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Dreamblood #1

The Killing Moon

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2012)
THE CITY BURNED BENEATH THE DREAMING MOON

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and among 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, the Gatherer Ehiru must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering innocent dreamers in the goddess's name, and Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill - or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.

418 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 2012

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About the author

N.K. Jemisin

119 books53k followers
N. K. Jemisin lives and works in New York City.

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Profile Image for carol..
1,516 reviews7,718 followers
August 18, 2012
Every now and then, something special brings a new flavor, a blending of colors, an amazing moment, that just leaves me saying 'wow.' Jemisin did that for me in The Killing Moon. An unusual story line, an interesting fantasy world, multi-culti characters, and theological sophistication while being oh-so-readable made for an engrossing, delicious read. I sat down today and read until it was finished, breaking only for dinner and to follow the sun as it shifted around the yard.

The story takes place in a low-tech, stratified society roughly based on ancient Egypt. It's a desert setting, prone to annual flooding; transport is by camels, horses and the occasional ship. Where Jemisin has made in roads into the unusual is in one of the main religions, the worship of the female deity Hananja, that crosses national boundaries. The priest-sect, the Hetawa, use magic taken from dreams to heal and to ease pain, but easing pain is a double-edged sword as they also gently usher people into the next life. Those whose souls are 'gathered' are usually those whose time has come, or who have been judged and found guilty of corruption. Jemisin does an astounding job at showing the beauty of what we in hospice like to call a 'good death.' The caveat being that it takes place in the night, during sleep and the cultural traditions around it mean it is a solitary experience. But in the end, isn't it always? The people who hold vigil most likely do it for themselves, although I will say that I feel it is a mark of humanity to bear witness.

But I digress. Ehiru, one of the most experienced Gatherers, makes a mistake during a soul-gathering, causing a crisis of conscience. Unfortunately, one of the trainees is just to the point where he is assigned a mentor, and Nijiri most assuredly knows he wants Ehiru in that role. We get hints of a backstory to their meeting, but it isn't until much later that we understand how layered their relationship is. Alongside this is the story of the Prince of the country, and Sunandi, a female ambassador from a neighboring country. Her mentor has been killed, most likely assassinated, and she's left to piece together the puzzle of his research. One of the greatest perversions of the Hetawa is occurring for political means, and she is looking for proof.

I won't go father in plot summary except to say it was both unusual, suspenseful and a pleasure. Character creation was phenomenal, with very dimensional leads that struggled with ethics, their histories, intended actions, sexuality--truly, all encompassing portrayals. Even the villains were more than cut-out, and their motivations were more sophisticated than plain evil. Also a pleasure was the multi-culti aspects of the book--although the caste system is not specifically spelled out, it appears that the darker the skin, the more likely the caste is high. The women are people, not tropes, with insights, prejudices and determination. There's a very delicate and understated exploration of sexuality in the acolyte that impressed me.

If there's any complaint I can find at the moment, it's that very little is explained up front, which more than likely accounts for some of the less enthusiastic reviews. It takes a little time to show us, since Jemisin avoids the dreaded info-dump, so the beginning required a great deal of concentration to focus on names, cultural terms and places--this was not an old, familiar world that one could slip into like a pair of worn shoes. This is, however, a pair that will pay off in wow-value if you can get past the initial break-in.

Truly a remarkable work with sophisticated themes, world-building and characters. Highly recommended for fantasy lovers.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2012/1...
July 27, 2017
Beautiful, complex, and refreshingly original, The Killing Moon shines bright!

Ehiru-the dreamer- Ehiru is a Gatherer in the city-state of Gujaareh. He has devoted his life to serving the goddess Hananja. Upon taking a commission, he enters a person's dreams and gathers the dreamer's soul so that they will live in peace forever, even though their body dies in the process. Ehiru has never questioned his faith... until now! After a Gathering goes horribly wrong, Ehiru begins to doubt his own magical abilities. But when he finds evidence of a horrible creature stalking the streets of Gujaareh and stealing people's souls for its own amusement, Ehiru is forced to seek help from a person he cannot possibly trust... the corrupt woman he knows as Sunandi!

Sunandi-the voice- A Speaker for the city-state of Kisua, Sunandi neither possesses nor needs any magical abilities. Instead, a beautiful smile and a cunning mind are her greatest weapons. Investigating the death of her mentor, Sunandi travels to Gujaareh where she suspects a vast conspiracy is looming which could threaten her people. A true pragmatist, Sunandi is willing to do whatever it takes to prevent war between Kisua and Gujaareh... even if it means allying herself with a murderer like Ehiru!

"The Killing Moon" is not your average fantasy novel. In this land, there are no dragons or elves, no evil wizard or one ring to rule them all. Instead, Jemisin has created a rich and unique world, where all magic is fueled by the power of dreams, and even the most secondary of characters have multiple layers to them. Jemisin has even crafted her own mythology in this book... including one of the most fascinating and original legends for the sun and moon that I have ever seen. She doesn't so much describe the scenery, as she uses her words to paint the images directly into the reader's imagination. I was particularly impressed with the imagery she used during the dreaming sequences... not only does she come up with brilliantly original concepts, but her narrative manages to be both beautiful and terrifying... much like dreams themselves can be!

As impressive as Jemisin's world-building is, her character development is even better! What makes the story so compelling is that the two protagonists have completely different morals and points of view, yet both of them seem equally valid. On the surface, Ehiru could be considered a murderer. However, through his eyes, he is using his abilities to grant a person peace in their final moments and to ensure that their soul is preserved forever. Sunandi's willingness to use deception and seduction to control her enemies can be perceived as immoral, but she only does these things to ensure the safety of her people. The clash of ideals is balanced perfectly, where the two characters have severe philosophical differences, yet it never comes across as petty bickering. There is no clearly defined "right" and "wrong" mind set, each side is given equal weight.

