The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemsin


So, you know that post, Four Awesome Magic Systems, I’m adding a fifth one to that list. I have a new favorite, but not just the magic system.. the whole world. I fell in love with the idea of this book when reading its blurb, and being the Kindle Daily Deals addict that I am, I had to buy it.

First of all, I want to say this isn’t your traditional “high fantasy” which basically means no elves, mages, or European-like setting. Instead, this is set a world reminiscent of ancient Egypt and Nubia.  To understand this here’s a blurb:

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.
~From Goodreads

So, the magic system is really interesting. It is “gathered” from dreams and used to heal; however, when it is gathered it kills the person it is gathered from (not always, but usually). So, they gather “dreamblood” from the dying or the corrupt. It is usually a very peaceful process in which the dreamer slips into his/her most perfect dream for all eternity, but this isn’t always the case as you’ll find out. I wish she would have expanded a little bit more on the process of “gathering” as well as the magic itself, used by Sharers to heal, as I said before. You learn more about it near the end, but I’m left unsatisfied.

The setting is unusual, which makes me extremely happy. The history is somewhat familiar is if you know a bit about ancient Egypt, but still it is a world I’m unaccustomed to being written about. We really need more books like this that will open up the world of fantasy to be something more than books written by white men even if I do like Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks. Fantasy is about presenting new ideas and worlds and if we’re stuck in realms written by the same type of people the genre can’t evolve. And we do have talented fantasy writers of many races and both genders, but if the mainstream is the same, we’ve accomplished nothing. I follow a blog called The Nerds of Color, and it’s awesome anyways, but it is also a good way to gain perspective.  I know I’ve ranted here, but it is something I’m passionate about.

Anyways, the characters are very rich in personality and they definitely don’t lack in variety. I love Nijiri and the Sisters. I love the bad guy. I just want more and more of this world. Ugh, I feel like this book could have been longer, but maybe she was just using it to get you hooked. I don’t know. It’s a good book with a good conclusion, no cliffhanger, just want MORE. I would suggest this to anyone open to new types of magic, anyone who likes Egyptian mythology, anyone who wants something new to the world of fantasy. If you have any questions about this book, leave a comment. Happy Reading!

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