Sunil's Reviews > The Killing Moon

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
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's review
Feb 09, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: own, 2013, favorites
Read from February 01 to 08, 2013

While I've been hearing about the Inheritance Trilogy for years, I hadn't heard very much about the Dreamblood, which only came out last year. This was my introduction to N.K. Jemisin, and I am absolutely seeking out more of her work.

The Killing Moon is somewhat impenetrable at first because Jemisin drops you in her world without much exposition at all—it wasn't until I finished the book that I saw that there was a HELPFUL GLOSSARY IN THE BACK—so there are heaps of unfamiliar words and concepts thrown at you. We first meet Ehiru, who is a "Gatherer" who sneaks around the city-state of Gujaareh collecting "dreamblood" (and there also appear to be "dreambile," "dreamichor," and "dreamseed") as a "tithe" for the "Hetawa" and—yes, it's confusing in the beginning, but trust me, it's totally worth it. Jemisin has constructed a really fascinating magic system based on Freudian dream theory and Egyptian medicine (did you know the ancient Egyptians also had the "four humors" philosophy of the Greeks?), and she has in turn constructed a very interesting society based on ancient Egyptian culture (which, incidentally, means that all the characters are non-white).

So let's start over. Ehiru is basically a ninja priest who goes around collecting magical energy from people as he helps them die peacefully, and this magical energy is used to heal people in the name of their Goddess. Nijiri is a ninja priest-in-training. Sunandi is an ambassador from a nearby city-state, Kisua. Our three main characters discover that there is corruption in Gujaareh, and war may be imminent. Also there is some creature running around eating people's souls.

Although it took some time to get my footing in this world, at a certain point, it becomes an extremely compelling page-turner, and I found it hard to stop reading. I was audibly gasping and cursing throughout the book as we discovered more about what was going on and I feared for everyone's lives. At first, Ehiru seems like kind of a dull Areo Hotah-type, but there is much more to him than his duty to the Hetawa, especially once he begins questioning their orders. Nijiri is a devoted apprentice, fiercely protective, and he knows that he may be called on to do more than he is capable of in the name of saving his home and his friend. Sunandi has no love for Gatherers or Gujaareen culture in general, but she must learn to understand them if she hopes to keep peace between them.

The Killing Moon leads up to a hell of a climax, and even though I knew that N.K. Jemisin allows each book in a series to stand alone, I was very worried about how she would leave things. The resolution is appropriate for this story and the characters, and I am very intrigued as to what The Shadowed Sun is about. Jemisin has sucked me into this world so hard that even when I didn't know what all the words meant, I was invested in what was going to happen. Once again: the early chapters are going to be a bit difficult, but seriously, stick with it, and you will be rewarded with an exciting, richly detailed fantasy adventure.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Melanie (new) - added it

Melanie ooh I want to know how you feel about this one. I read and enjoyed it, but found it inaccessible early on and decided not to pursue the rest of the books.

Sunil Yeah, it's definitely a little inaccessible early on, but I'm intrigued so far, and I think it'll be worth the challenge.

And it's only a duology, so there's just the one more book!

message 3: by Sunil (last edited Feb 09, 2013 06:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sunil Now you can know how I felt about this one! Spoiler warning: I felt pretty damn great.

Kimberly Hirsh True story: I got about halfway through this, set it aside for a week or two, and decided to start over. Everything made way more sense on re-read. Sadly it took me until around page 276 to move from "What an interesting world" to "OHMYGOODNESS WHATWILLHAPPENNEXT NKJEMISIN YOU'RE KILLING ME WITH YOUR SWITCHING PERSPECTIVES!" But I'm there now, and hope this feeling will continue as I read #2.

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