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Monday, December 14, 2020

Review: The Shadowed Sun

 The Shadowed Sun is N. K. Jemisin's second book set in the world of The Killing Moon. Narratively,  it's a sequel, as the events take place after those of The Killing Moon, and certain characters reappear. However, you could read it independently as well, since all the information you need is retold, though I'm not sure why you would do that, as The Killing Moon is by far the stronger work.

The story revolves around Hanani (a poor choice of  name as it's very close to the dream goddess that's central to the culture, Hananja, so it's easy to confuse), who's an apprentice healer. She's one of the first batch of female priestesses in the church, though the themes of being a woman pioneer only appear (or become apparent) late in the novel.

The writing is clear and compelling as usual for Jemisin, but is also rife full of plot holes that make no sense to me. In particular, it's not clear what the end game of one of the set of villains really would be, and their actions make no sense. There's a post-facto rationalization of the primary religion's exclusion of women from its founding, which also makes no logical sense. Many parts of the background mythology and archaeology are thus ever resolved, leaving me unsatisfied upon reflection after finishing the book.

I still recommend the book, as it's a great read, but I wouldn't tell you that it's heads and shoulders over other fantasies, unlike her other novels.

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