While Ehiru and Sunandi were the two characters I enjoyed the most, I was also awed by how much depth the other characters were given as well. Ehiru's apprentice Nijiri (who Sunandi insists on sardonically referring to as "Little Killer") is given a tragic backstory that makes his devotion to Ehiru that much more engaging. Even the villain (whose identity shan't be spoiled here) is masterfully fleshed out. This isn't some mustache-twirling Snidley Whiplash clone who's evil just for the sake of being evil, this novel's antagonist has a genuine belief that they are doing the right thing, and while the villain's mind is certainly clouded by madness, you can't help but feel some sympathy towards them once the true motive is revealed.

N.K. Jemisin's world-building abilities are right up there with J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. "The Killing Moon" is a magical, fantasy epic that will amaze even the most discerning of readers!

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Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,910 followers
February 18, 2017
I found this one fairly slow going in comparison to how much I loved her other novels, oddly enough. Things went big-time with the Inheritance Cycle and MUCH bigger with The Broken Earth, so I felt like a floundering fish in a relatively deep exploration of two cultures where dream magic is shrouded with dark secrets and a very careful and gentle facade.

The best part is the magic and the world-building, in my honest opinion, but I really shouldn't overlook the importance of just how much ground is covered with the characters. We learn an awful lot about them and their place in the world, starting with a mistake and guilt and going right through the nature of love the possibilities of sex and then, eventually, power and corruption. It's really quite beautiful.

But I'll be honest here. I didn't really get into it mainly because of the learning curve. The names are strange, and while that is never a bad thing, in theory, it makes for a heavy and complicated read for an otherwise rather simple or at least simple-seeming story with gradual and later fascinating reveals. At least it picked up in the later half and I was hooked.

Overall, though, I felt slightly underwhelmed. Maybe I like spicier fare. It was good but it was mild, overall, even with the coming war, the harvesting of dreams, and the much-anticipated inclusion of the monster on the streets: The Reaper.

Definitely one to enjoy for any of you who like complicated, in-depth explorations of the human heart and slightly alien societies... in this case, an apparently ancient Egypt that is unlike the one we think we know. As a work of imagination, it's quite excellent. As an exercise in world-building, it's pretty amazing. :)
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 28 books128k followers
January 27, 2013
Ah NK Jemisin, you can do no wrong. For some reason it took me a long time to pick this up, mainly because I loved her OTHER world so much I got pouty that she was moving onto another one. Well, she built the last one to be amazing, she does no less in this one, perhaps even BETTER.

The blend of cultures and lore she draws on to make this very unique world is just stunning, and the fact that she inhabits it with such 3-dimensional characters is even more impressive. The Gatherers are some of the most interesting "magic" users I've read lately. If you want to get away from the traditional fantasy world-building, but keep the compelling characters and deep lore, definitely pick this up!!
Profile Image for Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky).
256 reviews430 followers
May 30, 2017
“Evil was the most contagious of diseases, so virulent that no herb, surgery, or dream-humor could cure it. One’s sense of what was normal, acceptable, became distorted by proximity to wrongness; entire nations had succumbed this way, first to decadence, then collapse.”

To be totally honest I was pretty disappointed by this novel. N.K. Jemisin is one of the best fantasy authors currently writing. I rave about her Broken Earth series (The Fifth Season) constantly.

But I had a really hard time here despite the excellent world building, strong plot and high quality prose.

CHARACTERS

“Suffering is part of life,” she said. “All the parts of life are jumbled up together; you can’t separate out just the one thing.”

Essentially, I felt too distant from the characters. N.K. Jemisin has a tendency to write in a style that is quite remote.

A lot of what goes on for her characters has to be gleaned from how they act, the way they move and the undercurrents in their dialogue. I love fiction that makes you work for it. Because when you work for it the characters feel real.

When I have to make judgements about why a character is acting like that, as the story slowly reveals past wounds and deeper conflicts, I can really invest in the characters. She has some of the most fully realised characters I have ever come across.

But… the characters in this novel were revealed in the same style, without the accompanying depth. There wasn't enough grist for the mill. I couldn't empathise with, or connect effectively with any of the three POV characters.

Their motives were either too simplistic or incomprehensible.

As a result, it was hard for me to feel anxious about any of them. I just wasn't invested.

WORLD BUILDING and PLOT

“Did you know that writing stories down kills them?
Of course it does, words aren't meant to be stiff, unchanging things.”


The reader has a steep learning curve in this fantasy. I was blocked right in the middle of a complex, theocratic society filled with corruption, complicated geography, and detailed religious rites with no real clue what was going on.

Generally I love that. But because I didn't like the characters I found it a bit of a chore to figure it all out. In addition, for the majority of the story I honestly would not have known it was inspired by Egyptian culture if it hadn't been for the foreword.

The plot should have been gripping. Looming war. Corrupt religious practices. Assassins in the night. A murderous prince. This was one of the strongest elements of the book. However, it solicited for me that character is king. It is hard to feel much about plot development if I can't seem to forget that I'm reading a book.

THEME and PROSE

“True peace required the presence of justice, not just the absence of conflict.”

Some pretty obvious themes about power, corruption and faith are explored in a non-pedantic way. It was less digestible than the themes in either of her other series. Although, other readers may disagree.

Overall, I would recommend this to fans of literary fantasy. It is beautifully written and well plotted. I may try reading it at another time and change my opinion entirely.

Personally, The Broken Earth series is a bloody masterpiece and you should probably start there.

Recommended for: fans of literary fiction, fans of N.K. Jemisin, people who enjoy Rachel Hartman, Laini Taylor and Renee Ahdieh may enjoy Jemisin's writing.
Profile Image for Khalid Muhammad Abdul-Mumin.
146 reviews64 followers
March 14, 2023
"The shadows of Ina-Karekh are the place where nightmares dwell, but not their source. Never forget: the shadowlands are not elsewhere. We create them. They are within."

Complex, intricate and imaginative world-building coupled with excellent writing. An elaborate fantasy stunning in it's mosaic of plot, culture, politics, magic, languages and customs.

N.K. Jemisin weaves a tapestry that is unique and fantastical, giving the reader that timeless and genre defying appeal.

Highly recommended for fantasy lovers looking for that unique-own-world extra immersive and fantasmagoric universe.

Read: 01052023
Edit II: 03142023
February 12, 2019


DNF at: 42% . Perseverance is me.

Warning: the gif is incredibly strong in this one. You are quite welcome.

