To anyone who’s read this blog, or is generally acquainted with the popular Fantasy fiction from the last several years, N.K. Jemisin needs no introduction. She’s been nominated for a serious number of awards (Locus, Hugo, Nebula), and, since the release of her first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (REVIEW), has become something of a force in the Fantasy genre.
The synopsis for The Killing Moon is enough to get any jaded fan interested:
In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt.
But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru – the most famous of the city’s Gatherers – must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is stalking its prey both in Gujaareh’s alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill – or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.
The Killing Moon is the first volume of her latest series, The Dreamblood Duology, and has received a number of positive reviews around the web. If, like me, you’re excited about Jemisin’s work, it looks like you won’t be let down. If you’re unaware of Jemisin, or haven’t tried her fiction, this is the perfect place to start.
And the reviews:
Gripping. Fascinating. Cool. All these mighty fine words that can be used to describe The Killing Moon. From lavish descriptions of Gujaareh and its temples and palaces to the detailed aspects of the social, political and religious structures, all of them intrinsically connected around the worship of the Goddess of Dreams, all is superbly well done. Although at points I did think there was a certain excess of exposition, I can’t deny that I gobbled it all up with pleasure. Although it is clear from early on who is behind the conspiracy that, I feel, is not the point of the story – the point is not only the HOW and the WHY but also the ways that said conspiracy and its motivation impact or will impact in the Modus Vivendi of not only the Gujaareh people but also of other peoples. Beyond that, even despite the originality of the setting, the idea behind the magic system being rooted in dream theory and the Dream-world as a PLACE reminded me a lot of Gaiman’s Sandman (not to mention that I thought of the Corinthian as well when the Reaper starts to make an appearance ) and this is a very positive thing in my book.
Also and I don’t think I can emphasise enough the level of coolness present in The Killing Moon but: NINJA PRIESTS. Yeah, baby.
What is so impressive about Gujaareh (and the other peoples we see in this book, particularly those of Kisua) is in its utterly fantastic holistic believability. We believe in this world and its characters because the culture is so well defined, the rules of magic so wholly conceived, the tensions between classes, between natives and foreigners, so utterly genuine. Reading a society like that of the Gujaareen makes it so glaringly apparent how lacking so many contemporary fantasy novels are in comparison – N.K. Jemisin’s worldbuilding is of the highest grade, and nigh unparalleled.
I loved this novel deeply, and I cannot wait for The Shadowed Sun. The Killing Moon, to put it simply, is the best book I have read in 2012 thus far.