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.
©2012 N. K. Jemsin (P)2012 Hachette Audio
Picked up this sequel after enjoying the first book (The Killing Moon). It's set about 10 years after the first book ends and picks up the story of the city of Gujaareh, which has been made a protectorate of the Kausi people after the end of the first book. A few of the characters from the first book return, but much of the plot now revolves around two new characters: the deposed king's son Wanahomen, who has allied with the Banbarra (a tribe of desert nomads) and hopes to take back control of Gujaareh; and Hanani, the first woman to be allowed to join the healers of the Hetawa sect in Gujaareh.
There are lots of interesting ideas and perspectives explored in the book, including why the Hetawa is traditionally exclusively male; how Hanani is dealing with being the first female healer allowed; how the Kausi protectorate and the Hetawa deal with the occupation of the city; and how the Banbarra are not simply savages nor is Gujaareh quite as civilized as they might like to think.
Overall though, while it was a decent story, I just didn't find the characters and story as captivating as the first book. Also, trigger warning for those who want to avoid plot points of child abuse, incest and rape; these are fundamental to some of the story.
This was a fabulous book. The world created by N.K. is so vivid and complex. The story is wonderfully written and very compelling. If you read the first book in this series, this is definitely the next one to read. If you haven't read the first book, read it then follow up with this one!
The Bambara culture is delightful: vivacious, earthy, soaring individualists, a perfect counterbalance to the Gujaharenes.
This is my favorite audiobook I've listened to so far. Narration put you right in the world and story swept me away!
I really liked the first book better than this one because it had a greater sense of presence than this book. That said I did enjoy this book quite a bit. Start with The Killing Moon then continue to this book.
I really enjoyed this book, with the singular exception of the ending, which I cannot, of course, discuss. Without dropping too many spoilers (don't worry, lots of characters die) I can say that it was uncharacteristically, uncomfortably saccharine, for an author who I read precisely because she does *not* adhere to the usual guidelines schtick; with that singular exception, I really enjoyed this book.
If you liked The Killing Moon (book 1), you are going to love The Shadowed Sun! As with the first book, I believe this one suffers from mediocre title/boring cover syndrome, but in an audiobook, it's easy to move past that.
The way Jemisin approaches the topic of femininity and what it means to be a matriarchal culture is truly refreshing. Her prose is gorgeous, and her characters are incredibly complex and well developed.
The weakness in this book is the ending. No spoilers, but I came away feeling that the ending was rushed. She summarized and glossed over some pretty major plot points. It was enough to sour the whole experience, but I did wish that she'd made the book 50-60 pages longer in order to flesh out the ending more.
Overall, it was worth reading, and I'd love to read more with these characters in this world.
book and music junkie
Just like the first book in the series, you have to patiently allow the world to develop. When you allow yourself to immerse in the culture, corrupt dream plot, and sociology of the world, you are rewarded by NK Jemisin's rich writing and superb storytelling. As always, embracing Jemisin's layered tale provides an excellent reward.
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