I don’t plan on doing a series review for this book duology, mostly because the two books stand on their own with nearly no assistance. As such, I don’t see why I should make a complete duology review, when the two really don’t need them (they read nearly as standalones). For Book 1 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
Gujaareh, the city of dreams, suffers under the imperial rule of the Kisuati Protectorate. A city where the only law was peace now knows violence and oppression. And nightmares: a mysterious and deadly plague haunts the citizens of Gujaareh, dooming the infected to die screaming in their sleep. Trapped between dark dreams and cruel overlords, the people yearn to rise up — but Gujaareh has known peace for too long.
Someone must show them the way.
Hope lies with two outcasts: the first woman ever allowed to join the dream goddess’ priesthood and an exiled prince who longs to reclaim his birthright. Together, they must resist the Kisuati occupation and uncover the source of the killing dreams… before Gujaareh is lost forever.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Alright on to book two! I am anticipating this being another long journey. It takes place after a time skip, if I understand properly. I have no idea how much time has fully passed, if we are being honest. I doubt that I’ll find that out until I read.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Well that was… something else. I’m not sure I really liked any of the characters. They weren’t bad characters but I did love them as I often do. Regardless of what that means, I am left thinking of what this book means, and what it means to me.
10 years after the events of book one, Guraareh is under Kisua occupation. There is danger and war as remnants to the city. Hanani, the first female priest, is in the middle of saving a man’s life, when her assistant and friend dies. Hanani is blamed for the death, and it is only upon the death of a Gatherer, that they learn it truly was not.
Meanwhile Wanahomen, son of the late Prince, is amassing an army to take back his birthright. Gathering allies, he wants to reject the Hetawa but knows he can not. In order to prove herself, the Gatherers send Hanani to Wanahomen as a hostage in order to prove their alliance.
As Gujaareh is destroyed by the strange plague destroying those who sleep, Hanani is brought to Wanahomen’s world. She is forced to no longer be of the priesthood, and take up a mantle of a woman who will blend in. After she is almost raped, and has killed the man responsible, she and Wananhomen grow closer. She teaches him of his gift that he had not been taught to use and then her mentor dies from the nightmare plague. Wana and Hanani sleep together, she contemplated giving up all she has known and war begins.
The Gatherers take down the Kisua from inside the palace as Wana and Hanani take the Hetawa. It is here that Wana gets shot and a woman named Tiaanet has fled with her daughter. Tiaanet’s daughter is the reason of the plague. While healing him, Hanani purges the girl and saves the city. Hanani is judged not to be corrupt by the Gatherers and after one last night with Wana, she disappears. She returns to his mother with the barbarians (where she had been during his amassing of power) and only a year later contacts him. It is then that she agrees to marry him.
What I Liked:
Hanani/Aier; I understood her choices and why she did what she did. After all she had been through, I suppose it only makes sense that she gave up the Sharers path. She is still a healer if not of the priests, and I can’t begrudge her for that.
Wanahomen/Niim; I saw a lot of his father in him and perhaps that is why I did not like him so much. Perhaps it is because I knew he should have been taken to be a Gatherer based on book one, and I’m salty. There are many reasons, but his actions all made sense. As such I accept him.
Tiaanet; Her arc was just painful and I feel that if I had gotten more of it, I would have cared more for her. She was a brilliant character, complicated and grey. I wanted more of her, and of her messed up life. I hope she becomes happy where ever she ends up.
Expansion of culture; this was great! We got to see more cultures of this world and how they view parts of society versus their own. A lot came down to sexuality and women, with the multiple cultures all treating them differently. I always like seeing clashing cultures and how they interact with each other.
Expansion of magic; After falling for Gatherers magic, seeing it expanded and touched on with Sharers was nice. Seeing Sharers magic just makes me any to learn more of all the different parts of the priest hood. I do so love learning more about established magic systems.
A bit of a sight into the characters of book 1; This is mostly in regards to the Gatherers. I love them, all four of them.
Romance; thissss. This was amazing. Wanahomen fell for Hanani but she did not fall for him even in the end (at least partially). Based on their characters and their challenges, this makes sense. I liked watching their connection grow and change. I liked watching this progression, and as long as it had taken. This was great.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
As I said in my after, I didn’t really grow attached to any of the characters. If anything, I accepted them for who and what they are but I didn’t love them. It didn’t make they book hard to read persay, but it did leave its mark.
Time Taken To Read
“Where I come from, family is a matter of the heart, not blood ties.“ pg 388