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Review: The Killing Moon, N. K. Jemisin

the killing moonIn Gujaareh, it is the Gatherers’ job to shelter innocent civilians and lead them to a peaceful death once their time has come. Their tithes allow the city to run smoothly and peacefully, while the remains of their dreams are given to the sick who deserve healing and longer lives. Gatherer Ehiru has Gathered souls under the Dreaming Moon for most of his life when he slips and makes his first mistake. Already doubting himself, Ehiru soon finds himself in an even deeper conspiracy, as a woman he was sent to kill instead reveals damaging truths about his world. Now Ehiru must protect Sunandi in order to prevent the war which threatens all he’s spent his life working towards.

N.K. Jemisin’s debut, the Inheritance Trilogy, was a fantastic set of books that explored concepts of godhood in serious depth. Once again, with The Killing Moon, Jemisin has written an engaging book that looks closely at religion, and what the differences between religions are, in a setting reminiscent of ancient Egypt. Her book is centred on two city-states, Gujaareh and Kisua. Ehiru and his apprentice Nijiri are Gatherers from Gujaareh, while Kisuan Sunandi is fundamentally opposed to them due to her inherent and insistent hatred of their religious practices, a hatred and disgust shared by her people. Yet this trio finds common ground as they try to prevent their homes from flying headlong into war.

Because Jemisin always aims to do something a little bit different (she explains in an interview in the back of my edition why she eschews more typical medieval based fantasy tropes), her books come with a little bit of a learning curve. She likes to throw her readers right into her books, which means there is some learning to be done about the world and culture. Even though this is based on Egypt, it didn’t really *feel* to me like ancient Egypt. It certainly didn’t feel typical, but nothing about it was shouting “Egypt” – instead, it felt like a new fantasy world, and one which intrigued me as I settled deeper into the book.

What I always like about Jemisin’s books are the relationships between characters and how well they work. All of them feel very natural; Nijiri’s love for Ehiru, for example, is something that would bother many people in our culture, as a young man in love with one who is much older, but it is something here that is viewed as completely natural. And I liked the way they both interacted with Sunandi, and she with them, as they all struggle to get over their prejudice and accept each other as human beings.

Jemisin delivers another wonderful epic fantasy with The Killing Moon. I’m now looking forward to reading The Shadowed Sun and finishing this duology!

I received this book for free for review from Amazon Vine.

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