Believe it or not, I was forced to DNF this book for medical reasons. Doctor's orders and stuff. I kid you not. Now why would Dr Prawn advise me to relegate this most fascinating book to the DNF Graveyard, you ask? Because too much adrenaline. Yes, that's right. This story is so bloody shrimping thrilling and such an exhilarating roller coaster ride that I heart palpitations while reading it.




I had a whole lot of other alarming symptoms, too. My poor, poor nerves were in a worse state than Mrs Bennett's, my pincers got all sweaty and flabby (which, you'll have to admit, isn't super sexy), I started convulsing through my exoskeleton and my black, withered heart felt like it was permanently hooked to a defibrillator. So Dr. Prawn said, "if you want to be able to keep exterminating puny humans for decades to come, you have to put this masterpiece down NOW." I was obviously crushed to death upon hearing this abominably daunting news.




I am not sure I will ever recover. This is, after all, one of the most titillating tales I was ever given to read. Strangely enough, some people of despicable book taste apparently find it so thoroughly soporific they say it should come with a coffee IV, but I really don't understand why. People are weird, if you ask me. I mean, why would they say such a thing, when this book is a total page-turner? It took me only 8 days hours to not make it to the halfway mark read the first 186 pages! That should tell you something, my Little Barnacles. Namely, that there is never a dull moment to be had in this story. It's all compelling stuff, all the time! Which makes it excruciatingly difficult to put the book down, obviously.




And the characters! Oh, the characters! What a deliciously spellbinding bunch! They are so beautifully full of life, enthusiastic and emotional, you just cannot NOT develop the warmest feelings towards them. Believe me, not getting robustly attached to them is NOT an option.




And so it is with great affliction, deep sorrow and much heartbreak that I shall very reluctantly send this bewitching tale to the DNF Graveyard. Woe is me and stuff.




» And the moral of this The MacHalos Undoubtedly Know How to Pick the Greatest Books to Buddy Ready I Feel So Lucky to be a Member of This Most Discerning Group Crappy Non Review (TMHUKHtPtGBtBRIFsLtbaMoTMDGCNR™) is: I literally cannot wait to read N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. With any luck, it won't be half as electrifyingly stimulating as this one, and Dr Prawn won't ask me to DNF it. Keeping my pincers crossed and stuff.



[Pre-review nonsense]

Here's to yet another Glorious MacHalo Buddy Reading Pick (GMHBRP™)!





➽ Full The MacHalos Must Have Been Cursed to Read Crap for All of Eternity I See No Other Explanation to this Perpetual Debacle Crappy Non Review (TMMHBCtCRfAoEISNOEttPDCNR™) to come.
Profile Image for Samantha.
409 reviews16.7k followers
August 7, 2019
3.25 stars - this took some time for me to get into but I was enjoying it by the end. I did not, however, feel as attached to the characters as I have in her other series. This also concluded in a way that makes me wonder how it’s a duology...
Profile Image for Becca & The Books.
306 reviews6,305 followers
January 24, 2022
While I found the world and the magic system interesting and loved the writing style, I felt like the majority of this book was heavily political dialogue and so it failed to grab my interest.
Profile Image for mina reads™️.
521 reviews6,578 followers
January 28, 2022
i found the plot and characters lacking, too much monologuing, too little intrigue, too little personality. too little anything to make the 400 pages worth it. pretty writing, interesting world building/magic system but not enough to make this an overall enjoyable reading experience for me
Profile Image for Regina.
625 reviews386 followers
May 3, 2012
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!
Profile Image for Nicole.
718 reviews1,787 followers
October 6, 2021
2.5 stars

After enjoying the Broken Earth trilogy, I was excited to read Jemisin's other books. It's obvious that she's not only a good writer but also a very creative one. This book is known to be loosely based on ancient Egypt, an era I'm familiar with, and set in the desert with season floods. And while the world is interesting and the premise sounded promising, the execution was underwhelming.


We follow 3 characters mainly in this book as they try to uncover some hidden secrets and plots. I won't go into details on this matter to avoid spoilers but I'll talk a bit about the magic system.
The magic system in this book while very ambiguous at first, by the end of the book I realized it's pretty simple. To put in a few words: we have a goddess, Hananja, and whilst everyone in the city worships her, she has special priests. They are divided into four categories. Two of the main characters are members of the Hetawa priesthood and they "gather" people. They ease their pain through dreams but send them to their death. Sometimes it is voluntary since this is considered a blessing for the people, however, they also send to death those who are judged as corrupt. They get this dreamblood out of it which is used for healing + a bunch of other stuff and is necessary for those gatherers (the priests) not to go full murder mode and become reapers.


As you can guess, the fantasy world that is different from the usual was definitely a plus. I also liked the writing BUT it could've been more engaging since I was bored reading it.


So here why I wasn't a big fan of this book:

- I didn't find the characters interesting and I only remotely cared about their well-being. We had had a 16 yo in love with a man in his 40s and this man appreciated sleeping next to him (yes they never did anything sexual, and the man didn't love the teenage boy in that way but still, CREEPY). I also couldn't connect with them nor was able to empathize with their story.

- the boredom. the book was so very dull. At the surface, the story sounds rich and complex. But soon enough, I found it dull and underdeveloped. I was considered DNF-ing this book and I literally had to force myself to read it. The ending was probably the best part of this book but it still didn't redeem it for me.

- I couldn't rationalise some decisions the characters made towards the end. It sounded to me just a plot device to reach the ending Jemisin wanted and not because they were logical and the smart thing to do.

- The world-building was lacking. While some might excuse it because of her writing style, I can't. We barely knew anything about those barbarians and the world outside literally two cities. I only had a vague picture of the world in my mind.

It’s obvious that Jemisin has evolved a lot as a writer when she wrote Broken Earth because the latter was so much better everything-wise. I don’t regret reading this book because I was a fan of her Broken Earth trilogy but it'll be a while before I read her books.

Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,161 reviews2,010 followers
February 28, 2023
As expected from this author, beautiful world building, complicated but memorable characters, an insane magical system and a great story.

