Some fantasy worlds feature elves and other mythological beings wandering around a pseudo-medieval Europe (think Tolkien and all those who have come around and after). There are also fantasy worlds where whole new cultures are developed from a few assumptions about how magic or psychic forces or co-existing non-humans would influence the people. While certain elements of the world of N. K. Jemisin’s The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun are can loosely be traced to ancient Egyptian culture, these books are firmly in the 2nd category. And what a world! With dream magic, healing magic, and death magic centered around Hananja, Goddess of the Moon in Gujaareh the City of Peace.
The Shadowed Sun, the 2nd book in the Dreamblood Chronicles, takes place 10 years after the events of The Killing Moon. While The Shadowed Sun follows new protagonists - Hanani, the first female Sharer/Dreamhealer, Prince Wanahomen, fugitive son of the old king, and Tiaanet, daughter to a scheming member of the merchant class - Jemisin makes liberal use of cameos of the main players from inThe Killing Moon to set the stage and to move the story along.
I loved The Shadowed Sun, even though parts of the story turn on difficult or troubling subjects – the misbegotten product of incest and an attempted rape take key roles in the story. I wasn’t aware of it until reading other blogger reviews, but Ms. Jemisin talked about the conscious decision to include rape on her blog and her reasoning is worth reading.
The Shadowed Sun kept me up much too late two work-nights running. I just couldn’t put it down. I’m now officially an N.K. Jemisin fangirl. It will take a while before I get through the stack of books in the queue before them, but I am very much looking forward to seeing the world Ms. Jemisin built in The Broken Earth Trilogy, the second book of which just released in August 2016.