Book Thoughts: The Killing Moon

The Killing Moon


There is nothing to fear in nightmares, so long as you control them.

Two things about me: I love ancient Egypt anything. I love fantasy.
Combine those two things what do you get? One very happy Anasylvia.

I’ve been hearing amazing things about  N.K. Jemisin for a very long time. I was actually planning on reading her Inheritance Trilogy, but then I saw this one and  just take a second to look at that cover. Isn’t a beaut? And well after learning about the ancient Egyptian like setting, I never had a chance of resisting. Sorry not sorry.

I love my medieval fantasy, but every now and then I need something to shake it up. Something unique. Something with diversity. The Killing Moon is just what I was looking for.

It’s all here and more my people.

The city of Gujaareh worship the female deity Hananja. The Hetawa are her priest of sorts. They are a brotherhood known as The Gatherers. The Gatherers take magic from dreams and wield it for various uses such as healing, and easing people’s passage into Ina-Karekh, the afterlife. This occurs through a process that ends with the gathering of a person’s soul. Hence the name Gatherers. The Hetawa are not without controversy or enemies, however. Some people believe that the Gatherers work is honest, while others see them as nothing more than glorified killers.

Ehiru is a Gatherer. One of the most gifted and powerful The Hetawa has ever had. He believes in his work and and his brothers. But when a series of murders occur throughout the city linking the The Hetawa to them, Ehiru ventures out of the life he has always known to uncover not only the Hetawa’s deep and buried secrets, but also his own.

“True peace required the presence of justice, not just the absence of conflict.”

This reads like historical fiction. When I finished it I found myself shelving this in “historical fiction.” (Thankfully I caught myself) It’s obvious Jemmison did tons of research for this. She developed a system based on ancient Egypt and Nubia, and the world she creates bares traces of it, but ultimately it’s entirely her own. She very descriptive, and she does a fantastic job of making you feel like you’re there. From the description of the people, the spices, the cobbled stone streets, the temples….Sorry I’m nerding out again, but I really felt like this was a place that existed once, and a place I would love to visit.

Each chapter of the book opens up with a line from either the book of Wisdom or the book Law. By using these epigraphs, Jemisin avoids the dreaded info dumping. We learn tid bits about the Hetawa religion as well as the Gujareen laws of conduct and order. I loved this. Although I do understand information is necessary, I love when authors find creative ways of giving us information without the long spiel about “How things Are.”

We also get four interludes where we become aware that someone is telling this story. The interludes break from third person narrative to first person, and the narrator becomes obvious in the Fourth interlude. These were very insightful and their importance grows as the story progresses.

When it comes to the characters I’ll admit it took a while to warm up to them. They are all dealing with their issues, so they’re a bit closed off from the reader in the beginning. Nijirri is probably my favorite. He’s Ehiru’s apprentice. He’s so open and willing to take risk for the people he loves (sometimes recklessly so).He begins as a scared and singled minded boy, and ends as a mature man. Sunandi was a fantastic female character although I do wish she would have been fleshed out more. I feel like she is a person who has had such an insane life, and it would be incredible to hear about it. Ehiru’s journey is a tough one, and he is the one that goes through the most epic chaotic transformation. I loved that he was flawed, and he didn’t always have the answers, but he tried to always make the best decisions he could.

A huge plus, is that Jemminsin creates a world where there is no homophobia. No one talks about it because it’s not necessary. There is no such thing as Gay because everyone is free to love whom they want, and it’s always been this way. That’s a first for me in any genre, and I thought it was great.

The only reason I’m giving this 4 stars is that the beginning was a bit slow. It took longer than I would have liked for it to grab my interest, and there was a moment when I thought it was going to be a dud. However, around the 130 page mark (I know it’s a lot of pages) it really grabbed me and couldn’t think of anything else.

Overall, if your in the mood for something different in the fantasy genre, I highly highly recommend this one.


9 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: The Killing Moon

  1. Could it be that I already read this review on Goodreads? 😛 I think I did. Anyway, I remember liking it a lot and was impressed by the fact that you were such a fan of Egypt. I think Cleopatra’s story is a very interesting one by the way.

    • Yes you did! I posted it first over there, but I didn’t have time to copy and paste here till today.I love Cleopatra, and I’m always on the hunt for books about her, so if you have any recs send them my way!

    • Haha Thanks! It was for sure unique. At least for me. My enjoyment of this book may be partially due to the setting, but the story and the characters were still all really well done.

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