In Gujaareh, the currency of corruption is the coveted dreamblood gathered by the Hetawa, and the very real power it buys. It’s a smart literalization of the way dreams are bartered and redistributed within the socio-cultural structures we live in, allowing for some classes (or nations, or factions) to realize them with greater ease than others. None of the central players—Ehiru, his young apprentice Nijiri, the Kisuati spy and ambassador Sunandi, and the Gujaareen Prince Eninket—aren’t in some way sympathetic, and isn’t also in some way morally diseased by external and internal pressures. Ehiru becomes our primary moral compass because a “Gatherer destroys corruption—and power, if he must,” even as he realizes that he’s more complicit in this corruption than he knew. But the other protagonists are equally weighted with their own moral dilemmas, all entangled in the dark undercurrents that underlie Gujaareh’s stability. Each character is carefully and subtly shaded by Jemisin, even when committing evil.
I don’t want to give the impression that all this emphasis on souls and societies and their endemic corruption makes this a tedious or didactic novel. Jemisin crafts a beautifully delineated narrative from the vast conspiracy she reveals in bits and pieces, allowing the subtext and themes to inform her characters’ journeys. Despite twisted magic, soul-sucking demons, political intrigue, and war imparting an epic scale to the proceedings, this remains an intimate tale about how people affect each other and the world around them—how the personal affects the political. The result is a sense of operatic pathos, with each character’s arc coming to a deeply satisfying, earned finish. —
N. K. Jemisin’s “The Killing Moon” reviewed on slantmagazine.com (link)
via N. K. Jemisin’s twitter (link to post)
awesomeness detected. pretty much everything mentioned in this review makes my head and chest sparkle.
also you should probably go follow N. K. Jemisin’s twitter (link)