[Book Review] The Killing Moon

The Killing Moon / N. K. Jemisin (Powell's Books)

In the city-state of Guanjaareh peace rules through the blessing of their goddess Hananja.  Priests siphon off the dreams of the citizens to provide healing and to rid the city of corruption.  Ehiru, perhaps the most renown of the city's Gatherers, begins to doubt himself when a Gathering goes awry, only to be pulled into a conspiracy that threatens not just Guanjaareh but the world.

I cannot say enough about Jemisin's writing (or about Jemisin herself, she's a wonderful person).  She creates rich, gorgeous fantasy worlds and compelling stories.  Additionally, she provides a fantasy that doesn't take place in a re-imagined medieval Europe themed setting.  The Killing Moon delves into belief, love, power, corruption, and politics.

The Killing Moon was the July pick for my Virtual Speculation bookclub, sorry for the late posting.

Discussion Fodder:
  • To the Guanjaareens, the death offered by Gatherers is a honor and a comfort.  What do you think about their cultural reverence towards death?  Do the Gatherers bring peace and purge corruption?  Do only the ignorant fear Gatherers, or is Guanjaareh too powerful and too strange?
  • "Did you know that writing stories kills them?  Of course it does.  Words aren't meant to be stiff, unchanging things."  How does the recording of stories change them?
  • What do you think about the treatment of women in Guanjaareh?  Are they are "goddesses" while being homekeepers?  What about the importance of food, of offering, in seduction?
  • Do Gatherers "kill"?  As the Sister says "I do not actually share my body with tithebearers, Apprentice.  I merely give them dreams."  Does the distinction matter?
  • What the The Killing Moon say about the themes of love, power, and corruption?  What is the place of love in Guanjaareh?  What about power?  Corruption?  Does Ehiru offer love and kindness by easing pain, or does real love cause pain and endure?  Are all three tangled together or can they be separate?
  • Is the Prince insane or inspired?  What do you think about his goal for peace?
  • What do you think of the Sunadi's statement, "...you are the victims here.  The most pitiful victims of all, because you believe."

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