Although I was a little disappointed at Ehiru's eventual situation, I thought he was a superb main character, especially as he comes to terms with the way he has been deceived. Nijiri is good too and is remarkable in his forbearance and loyalty. The author deals with all kinds of nastiness as applied to politics and leadership and all of it exists in the real world too.

Parts of the early book are a little slow but it gathers momentum as the story progresses. It is impossible not to become attached to the characters, and when I was forced to put the book down for a while I found myself still thinking about them. Always a sign of a good book. Five stars!

Profile Image for Charlotte Kersten.
Author 3 books430 followers
Read
February 6, 2022
“True peace required the presence of justice, not just the absence of conflict.”

So What’s It About?

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and among 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, the Gatherer Ehiru must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering innocent dreamers in the goddess’s name, and Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill – or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.


What I Thought

The Killing Moon has to be one of my favorite pieces of world-building I’ve ever encountered in fantasy. The mythology had the ring of real ancient mythology it, which is something that I don’t think is especially easy to achieve. Gujaareh felt like a real city with its intrigues and factions and deep-set philosophies and from what I learned of the rest of the world it truly did feel like there were other city states and nations just beyond the horizon.

I loved the dream world and its magic and the threat of the reapers -all of it was wonderful. I especially appreciated learning about the manipulation of the Gatherers and the corruption of the Hetawa as the story unfolded. Very few authors have the knack for creating a living (or dying) world like Jemisin does, and Gujaareh’s conflicts felt deeply considered and meaningful.

The Prince was a compelling villain because he looked at a legitimate problem and then used it as an excuse for tyranny. I could see the motivation behind his actions very clearly, and I think the question raised by his story is a worthy one: what are peace and happiness worth, and what is it acceptable to do in achieving it? What is it worth doing to avoid suffering?

One of my favorite answers to this question came from an old woman in a traveling caravan. Her answer was that suffering may come but the prospect of goodness is enough to make up for it; that it’s inevitably fruitless to try to parse the good from the bad. Better to take the risk than to settle for security and finality:

“Suffering is part of life,’ she said. ‘All the parts of life are jumbled up together; you can’t separate out just the one thing.’ She patted his hand again, kindly. ‘I could let you kill me now, lovely man, and have peace and good dreams forever. But who knows what I get instead, if I stay? Maybe time to see a new grandchild. Maybe a good joke that sets me laughing for days. Maybe another handsome young fellow flirting with me.’ She grinned toothlessly, then let loose another horrible, racking cough. Ehiru steadied her with shaking hands. ‘I want every moment of my life, pretty man, the painful and the sweet alike. Until the very end. If these are all the memories I get for eternity, I want to take as many of them with me as I can.”

I will say, however, that this book’s main drawback for me is that I simply did not care about any of the characters. I felt a great deal of emotional distance from all of them. Upon reflection I think this is something that I’ve felt from Jemisin’s other works but in other series the characters remained psychologically sound and interesting enough to make up for the lack of an emotional connection or fondness. In this case I didn’t really feel that was the case, though – I didn’t buy Sunandi’s grief over Lin, I didn’t care about the relationship between Nijiri and Ehiru and I mostly just enjoyed the book for its compelling world-building and story-telling instead. In sum this is probably my least favorite Jemisin work that I’ve read to date, but even so I thought there was a great deal to enjoy and marvel at.
Profile Image for Jess Owens.
296 reviews4,314 followers
June 19, 2022
Not my favorite Jemisin but this is the first book she wrote so I can understand. Very interesting premise of a religion where there are Gatherers who essentially kill people for their goddess but “peacefully” by sending them into the dreamworld and collecting their dream blood. Dreamblood and dreamseed (😵‍💫), dreambile and dream something else are used for healing. Cool. Something or someone is killing people in their sleep, what can it be? Cool. But I never felt invested in the story. Per normal fantasy books there was lots of new words and I had to reference the glossary quite a bit. I was so confused for the first 70 ish pages. I never connected to the characters and honestly when the bad guy’s side was doing things, it was more interested to me than the main characters who we should be siding with. It was fine. The ending was more exciting because it was a bit culmination/ show down, but leading up to that was just fine. If majority of my patrons enjoyed it and want to read the next one, I will. If not, I’ll pass.
Profile Image for Markus.
470 reviews1,519 followers
December 27, 2018
“The shadows of Ina-Karekh are the place where nightmares dwell, but not their source. Never forget: the shadowlands are not elsewhere. We create them. They are within.”

A well-written, well-structured story in a fascinating setting, just hampered by both the storyline and the characters being severely underdeveloped and dull.

Still, Jemisin writes good stuff, all right.
Profile Image for Jemppu.
499 reviews90 followers
October 28, 2020
Jemisin writes a multiculturally appealing, rich world.

Being introduced to Jemisin's work through the outstanding Fifth Season, what most intrigues me about all of these 'other Jemisin', is to observe the writing without the inventive linguistic devices and the distinct structural suspense, which were perfected to be such a striking feature in the aforementioned.

Also present here was the one thing, which seems constant throughout Jemisin's work - and which I find most agreeable: the wont to build worlds and cultures fluidly through the characters and the flow of their interactions, rather than narrate naked exposition.

Though not possessing quite the Fifth Season level of intensity, the authentic and captivating sociopolitical schematics were just as driving a force here as well, if not even more so. With few invigoratingly striking moments thrown in for spice.

Notable for that uniquely assertive Jemisin flavor.
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,478 reviews941 followers
October 15, 2012
[9/10]
N. K. Jemisin was already established for me as a very promising newcomer on the fantasy scene, with her Inheritance series. I was both intrigued and apprehensive about her decision to try something completely different for her second outing, thinking of some rock bands who put out an excellent debut album, only to follow with a lukewarm, rushed second, containing outtakes or failed experiments. But I like her courage to explore new subjects and not stick with one successful setting for an endless number of sequels.

The Killing Moon was a lot slower in winning me over than The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms , probably because the learning curve is a lot steeper (we are thrown literally into the middle of the story), this new project is more ambitious with three major characters and several secondary ones sharing a rotating point of view, the worldbuilding, the political situation, the magic system and the historical background all needed to be explained before I could get to the meat of the story.

