Stories are teachers that entertain and inspire. We are storytellers all of us.
What a fulfilling read! All of the great world-building, layered characters, dreaming magic and political intrigue in N.K. Jemisin's The Killing Moon is back ten-fold in this deeply satisfying sequel. The Shadowed Sun, which takes place ten years later with new characters to follow, is a beautifully woven story.
The fantastic yet familiar ancient city-state setting invites you in with Jemisin's show-don't-tell style (and if you ever get lost in the lingo, there's a useful glossary in the back for reference). It's through the characters' fumblings that we discover the workings of the world. And what characters they are! Jemisin does such a good job at giving each person their own spectrum of behavior that the instinct to latch onto a so-called protagonist and put them up on a pedestal, or label a character as either a villain or a hero, is thwarted. An important reminder that people are always more than what we see on the surface, or at any given moment. It's impossible to put any of Jemisin's characters in a box, which was a little frustrating at times as a reader trying to make sense of things, but ultimately rewarding.
The explored concepts of healing, handling those judged corrupt, not to mention the various cultures' views on gender roles and emotional expression, are all artful depictions of timeless themes we can never seem to agree upon (even within ourselves). Hence Jemisin's characters continue to reconsider their seemingly unwavering opinions. Think of The Shadowed Sun as a fantasy political thriller (with some romance) that likes to shake up everyone's norms – a cue to dig deeper, keep questioning the status quo and live a little!
No doubt I'll be adding the rest of N.K. Jemisin's books to my TBR shelf!