Regina's Reviews > The Killing Moon

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
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Apr 25, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: arc-publisher-netgalley-edelweiss, fantasy, will-continue-series

The Killing Moon is the first in a new epic fantasy series by the author of the The Inheritance Trilogy, N. K. Jemisin. Jemisin has said that The Killing Moon is her "homage to epic fantasy — as opposed to the Inheritance Trilogy, which was more my eyeroll at epic fantasy". This book hit me hard and stole me away from reality, completely. I was not expecting it. I had read great things about the Inheritance Trilogy, which I really need to read (I now fully understand that I really need to read it) and I thought understood that Ms. Jemisin is forging a new path for fantasy. But I actually really didn't know or understand. This is new, unique and just different.

The Killing Moon starts off slowly. There is world building to be accomplished and each chapter begins with a quote from the main culture's (in The Killing Moon) religious text. There are three characters introduced and Jemisin takes her time in fully drawing these characters and presenting them to the readers. Jemisin has time, the book is 448 pages and the first in a new series. So, the first 20 percent of the book involves story set up. The world is intricate, the religion and operating belief system is very unique. Thus, the slow build. Don't worry, there is some action and the book comes with a glossary. But once I was enmeshed in the story, I was hooked and did not want to put it down. Be prepared, like many fantasy stories it is slow in the beginning so readers need to be committed. What I was not ready for was an emotional ride and in-depth scenes between characters that were raw and dripping with emotion. The last 20% is non-stop action, but not the kind of action you can fast forward or skim your way through (which I admit to doing in action movies and many fantasy novels). Yes, it involves battles and fights and you will wonder who is going to make it, but there are a few very emotional scenes between two main charcters who love each other dearly (no, not romantic love -- mentor/mentee stuff) and are suffering through physical deprivation together. Their dialogue is hearbreaking, Jemisin tells it in a brilliant manner.

The setting for The Killing Moon, unlike most in the fantasy genre, is a non-European setting with characters who are in the majority part not of European origin. I believe the intention was to establish the story in a culture similar to ancient Egypt, but not identical and the story is not historically based (Jemisin has a disclaimer at the beginning of the book where she states she made an effort to "de-historify" the tale). The religion and culture worships a female goddess and in the book itself, there are female characters that are in prominent and active roles. Because of all of this, the Killing Moon has a completely new feel. It is hard to walk away from a fantasy book feeling that I have read something new and different, Jemisin accomplishes that.

For the romance lovers, well there is no romance in this story. There are hints of sexual relationships and sexual longings, but nothing explicit. For those that love a fight between good and evil, well you will get that fight in this book except that good is not completely good and the bad is sometimes sympathetic. Jemisin gets what some writers forget, the best political tales and the best power struggles are not between black and white/good and evil, but between smudged lines of not knowing who is good and understanding why someone is bad.

The story involves political intrigue, but not in a confusing or overly intricate way that will bore readers. The book is more about the corruption of power and how it infiltrates religion and authority figures. Admittedly, yeah this is not a new theme but the way it is written and how the power is corrupted is very new. I have not read anything like this religious structure nor anything like the "power" that is weilded in this book. I do not want to be more explicit because it is important to slowly learn the world, I would hate to spoil it. I recommend this book to fantasy book fans and those that formerly loved fantasy but have given up because they thought they had read it all. I will definitely be looking out for #2 in this series!
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Reading Progress

April 25, 2012 – Started Reading
April 25, 2012 – Shelved
April 25, 2012 – Shelved as: arc-publisher-netgalley-edelweiss
April 25, 2012 – Shelved as: fantasy
April 28, 2012 –
25.0%
April 30, 2012 –
50.0%
May 1, 2012 – Shelved as: will-continue-series
May 1, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by new_user (new)

new_user Ooh, I can't wait to read your review. I'm very curious about this one. Her debut was very unique. (I'll get around to the sequels when I have more time.)


Regina I still need to read her debut, but I just never had time! I am going to officially start reading this evening, but you know - - I was compelled to mark it as currently reading right now.


message 3: by Damali (new)

Damali I hope this one is good.


Regina Me too!


message 5: by Kenya (new) - added it

Kenya Wright It does look interesting.


message 6: by Damali (new)

Damali Have you started this yet?


Chelsea I'm so excited for this book. I've started to fall in love with rooftop stalking, sneaking assassin types of stories, and I might pee myself if I can't have this book asap.


Regina Damali, I have, I started a few days ago. I am just slammed at work and have a few sick kids so my actual print reading time has been low -- so I am only at abougt 28%. It was slow in the beginning, but was extremely well written. It has just started to get really good and I am dying to read it again tonight.


message 9: by D.G. (new) - added it

D.G. Oh this looks good! Adding it to my TBR now!


Regina IT really took me by surprise. First because I haven't read anything by her yet and second, because it is a slow build. Fantasy rarely starts off with a bang and this is no exception. I thought it would be a typical fantasy story (except set in a non-european setting and the characters are not all white and not all heterosexual - -which is wonderful), but the last 20% is raw, emotional and gripping. The interaction between the two main characters (both male) is so real and so deep. I gave it 5 stars just for that. 4 stars for the rest of the book. :P


Chelsea Great review, even more excited!


Regina Chelsea I am interested to see how you will like it. Have you read her entire Inheritance trilogy? I am going to start that this month. I have never had such a ride in fantasy. Her writing is so character driven but also with an incredibly strong world and storyline. I loved it.


message 13: by new_user (new)

new_user LOL @ "eyeroll"! I don't blame her a bit considering the sea of elitist clones that is the body of fantasy. Corruption may not be a new theme, but the realism and relevance to our society with which she approaches it seems new for a fantasy novel. Glad you liked this one! :)


Chelsea Haven't read the third one yet. Reviews say it's not as strong as the second, but I'm still willing to give it a shot.


Traci I'm so glad to see you like this. I absolutely loved her Inheritance trilogy. And been looking forward to this one. Can't wait to read it.


Regina Traci I remember that you loved it. I really like the way jemisin writes characters. I do plan to read her first series I just get pulled away and distracted into starting different books first.


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