Alright, on to the long books. With these I’ve finished almost so many of my NEWTS. I’m doing this guys! I am so close I can taste it! This is so exciting! I read these on August 12th, so by the time you get this review, I am probably far further along on my list of two read. For Book 2 go here.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
Synopsis From The Book
The city burned beneath the Dreaming Moon.
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 murdering dreamers in the goddess’ name, 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.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
I’ve wanted to read an NK Jemisin book for a while. When the NEWTs gave me the chance, I jumped on it. I am not entirely sure what I am getting into with her writing style but I’m not too worried to be honest. It’s high fantasy in its own way, if anything the names are going to take a minute to get used to.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Not going to lie, it took be a half our to read 30pages. This is a long time for me, if you know me. Why? Getting into the world. It is my favorite type of introduction but a culture that is so drastically different from ones I knew, so I had to take a bit to get situated in the three perspectives. From that point on, I was good. I really liked the book although I did wish that there was a bit more to Nijiri and Sunandi.
The city of Gurjaareh is the city of peace and dreams. Bathed in magic, the city is beholden to the Goddess of Dreams, and the Moon. Everything and anything they do is for her. Gathers, totaling four, reside in the city invoking Justice. They kill the corrupt and Ehiru, one of the best Gatherers, creates a mortal flaw and destroys a soul by accident. He, and his new apprentice Nijiri are sent to a woman named Sunandi to send her to peace, to make up for his transgression and teach Nijiri. Upon meeting her, they see that she may be wanted dead for political purposes over being corrupt. The two take it upon themselves to learn more when they are attacked by a creature called The Reaper, a perverted Gatherer who hunts for lust and not to give peace. Ehiru is captured by his brother, the Prince of the city, and Nijiri tells his other Gatherer brothers of the truth hat had come to their order. Nijiri and Ehiru escape the city to learn more. It is here that they travel with Sunandi to her home, and learn of how the Prince wants to declare war on the world. In the city, the Gatherers begin to purge their order of corruption. Ehiru and Nijiri return to Guraareh to try to stop war. They are captured again and Ehiru becomes a reaper. Nijiri is forced to kill the first reaper and Ehiru, as Sunandi’s people stop the war from happening. Guraareh is conquered by Kisua.
What I Liked:
Nijiri/Zhehur; I did like him a lot. He was complex and so young. His change to an adult and I loved watching that change. Seeing his devotion questioned and pressed was also fascinating. His foil was very clearly Ehiru, who had lived a long age and had seen much more. I liked seeing this difference in perspectives and ages.
Ehiru/Nsha; My heart aches for him. He is a god upon the earth, but he was fully devoted to their god. His challenges and arch was very interesting. Seeing how he has to question everything he has ever known, destroyed me, but I loved it all the same.
The Prince/Eninket; his motives made a lot of sense, especially since we got a lot of explanation for it. World peace, as they have in their city state, is kind of interesting. He also wanted to be an immortal, so there is that. He was a very complex character and morally grey in his own way.
Gathering and Dreams; Gathering is such an interesting form of assassination. Because let’s be honest, Gatherers are just killers in another name (no matter what they say). The way that they take a soul and lead it to dreams for eternity is beautiful, but also frustrating and scary. I can understand how people can be fear of their magic in all honesty. Gathering is such a delicate procedure and a mistake can shatter a soul forever. It’s such a beautiful way to think of death but dangerous all the same. I liked how often they were questioned as well as how they were revered.
Magic system; Narcomancy. the four different types of dream magic can do so much and are so powerful but also interesting in how they are retrieved. It took me forever to break into this magic system but once I did, I really liked it. I like complex magic systems. This is a harder magic system over soft, which allows for things to be done. I love magic types with rules and this one, connected to Dreams, and peace? Dreams are so powerful and this was gorgeous.
Writing style; this was brilliant. You were fully emerged in the world, culture, and religion (as well as the moon, and their planet in the sky)
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Nijiri’s happiness; I understand the plot and character relevance for having him love Ehiru, but I want him to be happy. I hope book two lets him be happy (even though Gatherers aren’t supposed to have love). Edit after second book: it states that he and Ehiru were lovers. Were they? I thought it was a pretty romantic but platonic relationship since Ehiru and Nijiri never did more that sleep in the same bed (often more for Ehiru’s safety above all else). Idk i suppose this makes sense with their celibacy
Sunandi/Jeh Kalawe; she was a solid character for what there was for her, although this story was not really hers. I do wish I could have gotten more, for I feel she was supposed to be an important part
Time Taken To Read
I did like this better than Shadowed Sun.
“Words aren’t meant to be stiff, unchanging things.” – pg15
“Women are goddesses… They birth and shape the dreamers of the world.” – pg 22