The story itself reminded me of Daniel Abraham and his Long Price quartet, probably due to the lyrical prose and the careful characterization, the moral dillemas that are central to both epics. I found similarities also in the magic system, based on human psychic powers, in Jemisin case derived from the dream world. The raw power of people's dreams can be collected either willingly by donations or forcefully as punishment for crimes committed or at the death bed as a final blessing from the gods. Gatherers are the most powerful practitioners of the art, and because magic that heals is not so different from the magic that kills, they are heavily regulated by laws and traditions, as well as restricted in number. Ehiru is one of only four Gatherers in the city of Gujaareh, and his failure to perform an apparently routine task against a shady foreign merchant will mark the starting point of an investigation that would shake the very foundations of the world. Ehiru will be assisted on his quest by his apprentice Nijiri and by the Kisuati envoy Sunandi, a spy who can prove to be either an ally or an enemy. This duality is present in Ehiru himself, his actions being liable to interpretation as either assassinations or holy acts. My favorite moment of the book is the dialogue between Ehiru and an old lady with an incurrable disease on the theme of assisted suicide (it's already quoted here on Goodreads)

The world is centered around the city state of Gujaareh, a metropolis modelled from the cities of ancient Egipt, where the desert is made livable by the bi-annual floods of the river, and where power is shared between the prince regent, the incarnation of the Moon Goddess Hananja as the executive power and the priests of Goddess as the spiritual leaders and the legislative power. The neighbouring city state of Kisua is the original source of the Hananja cult, with the Gujaarati as a splintering sect who immigrated over disagreements about the use of dream magic. The Kisuati believed the dream magic too dangerous to be allowed, and had it replaced with a rigid form government by technocrats. The landscape is completed by various tribes of desert raiders and oversea barbarians.

Once the world and the characters have been established I began to greatly enjoy the story and the moral dillemas posed by the interactions between Ehiru and Nijiri on one hand and Ehiru and Sunandi on the other. I will not reveal here the nature of the adversaries, only leave a mention that it was a very powerful duo that had its motivations and background convincingly developed, although their decisions I found mostly abhorent. The emotional intensity of the novel reached levels similar to the ones from the Inheritance series, mixing the personal revelations of individuals to the larger conflict. I wold go as far as saying I prefer the new book for the toning down of the romance elements and descriptive sexual passages, that seemed tacked on and slightly unnecessary in the author's debut novels. The Killing Moon has its share of sexual tension and heartburn, but I found it more subtly rendered and more credible, both for Sunandi in her contact with the Prince and for Nijiri in his infatuation with his mentor.

Luckily for me, the second book in the duology is already out, so I can jump right in after this promising start.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,805 followers
December 5, 2014
One of the things I say frequently is, "this was an interesting book". Well, this was an interesting book. The world according to the author has multiple influences...though it springs largely from ancient Egypt. There are influences from all over however and if you care to look you can see them.

Actually however I'd suggest you just relax and enjoy the book. This is an exercise in detailed and skilled world building. Ms. Jemisin had to build the world, lay out the "magic system" and then build the characters and plot within these, making and keeping it all coherent. All this is done with grace and style.

The society in the city (Gujaareh) where the action mainly takes place is built around the worship of the Dream Goddess. This is not the only place in this world where the Dream Goddess is worshiped, but it's the only place where the Narcomany magic from said goddess is still practiced. It has been outlawed everywhere else. You see in Gujaareh all know that to live there makes you subject to the Gatherers who gather tithes for the goddess.

That means separating soul from body...killing.

To make this a believable book and to get the reader to buy into said society is quite an order. And Ms. Jemisin does it, well.

I must admit that I didn't get really involved with the characters though I did find myself beginning to understand both sides of the "disagreement" the conflict. The story is built with an eye to real human failings and the history of anything humans have gotten their hands into; showing among other things how often those supposed to be guarding and standing against corruption themselves become corrupt this is an excellent work.

I'm very close to giving a 4 here but go 5. I didn't truly get as involved or as committed to the story as I would have liked to, I do have a few reservations, but shading the 4.5 to the plus side I need to rate the book a 5. Some of the names are a bit similar and make following the story one where you'll probably occasionally go..."now which one is that?" But that in itself isn't that unusual in fantasy novels, LOL. So, a very few, very small negatives here. This is an excellent book and I can recommend it to most anyone who likes fantasy.
Profile Image for Gavin.
855 reviews386 followers
February 6, 2015
This turned out to be a bit of a bore. I had high expectations for The Killing Moon due to its non-typical fantasy setting, it was loosely based on ancient Egypt, but N.K.Jemisin's description of her fantasy world was so sparse that I only ever managed to form a vague picture of it.

I was not a great fan of Jemisin's writing in general. As well as the sparse descriptions of the settings this book was lacking in background information that would have made the world, characters, and plot easier to understand. I learned on the go, but it was hardly worth the effort.

The plot itself was mildly intriguing. The world and the magic were quite unique and the political intrigue and scheming of the various different factions was interesting. Jemisin raised a few interesting moral quandaries over the course of the story and seemed happy to let the reader make up their own mind about whether they agreed with the characters actions or not. The characters were not all that likable, they did grow on me a bit towards the end, but the were complex.

Overall I was a bit disappointed and will not be reading the sequel.

Rating: 2.5 stars

Audio Note: My enjoyment of this book was not helped by Sarah Zimmerman. She had a fluent and pleasant voice, but made no effort to differentiate between dialogue and and the rest of the story. The result was the book was read in a monotone.
Profile Image for Anthony.
Author 4 books1,823 followers
February 22, 2020
While not as monumentally successful an achievement as N.K Jemisin’s later work — the brilliant, shattering, transcendent Broken Earth Trilogy — I remain nonetheless very impressed by many aspects of this novel. In its finest scenes, an incredibly rare and welcome complexity of feelings and ideas suffuses the crystalline prose. And the world she has created — with its various and specifically-drawn cultures, societies, histories, and religions — presents itself as fully-imagined and authentic as any I’ve ever read. Where this novel falls short here and there is in some of its dialogue, especially from its central villain; I’m not convinced that the formality of the language in the dialogue is ultimately the best choice Jemisin could have made; and there’s just enough mustache-twirling gusto in the villain that I longed for just a bit more restraint. Another pet peeve present in the novel is an overabundance of sighing that takes place, from almost every main character, and often multiple times in a scene; I’m glad that particular quirk in the writing didn’t occur in The Broken Earth Trilogy.

