the balance of peace and corruption | the killing moon by n.k. jemisin

by - 4:35 PM

"Words aren't meant to be stiff, unchanging things. Many, many generations ago, before pictorals and numeratics and hieratics, words were kept where they belong, in mouths. Written words did not kill my lineage's purpose, though gone are the crowds - and the riches - we once commanded. We retell the stories regardless, because we know: stone is not eternal. Words can be."
isbn: 978-0356500768 | pages: 418
publication date: May 1, 2012 | source: own/paperback
genre: adult, fantasy, 

Egyptian medicine and Freudian dream theory
N.K. Jemisin takes two completely different topics and somehow weaves them together to create a magical and unique world. Gujaareh itself is a melting pot in its truest definition, a metropolis centered around trade where peace is held as the utmost law. The set-up can read a bit slow at first since you're getting adjusted to a brand new world, but it's so refreshing for a high fantasy story to not take place in a recycled Medieval England. 

In the extras, N.K. Jemisin goes in and explains how she modeled the world off of Ancient Egyptian society and that definitely shines through with a diverse cast of characters. Each individual not only comes from a different culture, but they also hold varying degrees of morality which in turn gives the reader a wide sense of perspective and the chance to determine where the characters stand on a moral spectrum. 

the construction of peace
In a world where peace is upheld as the highest of laws, there's an interesting discussion on how peace is to be maintained. I feel like I could go in and write an entire literary analysis discussing the parallels between the peace of Gujaareh and how peace is perceived in our society today. Even amongst the characters, there are different definitions of peace - Ehiru, a Gatherer and servant of Hanaja, has a very black and white view whereas Sunandi, the Kisua ambassador sees everything more in greyscale. 

The way that peace is constructed adds another compelling element to the overall plot. Each character is doing something that champions their own perception of peace which in turn translates to how justice should be carried out. It's super interesting to see how peace is also intertwined with the other themes that are present: corruption, power, even love - they all contribute to the bigger story. As the Gatherers are the keepers of peace, there's also a discussion on how peace should be enforced if that particular version involves turning a blind eye to apparent political corruption.

One of my favorite quotes from the story definitely echoes this:
"I'll serve in my heart if serving in public means swallowing injustice." - Nijiri

trust all and trust none, but also ninja priests
One of the strongest elements of this story is its sense of perspective. N.K. Jemisin creates characters that are so well crafted and three-dimensional that no matter what their intentions are, they're believable, and under different circumstances, you could even root for them. This also attributed to how much I enjoyed the story because I could not decide who to trust. There are so many unexpected reveals and clever plot manipulations that are set in place to keep the reader constantly engaged and wondering at possible outcomes.

In the end, all of these elements combined with the author's beautiful prose portrays a very haunting and ultimately sad portrayal of humanity. The religious and political struggles along with the morally complex characters all serve to touch on topics that we're widely familiar with in reflection to our modern-day society which makes this story completely timeless.

for your information -  Black Lives STILL matter! If you haven't taken the time to sign petitions, donate, and educate yourself, here's a wonderful document of resources for you. As of this moment as I'm writing this post, the cops who murdered Breanna Taylor have not been arrested, there have been "suicides" of Black men that suspiciously look like lynchings which have been downplayed by the media, and countless NEW stories of continuous crimes against the Black community - this isn't over yet so don't stop using your voice to uplift the Black community!

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  1. Love your review! I need to start this authors books. I've heard amazing things about all of them!

    1. thank you! nk jemisin is honestly such a master at her craft, if you pick her books up let me know what you think!!