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.
©2012 N. K. Jemisin (P)2012 Hachette Audio
"[A] gripping series launch... as well as a rousing political and supernatural adventure." (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)
"Shines for its remarkable characters and graceful prose." (Library Journal)
I do plan to put a more in depth review up at my blog but I just wanted to pop in here and comment on how much I *loved* this book. I couldn't find time to read the book so I downloaded the audio and am so happy that I did because Sarah Zimmerman did a fantastic job on the reading!
Not only did this story have captivating characters that I quickly grew to care about a great deal, it was also set in a detailed world that Jemisin describes so beautifully that you can close your eyes (listening helps with this process) and actually see it. Further, the fascinating 'magic' system is unlike anything I've seen before in fantasy.
This is one of those stories which lingers in my mind for days and days after I finish reading/listening. In fact, it's occupied my thoughts so much that I might have to listen to it again before diving into The Shadowed Sun, which is waiting patiently on my iPod.
I went into Jemisin's book having never read any of her novels and not quite knowing what to expect. The learning curve is steeper than some of the fantasy out there, but once you get a few chapters in, and understand the general premise, the story takes off. Jemisin's writing is equisite. Her descriptions do a wonderful job of giving the reader a sense of place. She breaths life into her characters through their interaction and even with subtle touches of mannerisms and behavior that further imbed's them in the reader's mind. The book is a bit dark, which I enjoyed and felt with the subject matter she was tackling fit together well.
I picked up the audiobook version and am thankful I did. Sarah Zimmerman reads the book masterfully and hearing the book read aloud amplifies the beautiful writing of Jemisin. If you are looking for a refreshing setting for the fantasy genre, in depth characters, and an interesting, captivating plot, look no further than The Killing Moon.
I loved the rich setting details and multicultural scope of the story. More than that, I loved that these details were presented in an organic way rather than spoonfed in large chunks to the reader all in one sitting as sometimes happens in lesser works of fantasy.
Since this is a work of fantasy, there are a lot of strange names for both people and places in the story and the author was able to read them in a fluent manner. Also, her voice expressed the perfect calm of a gatherer.
Yes! Too bad I had to break it into chunks for my commute.
I encourage people to touch the sky of human imagination and read fantasy. My blog is the Importance of the Impossible.
NK Jemisin's best yet. Halfway through the story I worried resolution would be deferred to the next book, which will be released shortly, but the author slammed the end of the story down like a card player laying a flush of spades. I would love to see more fantasy like this, featuring an end at the end, a rich setting at the beginning, and a magic awash with moral uncertainty.
What the book jacket doesn't tell you is that this is a story about euthanasia. At least, its magic is. Dreamblood seems to be the energy released when a soul is shoved/escorted to the afterlife. Two of the protagonists, the gatherers, specialize in freeing sufferers. But they also harvest the “corrupt,” a perilous term ripe to be exploited by political intrigue and fallible men. And it is. And as readers, we are disturbed no matter where we fall on the euthanasia issue.
This struggle of using a potentially terrible magic for good lies at the frenetic beating heart of the Killing Moon. The forces of human need, free will, and religious devotion all clash, with no clear victor. NK Jemisin challenges the reader, not only with moral dilemmas but also with a frolic through tense and perspective shifts. (Yes, including second person, present tense.) A few times I had to blink and take a breath, when her words struck a perfect chord.
The setting is non-European but what it is seems mostly understated. Mentioned in passing are a seasonal flood, camels, a few drifts of sand, and loindrapes (more classy than loincloths?). The culture's dominant feature is the religion of a dream afterlife and a goddess of sleeping peace, an invention that transcends reference to any real-world local.