In a very meaningful way, it’s inspiring to see how far Jemisin has come since writing this novel, given the fact that this, with all of its flaws, is still far more involving, complex, and original than pretty much any other contemporary fantasy literature I’ve read. I will definitely read its sequel.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
1,978 reviews3,297 followers
July 9, 2021
Read for this video: https://youtu.be/IHg8zvKyM9k

It is always such a joy to read something by Jemisin! The Killing Moon is a richly layered story set in world with dream magic and dangerous political machinations. She is truly a master of world-building, slowly unfurling a bit at a time, creating nuanced characters and asking difficult questions. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of her backlist. This was the first book she wrote (though not her first published book) and while it's fantastic I do think her character work was not quite as good. Still very good for most authors, just not quite up to what we get from something like The Fifth Season. Regardless, she remains one of my favorite authors and I have yet to read anything from her that I haven't basically loved. Check out the video linked above to hear more detailed thoughts!
Profile Image for ♥Milica♥.
828 reviews241 followers
September 21, 2021
I had semi-high expectations for The Killing Moon and it did not meet them. But at least I can say I finally read a Jemisin book.

The writing style was my biggest issue and it hindered my enjoyment of the book. It didn't work for me at all.

I was also a bit confused a lot of the time, not just in the beginning. And I didn't care about any of the characters except the Prince in a few scenes.

The pacing started off slow and it never really picked up. But, the storyline wasn't bad. I just wish everything else didn't make it harder to get through.

I might still give Jemisin's other books a try in the future, perhaps they'll suit me better.
Profile Image for Stuart.
708 reviews262 followers
July 10, 2016
The Killing Moon: A challenging and excellently-crafted work
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
N.K. Jemisin is my favorite fantasy author of this decade. In just six years, she has already established herself as a major force with three fantasy series to date, INHERITANCE (2010-2011), DREAMBLOOD (2012), and BROKEN EARTH (2015~). What makes her so distinctive is her incredible world-building skills, strong and complex characters and themes, and insistence on avoiding the overused conventions of the genre.

One of the best and most original fantasies I’ve ever read was her 2015 book, The Fifth Season, the start of the BROKEN EARTH series. In her DREAMBLOOD series, she takes the ancient kingdoms of Egypt and Nubia for inspiration, but rather than simply changing some names and using thinly-disguised history as her template, she introduces an entirely new religious and social system, one centered around worship of Hananja, the dream goddess represented by the moon.

In the land of Gujaareh, power is divided between the priest class, the royalty, and the military. But the priest class is the most powerful thanks to its Gatherers, specially-trained priests who harvest dream blood from the sick, dying, and corrupt and use it for healing the sick and injured. So while they provide succor to the suffering on the one hand, they also deal out justice to the corrupt on the other, which makes them far more complex than the usual ‘healer’ role. Because they can delve into people’s dreams, they can also access private thoughts to root out the corrupt.

Gatherers take the suffering souls and escort them to the dream world of Ina-Karekh. It is a sacred duty and considered an honor to be sent to the next world. This extends even to the corrupt and criminals, for which it is considered an act of mercy. This theme of euthanasia, or death with dignity, is woven throughout the book. So is the potentially corrupting influence of wielding power in the name of the greater good.

The story centers on several main characters: senior priest Ehiru of the Hetawa; his young apprentice Nijiri; Sunandi, a female diplomat and spy from neighboring Kisua; the ambitious Prince Eninket who harbors a dark secret, and many supporting players. The political struggle between the city-states of Gujaareh and Kisua is played out among individuals at various levels of society, and the motivations of both sides are complex and convincing.

It is a fully-developed and engrossing world, since the political involvement of the Hetawa priests is so pervasive in Gujaareh. When Ehiru and Nijiri begin to uncover corruption that points to the leaders of the Hetawa itself, they are forced to question the principles upon which their whole lives have been devoted to. We also are shown the political system of Kisua and its Protectors, who are opposed to the use of dream-gathering as they consider it dark and corrupting magic. Many of the most astute social observations come from the diplomat Sunandi, whose role as a spy for her kingdom serves as convenient device to reveal details of the world organically as the story unfolds.

There is certainly a flood of neologisms at the beginning of the book, which creates some confusion, so readers will likely be flipping to the glossary to get their bearings (something audio listeners cannot do), and the author eschews exposition in favor of throwing readers into the story from the beginning, then letting us slowly piece together the world and characters she has created. I actually prefer this approach, because it allows the reader to be rewarded with insights into the world without slowing the pace much. So while there is definitely a learning curve, you won’t feel like you’re reading an encyclopedia.

It’s also worth mentioning that this books centers of people of dark skin inspired by the ancient kingdoms of Egypt and Nubia, a refreshing change from the dominant influence of medieval Europe on the bulk of epic fantasy, and while this is not an overt element of the story, it is great to tap into such a rich and rarely-used source of inspiration. She also is quite subtle in describing the sexual dynamics of the characters - it is only by mid-story that we discover that same-sex relationships are part of the social fabric in some cases. This becomes particularly poignant for two of the main characters, but I will say no more.

There is also a lot of exploration of gender politics and the roles of women in the two societies, something I look forward to when reading her books because she refrains from stacking the deck to favor a given agenda. Instead, her characters are complex in their motivations, and there is a lack of cookie-cutter heroes of villains. Our understanding of the main characters grows throughout the story, as they themselves evolve and struggle with thorny ethical and political struggles. Even the character who turns out to be most ‘evil’ has his own reasons for doing what he does, though he clearly has lost his sense of perspective along the way.

Much of the pleasure of the book derives from the slow reveal of the social, religious, and political details of the two societies, so I will not spoil it any further. Suffice to say that Ms. Jemisin has clearly thought it out in great detail and could probably create many stories in this world. But The Killing Moon is self-contained and comes to a dramatic conclusion, though whether it is satisfying or not I will leave to the reader to decide.

