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Bibliophilic Monologues

Killing Moon (Dreamblood 1)

The Killing Moon - N.K. Jemisin Sometimes, if you are very lucky, books come along when you need them to. I was very lucky that The Killing Moon arrived when it did and I chose to read it when I did. The Killing Moon is Jemisin’s second trilogy after her widely successful Inheritance Trilogy and as I had read and enjoyed her debut work, I figured I would try the Dreamblood series. Jemisin’s world building is so detailed and exquisite and hey, she is blurbed by Kate Elliott. I am not one to usually read a book by the success of the author blurbing a book but since Elliott herself is such an accomplished writer, I felt comfortable taking her word for it. And wow, I’m babbling. Sorry. The point is, I had high expectations going in and fortunately, all those expectations were fulfilled. Actually, way more than fulfilled.Jemisin uses a large variety of literary techniques to tell her story. Let’s talk about the structure. There are epigraphs that situate the chapter in the context of a greater narrative. There are multiple perspectives, the book itself is a frame narrative though I am not sure who the person doing the narrating is. There are myths presents, Gods, Goddesses, a bit of romance, bildungsroman (Nijiri) and many others. There is also a foreword written by the author that is reminiscent of those found in historical novels. You would think that juggling a hotchpotch variety of techniques would make for a messy narrative but that could not be further from the truth. In the hands of a master, and no doubt that is what Jemisin is, the narrative falls neatly into place. In fact, I found The Killing Moon to be much stronger than her first trilogy. The narrative and plot are stronger, tighter and more able, in my opinion, to properly convey the story.There are many, many characters in the novel and Jemisin infuses them all with a personality that never feels stilted or stereotyped. The depth of her research is reflected in the richness of her imagery and her creativity finds a wide canvas in the landscape she sets her story in. While she does borrow from history, it is kept to a minimum and integrated smoothly into the narrative. There is never a sense of her manipulating historical thoughts and events into a shape that fits her plot.Her characters are complex, the core conflict is well thought out and the conclusion, when it is finally reached, is satisfactory. There are some books that you can rip through, inhale from the start to finish and then there are other books that you linger over, read slowly to make them last and, for me, The Killing Moon belonged to the latter group of books. The pace of the narrative remains steady until it speeds up and then slows again as suits the needs of the narrative.It’s a rollercoaster ride.Do I recommend the book to you? You bet I do. If you like dense fantasy that is rewarding and extremely satisfying, you will enjoy this one. A lot.