The reader has to distill facts about the world from the POVs and how the characters act.

...is fascinated with morally grey characters. Odessa at times outshines Haidee's POV because she makes choices that take her down a much darker road than her sister.

...is beset by an unsatisfying ending. This feels like the beginning of a story. Like we literally only get to the first tourist attraction on our ultimate roadtrip list. And it's not as good as we hoped.

...isn't giving us any answers. We gather tidbits about why the world is broken as we read, but we never do concretely learn who did what and why they did it.

-The magic is really neat.
-I did like the twists leading up to the end.
-I loved the creative galla (demon or hell derived creatures) and the part they played in maintaining the mythology of the world.
-I adored the dolugongs and felt like they enlivened one of the storylines.
-I adored the transportation that both goddesses take on their travels.
-If you're a queer loving reader then this one will make you happy.
-The romance is cute but also rather light too. Makes the book feel like its on the cusp between YA and NA.
-There is a lot of fantasy stuffed into the story.

The Never Tilting World sets us up in a compelling dystopian, goddess broken world and plops us down in a twisted situation with twin sisters whose roadtrips takes them on a journey to find the truth about their life and purpose. A creative start to a new fantasy series.

⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building
B+ Cover & Title grade

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. Read my special perspective under the typewriter on my reviews...

Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!
Profile Image for Maëlys.
284 reviews274 followers
September 15, 2020
☆ 4 / 5 ☆

“A demoness is what they call a goddess that men cannot control.”

The Never Tilting World provides a look on power and its misuse from the two sides of a divided world.

Twins used to rule Aeon together for centuries until one sister betraying the other led to a dividing of the world: Aranth is locked in a frozen state surrounded by a capricious sea while the Golden City stays locked away surrounded by deadly sands. Odessa and Haidee are twins living on these opposite sides of the world, not knowing about each other’s existence. Yet, they both set off on a journey towards the Great Abyss they think could save their half of Aeon.

My main critique about the book is that I ended up caring way more about Odessa’s story and journey and found everything happening on her side of things so much more interesting than Haidee’s perspective. This is not to say that Haidee’s part was boring or bad, far from it, but I was not quite as invested or did not relate quite as much to her perspective.

What set Odessa apart for me was her character arc, the hurdles she was facing being more varied, and obviously her relationship with Lan. I definitely have a soft spot for them as individual characters and what they go through on their own but the two of them together really made my heart somersault. The royalty/bodyguard trope is one of my favourites, already filled with so much angst as it is, but make it sapphic and the levels of yearning were off the charts. So obviously, I was very much there for it and I wanted to scream in my pillow multiple times.

“When they approach with the glittering eyes, accept their offering of a mother’s love. For every gift, a terror. For every radiance, a sacrifice.”

Beyond that, Odessa had such an interesting perspective as we see her grapple with powers she doesn’t fully understand, both the powers of goddesses and monsters, but also the power of religious and military factions at play under her mother’s control. She has to wrestle with the idea of these people in positions of power using it to abuse their subordinates without anyone batting an eye, that this is common practice and only thrives because it is known and tolerated by everyone else in charge. While questioning her faith in her mother and her motives, Odessa is also trying to understand her potential better and trying to understand what has happened to Aeon, what happened to open the Great Abyss.

Her companion, bodyguard, healer, girl she met in a bookstore and had a thing with before she revealed herself as a goddess, Lan, also deals with a lot on her own side. She suffers from PTSD after coming back from a mission that caused the death of everyone that was with her. While Lan might be berating herself out of guilt, the book definitely holds the message that mental health is just as important as physical health and that therapy is a serious matter.

“When the dead find words, the goddess and the Devoted son will meet atop a fish not a fish, on a sea not a sea. It is she who travels to the endless Abyss, and it is he who guides her.”

On the other side of the world, Haidee is also kept in the dark by her mother. She strives to better her powers and engineering prowesses to better the life of her people. However, resources are limited in the Golden City but they seem to be funneled for the rich only while the poorer starve at the outskirts of the city, having to weather the sand storms without protection in the desert. Haidee is expected to marry and play political games in her city but instead she finds her way into the desert looking for answers.

She is helped on her journey by Arjun, a desert rebel who wanted nothing else but to kill her when he first set his eyes on her. Things change however and he knows that maybe Haidee is the only chance the world has to be set right. As they travel together and delve deeper into the mysteries of Aeon and its twin goddesses their relationship develops and any scrap of dislike floats away in the sands. They have that grumpy/way too optimistic character dynamic going on which I also love a lot and I really liked seeing Arjun’s beliefs and thoughts change as their journey advances.

The relationships are not necessarily at the forefront of the story at all, but the chemistry and tension between characters and the way it is all weaved together just makes it so easy to root for both relationships.

I enjoyed the magic system of this world where people can channel different elements and powers and how these powers are affected by one’s surroundings and environment. I loved seeing the contrast between the two halves of this world, displaying the disastrous impact of extreme weather and environmental conditions, especially when linked to man (goddess) made climate change.

Ultimately The Never Tilting World is about two girls slowly losing their faith and trust in their mothers, trying to do what is best for their people, their city, their world, and maybe understand the power of sisterhood along the way. I can’t wait to pick up the next instalment of this series and see where it goes!