There is a second book set several years after called The Shadowed Sun, which features some of the same characters but introduces new cultures and perspectives, and dives even further into gender politics and the role of women in this ancient imagined culture. At this point I plan to read everything Ms. Jemisin writes, as she has earned my respect and admiration with her challenging and excellently-crafted work.
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
986 reviews1,114 followers
May 2, 2020
A story about an ancient civilization that worships death and dreams and bears a striking resemblance to Ancient Egypt as written by the brilliant N.K. Jemisin? Yes, please!!! A couple of years ago, my husband, who is a slow reader, devoured Jemisin’s “Broken Earth” trilogy (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) in less than a couple of weeks. His enthusiasm was very contagious, and I was impressed with her stunning world building and moving stories. I couldn’t wait to read more!

The Dreamblood duology is less overtly political than the “Broken Earth” trilogy. This is much more of a fun, escapist kind of fantasy: there are racial and caste conflict aplenty, but the prejudice and discrimination are not at the centre of the plot. This is a story of intrigue, conspiracy, corruption, and, of course, murder – in a society obviously inspired by the Egyptian pantheon, rituals surrounding death and the afterlife, and even by how the seasonal flood shaped their civilization and culture. I absolutely loved diving into this richly reimagined world, even when I needed the glossary at the end to clarify a few words and concepts. Jemisin is not the kind of writer who gives you much exposition: she throws you in the deep end from page one, and you have to figure it out.

“The Killing Moon” is the first part of a story, set in the city state of Gujaareh, on a planet orbited by two moons. These moons are the basis of a strange and macabre religion, the worship of a goddess of dreams – but also of death and the afterlife. Ehiru is a Gatherer, a very particular type of priest who assists people during their transition from this life to the next via their dreams, a moment at which he harvests their humours (that’s an archaic word for goo), which gives him and members of his cast all kinds of powers. But one of those rituals goes horribly wrong, and the next thing Ehiru knows, he is embroiled in a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of his caste’s hierarchy, and involves a powerful and terrifying creature long-believed to be a mere legend. With his excessively loyal apprentice Nijiri in tow, he must leave Gujaareh to stop a war before its outbreak, and to overcome the dark magic at work.

Squeeee!

This book was a lot of weird and exotic fun, and I loved every page. The elegant and weird civilization Jemisin conjured on the page is fascinating and while we don't dive very deep into the characters, we get a good enough portrait of them that you feel their motivations, longing and greed,

If you are looking for a beautifully written, epic "historical" fantasy, look no further! Looking forward to the second part already.
Profile Image for Traci.
188 reviews80 followers
May 19, 2012
I'm really struggling with my rating here. I loved this book. Absolutely and completely. The whole time I was reading it I had that magical feeling going when we read a new favorite book, one of many and many, for the first time. But my conscious is questioning whether it deserves a full five score. For now I'm saying yes. But for any objectiveness you can bring it down to four and a half if you wish.

...Where to start? I'm definitely not going to try to explain the plot. But let's just say for world building alone Jemisin deserves a perfect score. For language and atmosphere, perfect score. When I read her books I feel as though I am reading a dream and so I found it fitting that this most recent one deals so heavily in the dream world.

I loved that there was no right or wrong. There are differing views in this book but never once are we the audience told to think. I love that the world is just familiar enough but never an exact copy. I love that Jemisin strays away from the tradition mode of European fantasy. And does so in a way that is completely different. This story could not have been told in any other fashion. Jemisin has a great talent at bringing life to unique fantasy cultures.

Not to say it was perfect. I do think Jemisin needs some improvement with characterization. Although this book did a better job of this than her previous works. She can definitely create awesome characters, they just could use more of a human touch.

But more like this and I'll be a longtime fan.

I know some readers found her first series a little heavy on romance but I can reassure any potential readers that this is high fantasy. No mistake.

I recommend this to fans of Jemisin's first series, obviously. Fans of Jaqueline Carey. Guy Gavriel Kay. And, don't shoot me, George RR Martin. Honest, the political aspects of this book is much stronger than her others.

I'm just sorry it wasn't longer.

* add-on I know how there's a reluctance to start new series for fear of cliffhangers and unresolved plots. Even though there is at least one more book planned, this one does have an end. And seems as though it could be read as a standalone. Almost.

Profile Image for Stefan Bah.
163 reviews224 followers
November 21, 2017

“It was said that the Gods favored fools because they were entertaining to watch.”


Remarkable prose, stunning and unique worldbuilding filled with intricate characters, and unapologetic and daring questions book asks of you throughout reading it.

“Magic was mother’s milk to the people of Gujaareh.
They were steeped in its necessity, proud of its benefits, dismissive of its consequences.
It was impossible to understand Gujaareh without understanding the source of its power.”


Story follows three characters.
A priest who grants peace of eternal dream to those who are corrupted by malice - but for the first time falters in his sacred duty and now has to deal with guilt.

“Is your sin greater, or theirs lesser? Do you demand more of yourself than you expect of them?”


Apprentice whose love and loyalty for his teacher conflicts love and loyalty for his sacred order.

“You must learn to see things from many angles, Nijiri. If anything, that has always been your mentor’s one failing. He sees only Hananja’s Law. That narrowness of purpose makes him the greatest of your brethren, but it also leaves him ill equipped to handle the schemes of the corrupt.”


A spy whose patriotic duties require from her to align interests of her country with those who would harm her.

“You kill, priest. You do it for mercy and a whole host of other reasons that you claim are good, but at the heart of it you sneak into people’s homes in the dead of night and kill them in their sleep. This is why we think you strange—you do this and you see nothing wrong with it.”


Every single one of them comes with an enmity towards each other, but circumstances of intertwining their fates will persuade them to put aside their conflicting natures.