Given that euthanizing monks make up two of the three main viewpoint characters, and the tone of the story, I would be tempted to classify this as Dark Fantasy. Since it's second world, magic-centric, and has resolution in fewer than five hundred pages, High Fantasy is another reasonable description. If you like delving the uncertain waters of often disturbing ideas, of unrequited romance, and bitter triumphs, this is the fantasy book for you. Oh, and the Reaping magic is atom-bomb overpowered, but at least it has the decency to drive the user into gibbering madness.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
The only Audible reviews on this book are glowing and I now know why - this is a brilliantly beautiful book. The characters are multi-faceted, the setting is so different from standard fantasy offerings, and the plot is intricate and sophisticated. In addition, Jemisin's prose flows so naturally and in a book about magic tied to dreams, her words not only have a dream like quality to them, but Sarah Zimmerman also delivers them in a voice that can almost put the listener into a trance.
I have only a couple thoughts to add to the positive reviews already posted. 1. Sarah Zimmerman has a lovely voice and her style of reading is just right for this book. The only minor criticism I have is that she does not differentiate characters voices for the spoken dialog at all. This is preferable to narrators that use stupid sounding voices, but good character voices would have been nice in this book that requires quite a bit of concentration anyway. 2. Jemisin does no info-dumps in this book in spite of the fact that she has created a very complex political system intertwined with a complex and unique religious system. She is definitely a "show me" rather than "tell me" author which I really appreciate. However, this necessitates a period in the beginning of the book where the listener will not understand everything that is happening. For anyone listening and wondering if/when this will all make sense, it does make sense after the primary characters are introduced and the "world" Jemisin is building starts to come together when the storylines of the 3 POV characters converge - this is about 3 1/2 hours into the narration. After that, although the plot twists and turns, you will follow without much trouble. And, I assure you that even when you don't have enough information to understand why things are happening as they are, you will not be bored - there are dramatic moments from beginning to end in this book.
The Killing Moon is a dark tale with a really satisfying ending. I highly recommend it. Now I have to run so I can listen to the Shadowed Sun (sequel) :)
I'd read the author's "Hundred Thousand Kingdoms" previously and thought it was OK and with potential, but I hadn't rushed to read her other books. But this audiobook was a Christmas gift and it's clear the author is just continuing to improve, I finished it in 2 days.
The setting is a fictional desert country the author says is loosely based on ancient Egypt, but the details are all new and imaginative. The Gatherers are among those who practice narcomancy (sleep magic), gathering dreams to ease the ill or the criminal into a quiet death, or using the power of the dreams to heal illness and injury. The plot follows Gatherer Ehiru and his apprentice Nijiri, who slowly realize that something is greatly amiss in the city of Gujaareh. Framed and imprisoned for a hideous murder, Ehiru is released only on the condition that he kills the foreign ambassador Sunandi of Kisua, who is herself concerned that someone in Gujaareh is trying to start a great war with her people. Despite their mutual distrust, Ehiru and Sunandi (with Nijiri assisting) must work together to find out who is responsible for the murders, whether war is coming, and find a way to stop it all before it's too late.
The characters are interesting and sympathetic; the magic and religion are fascinating and unique; and even the "bad guys" are not simply stereotypical baddies but have shades of grey and complex reasons driving their actions. I've already picked up the sequel!
NK Jemisin is swiftly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her characters are solid, her settings are strong, and everything has a unique taste. I will never look at the word Peace the same again.
This woman can write! There are people of color in her novels and she builds the characters impressively.Her imagination is detailed and refreshing. BRAVO!!!! The narrator is no slacker either. A wonderful listen!
The world-building was very intriguing, most significantly the parts that dealt with the religion and history of the two main countries of the book and their differences. There were some moral quandaries that the author examined from different sides, both through the action of the plot and through characters straight up discussing them.
That being said, I didn't really "buy" the relationships between a few of the significant characters. I don't know why but it felt like something was missing, something that made the relationships seem deeper. (Not all of the relationships felt like this to me though.) I still enjoyed the book but probably won't read the next one.
I didn't like the narrator much. She could have done a better job distinguishing dialogue from narration. This didn't interfere with my understanding of what was going on 99% of the time, but I prefer the style where the narrator does different voices.
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