Profile Image for greta.
201 reviews206 followers
December 29, 2021
this book was so enjoyable !! it tells a story about two realms: one cloaked in eternal night and the other scorched beneath the sun. the twin sisters Odessa and Heidee set out on separate dangerous journeys in hope of returning the world back to normal, no matter the sacrifice.
what i loved about this story was definitely the magic system and the world being split in two like that, i donʼt think iʼve ever read a book like that ! it kinda reminded me of Avatar + Lotr in some ways, characters can control multiple elements and the adventure throughout the kingdom — yes, we love that👏
the characters were 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒇𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒍𝒚 developed, each and every one of them with different personalities and flaws. Haidee and Arjun are my favs always btw :') i loved their relationship the best, the way they snipped at each other at all times, being sarcastic, yet so protective. melted my heart man !!
the writing style is also really easy to get into, i felt myself flying through the pages and u get to see really creatively written prophecies which i always appreciate.
the only thing that made me take one diamond off was because i found the monsters a bit cheesy, but if u donʼt mind that — itʼs something i would definitely recommend !!!
i actually want this book to be adapted into a movie, it would turn out soooo good i can only imagine 😩 kudos to the author for FINALLY making me enjoy YA fantasy 🧡
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,144 reviews1,009 followers
October 4, 2019
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .

Here's the thing: it wasn't bad per se, but I was just really bored through most of it? I almost DNFed (if I had a dollar for every time I said that, right?) but I kind of started caring about the characters a little, and also I am stubborn.

See, at first, I didn't care about the characters, the world, the plot... really not much of anything. I still liked the concept, I really didn't quite understand what was going on with the world. Maybe I should have tried harder, but alas. The plot, as it revolved around the actual makeup of the world, also was a bit convoluted for me. The author seems to have developed a very intricate world, it just didn't translate onto the page for me.

The characters, like I mentioned, were the one piece I enjoyed here. Though I think it might have been a bit better with two POVs rather than four, I still grew to care about the main characters and their dilemmas and plights. Unfortunately, I wasn't invested enough to want to read the sequels so I'll probably never know. It's certainly not poorly written, but I just didn't find it particularly compelling, either.

Bottom Line:  This could be a case of  "it's not the book, it's me" but who can tell? If it sounds interesting, I'd still say give it a go!
Profile Image for Althea.
421 reviews142 followers
April 9, 2021
Really enjoyed this one, especially the world building and the characters! Strangely, I liked the straight couple more than the sapphic one! Full RTC!
Profile Image for Raquel Flockhart.
455 reviews306 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
December 1, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

DNF at 54%.

“A demoness is what men call a goddess they cannot control.”

Rin Chupeco became one of my biggest discoveries of the year back in the first trimester of 2019. I read and loved her The Bone Witch trilogy so much that I was over the moon when I found out she had another book coming out this year. After reading the synopsis of The Never Tilting World and how the author sorted the main characters in Hogwarts Houses, I just knew I needed this book. I was very lucky to get an eARC of this book and jumped into it hoping to fell in love with this story. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Never Tilting World is a story set in a world divided in two kingdoms: Aeon and Aranth. Aeon is a frozen territory in perpetual night, while Aranth is a realm scorched by a perpetual sun. Both territories used to be part of the same kingdom ruled by twin goddesses until seventeen years ago, when one of the twins ruling by then—Asteria and Latona—betrayed the other one. Now, there is a new generation of twins, Odessa and Haidee, each one raised by one of the goddesses and without knowing they have a sister. Odessa is a lesbian deity with a strange and chronically disease. Haidee is a mechanic and a goddess who cares deeply for every living creature.

The lives of both goddesses are about to take an unexpected turn when some dark creatures start to appear in Aeon and Aranth looking for them. The climate change is killing their world and only they can stop it before it is too late. Both goddesses will start their respective travel to the Breaking, the point where both kingdoms were split seventeen years ago. But they won’t travel alone. On the one side, Odessa will have Lan by her side, a bisexual Catseye with a strong healing power and who is dealing with anxiety and panic attacks because of her PTSD. On the other side, Haidee’s journey will intersect with Arjun, a disabled Firesmoker and a member of the Oryx clan.

The premise sounds promising, right? Rin Chupeco has created once again an original world with its complex gears and an interesting prophecy. The thing is that, to my dismay, the execution of the plot was all over the place. I felt like the author was telling us a summary of the story instead of the real novel. The pacing was a mess, everything is way too rushed and it felt like some scenes were missing, leaving huge inconsistences in the plot and making the relationships between the characters too forced.

I was really looking forward to read Odessa and Lan f/f romance, so imagine my disappointment when I found a lack of scenes between them. Actually, I found a general lack of scenes between all the characters from Aeon. It is as if some pieces were missing in the middle of those chapters and that storyline felt incomplete without them.

Summing up, Rin Chupeco has create another very interesting premise with a fantasy story focused on raising awareness of the climate change and its consequences. Unfortunately, I found the pacing too rushed and the execution of the plot quite a mess. I strongly think that this book should have gone through a deeper editing process.

“People don’t think much about the truth when the lies sound more interesting, Your Holiness.”

P.S.: English isn’t my native language, so I apologise if you see any mistakes.

Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,171 reviews251 followers
September 15, 2019
DNF at 40%

I could not get into either world enough to care about this story. And none of the characters was really doing anything for me either. It didn't help that the chapters were a little on the long side for my liking and they felt long. This wasn't a story I could just pick up and get lost in. But I did enjoy the different kinds of magic in the universe and how each world adapted their magic to their needs. But I think this story just wasn't for me, but I do think I'll give another Rin Chupeco book a try sometime in the future - she has such unique concepts that I want to love so hopefully one will click.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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