As I said, worldbuilding is fascinating in its uniqueness with beautiful mythology and rich history.
Book is filled with little stories of world's conception like the story of a Sun chasing two Moons.

description

It's a bit graphic for public description, so let's just say it has a happy ending. :D

My only complaint would be names. Although I’m all for making entirely new names and different concepts to serve its own worldbuilding structure, there’s always a possibility of overdoing it. Or simply giving insufficient explanation of certain social, theological or any other concept, which can harm the book itself.
And sadly that was exactly the case here.
Yeah, sure, make your imagination vivid and running wild, and choose some other name instead of George for your main male character. But, could we call palace ‘a palace’ ? Not ‘Yanya-Iyan’? And if not, could we get at least a vague explanation what ‘Yanya-Iyan’ actually is?
Running through glossary on every second page certainly can distract you from enjoyment.

All in all this is a unique gem of this genre.
Introduction to N.K. Jemisin work did not disappoint.
Profile Image for Donna.
541 reviews182 followers
November 12, 2018
This was the first book in a two part series, but strangely enough, the way it ended, with everything tied up neatly, it felt like a standalone. I read it after The Broken Earth Trilogy, even though this series came before that one. And I could not help comparing the two, with The Broken Earth books coming out the winners. I had thought those books grim, but this book was even more so since it lacked the abundant humor in that other series, which took the edge off the hopelessness of that world.

As for the world depicted in this book, it is like an alternate version of ancient Egypt and the law of the land is peace at all cost, but sometimes the price is very high, even war. There is a magic system in place which is facilitated by dreams. Gatherers are those who can both heal and destroy lives through the dreams they produce, depending upon whose lives they are dealing with and the range of their skill and control. They are able to send those who desire it into a glorious dreamworld of their own making to live out eternity in the subconscious’ version of heaven. But for those deemed corrupt, they are sentenced and given no choice in being terminated in such a manner. But what happens when those judging who are corrupt are corrupt themselves? And what happens when those doing the terminating allow their feelings to corrupt the process, turning dreams into nightmares?

The world-building in this story was good, but not nearly as detailed or fantastic as what the author did later with her Broken Earth series. But like that series, she had an interesting magic system and sympathetic, diverse characters. Though all of the main ones were male except for a pivotal female character who had little development and was somewhat unlikable. How different this was from the female dominant books in The Broken Earth Trilogy who displayed grit and had me rooting for them.

Bottom line is, this book kept me interested and I cared about the two main male characters and their special relationship, but the story was far from amazing within a series I’m not sure I’ll continue with. Instead, I await whatever the author writes next since she seems to be gaining strength a book at a time, as time goes on.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,548 reviews2,934 followers
May 16, 2018
This is a book I picked up hoping to love but it didn't quite work for me. I have read the Broken Earth trilogy by this author and loved that, but this series (written before that one) just felt a little lacking in some areas for my liking.

We focus on a world where people who are known as Gatherers have the ability to 'Gather' people and send them along to their deity. They do this by entering the dreams of the person who needs to be 'Gathered' and then guiding their soul along the pathway to their dream-goddess. They are supposedly an impartial form of punishment, they are not owned by the crown or powered by any but good and bad. They stand only for justice.

We follow one of the gatherers who is well-known and well thought of because of his skill. He is a member of royalty who was taken in by the Gatherers when he was a young boy, and he has grown to believe in everything they stand for utterly.

We also follow a foreign diplomat who has come to their city to try and negotiate, but she comes in a time of strife and it quickly becomes clear that un-known and un-sanctioned deaths/gathering is taking place.

When our main characters meet they do so in an awkward way, with one being sent to kill the other, but we follow their discussion and it leads up to believe there is a lot more than first meets the eye. Add in all the magic of the world and the influence of Egyptian culture, and you have what could be a wonderful start to a duology...could be...

Sadly, the characterisation and world-building didn't go as far as I wanted in this series and I think N. K. Jemisin's newer series shows massive progression in these areas. Personally, I just never felt like I felt for or really got to know and understand the characters, and I found myself a little cold about them.

I would say the pacing of this one is good fun, it trots along at a steady pace and I enjoyed the unravelling of the story. However, I did find the characters and world lacking, but more annoying still was the predictability of the story, which honestly just felt too good vs evil with nothing in the middle.

I gave this a 2.5*s in the end, very middle of the road for me.
Profile Image for Simona Stoica.
Author 16 books710 followers
September 23, 2016
5+++

Recenzia completă: http://palarisme.ro/chef/carti/76-car...

„Ştiai că scrierea poveştilor le ucide?”

După câteva minute risipite în neant, timp în care am admirat coperta şi am zâmbit la scurta notă a autorului, m-am desprins cu uşurinţă de realitate şi de lumea înconjurătoare pentru a păşi pe străzile din cetatea Gujaareh, unde am fost prinsă într-un vis mult prea frumos şi tulburător pentru a-i dori sau grăbi sfârşitul.

Nu este un secret că iubesc cărţile fantasy şi că îmi este teamă de fiecare serie pe care o încep. Mă gândesc ce se va întâmpla când voi găsi o idee furată, dacă lipsa originalităţii mă va împiedica să continui lectura sau dacă personajele mă vor trăda şi vor lua forma unor umbre care alunecă din capitol în capitol, fără să îmi ofere posibilitatea de a le cunoaşte sau de a le pătrunde, măcar pentru un scurt moment de rătăcire, în cele mai întunecate dorinţe care le macină sufletul.

Temerile mele s-au risipit după doar câteva pagini, când am realizat peste ce comoară am avut norocul să dau. Luna ucigaşă a fost o aventură neaşteptat de frumoasă, pe meleaguri exotice şi prin oraşe clădite pe stâlpul credinţei şi al unei religii controversate, cu ocazia căreia am cunoscut o altă formă de magie, periculoasă şi interzisă în anumite ţinuturi, care are puterea de a atinge şi de a distruge chiar şi mintea celui mai cumpătat dintre slujitorii săi. A fost romanul pe care l-am aşteptat câteva luni bune, după ce am fost vrăjită şi sedusă de Omul pictat, cartea pe parcursul căreia am simţit tristeţe, speranţă, dorinţă, mânie şi bucurie, care mi-a oferit o urmă de speranţă printr-o mângâiere înşelătoare, ca apoi să îmi spulbere şi cel mai dulce dintre vise, cu o răsturnare de situaţie pe care o intuiam, dar pe care refuzam să o accept, un adevăr mult prea crud ca să fie real.
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