The Killing Moon (Dreamblood Series #1)

The Killing Moon (Dreamblood Series #1)

by N. K. Jemisin

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The city burned beneath the Dreaming Moon.

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers - the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt.

But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh's great temple, Ehiru - the most famous of the city's Gatherers - must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering dreamers in the goddess' name, stalking its prey both in Gujaareh's alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill - or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.
Dreamblood DuologyThe Killing MoonThe Shadowed Sun
For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out:
The Inheritance Trilogy The Hundred Thousand KingdomsThe Broken KingdomsThe Kingdom of Gods
The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition) Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction) The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella)
The Broken Earth series The Fifth SeasonThe Obelisk Gate

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316202770
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Series: Dreamblood Series , #1
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 87,602
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

N. K. Jemisin is a Brooklyn author who won the Hugo Award for Best Novel for The Fifth Season, which was also a New York Times Notable Book of 2015. She previously won the Locus Award for her first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and her short fiction and novels have been nominated multiple times for Hugo, World Fantasy, Nebula, and RT Reviewers' Choice awards, and shortlisted for the Crawford and the James Tiptree, Jr. awards. She is a science fiction and fantasy reviewer for the New York Times, and you can find her online at

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The Killing Moon 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a first-rate fantasy by one of the top authors in the field. It's completely different from her first trilogy (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, etc.) yet there's a sense of familiarity. Gods are a little too close to humanity. Heroes fall hard. The romance you think you see coming isn't at all what you thought it would be. The first few chapters took a bit of concentration to decipher, but after that the pace picked up nicely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But...I enjoyed the book 3 or 4 stars. This tale was a lot simpler then the previous series of this author. The last series and world created was so much denser and richer, and as someone who loves world building and mythology and was a better/richer experience for me. While that series explored worship from the point of view of the Gods. This looks from the view of the worshipers. But it being simpler does not mean it wasn't good. The world created in this series is based on the geography, history and culture of Ancient Egypt a period I love to read about. The world was pretty well realized and the religion and magic made sense. The motivations of the antagonist and what drove him...while terrible...was also understandable. Nothing is worse than evil that thinks his evil is for the betterment of man. Everyone is a hero in their own mind. Everyone thinks their actions and their beliefs are the "correct and moral" one. But from the outside you could be someone else's evil. Overall..I enjoy the exploration of religion and worship and how it can lead to both good and evil. Intention might be good....but actions tell the truth. At least that is how I read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm becoming a huge fan of this author. She has crazy talent for contructing fantasy worlds like I've never seen. Familiar enough to relate our world to but completely unique. One of my favorite things about her books is that she moves away from the traditional. This book not only doesn't take place in an European setting, it couldn't have. Written in a beautiful styling that feels like a dream. Recommended to any fan of high fantasy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable read with great characters and world builing. I'll be reading the next in thus series.
WitchyWriter 9 months ago
There’s a lot of beauty in this book. I haven’t read Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy yet (I’m borrowing it from my cousin later this summer), but her writing flows. There’s grace in it, in the way she describes the settings and the mannerisms of the characters. I really admire when an author can jump right into a story without doing too much infodumping. So often you can tell you’re in the beginning of a story because there’s so much explanation of this and that. But good writers just jump right in, because it’s an entire world that exists for them, not just something that springs into being on page one and disappears after the last sentence. The worlds contained in these stories are not finite—they have history and the character was alive and awake and doing things the day before the story started, too. Jemisin gets that. Nijiri is a wonderful character. Ehiru and Sunandi are great, too, but the majority of my love for this book comes from Nijiri. He’s willful and prideful and young but never quite naive. He feels things purely. His emotions bring out the best responses and reactions in the other characters. He drives everything, even though things happening in the plot seem to be happening to other people or by other people’s design. He’s a joy to read. In depth and richness of cultural and religious background, Jemisin’s world in this book reminds me of Jacqueline Carey’s world in the Kushiel’s Legacy series. Even the way she throws out the limiting frivolity of labeling people’s sexual preferences reminds me of Carey. You don’t have to call someone gay or bisexual or heterosexual when love and sex are not culturally restricted. I wish I didn’t feel like that was such a cool thing—because it means we’re so far from throwing out those labels in our own society. But it’s nice to escape to places where no one questions or cares or limits things. Attraction is attraction, love is love, sex is sex. All that said, there aren’t actually any sex scenes in this book. I don’t want to mislead by talking about it so much. There’s political intrigue, a fascinating system of magic that’s entwined with healing and dreaming, all set in a rich cultural system modeled on that of the ancient Egyptians. Jemisin’s writing is deep and thoughtful and exciting. This one is an excellent choice for lovers of fantasy fiction.
TerryWeyna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
We¿ve all read zillions of fantasies set in medieval Europe, or the equivalent thereof. But lately we¿re being treated to fantasies set in cultures that are very different from Western civilization (or even Western Dark Ages), and set instead in places like China (Daniel Fox¿s MOSHUI: THE BOOKS OF STONE AND WATER), Mexico (Aliette de Bodard¿s OBSIDIAN AND BLOOD) and Arabia (Saladin Ahmed¿s THE CRESCENT MOON KINGDOMS). And now N.K. Jemisin is taking us to Africa ¿ more specifically, a variety of Egypt ¿ in The Killing Moon, the first book of THE DREAMBLOOD. It¿s a trip worth taking. Ehiru is a sacred assassin, a priest who ushers the souls of the dying into the dream world, Ina-Karekh, and gathers their dreamblood. When we first watch Ehiru gather a soul, we get a picture of the peace inherent in the process: the elderly and dying are granted surcease and left in paradise. But a priest can also get a commission to gather one who has no wish to die, who is in the fullness of life and has no belief in Hananja, the Goddess of Dreams whom Ehiru serves. When he is tasked to gather the soul of a foreign traveler, the traveler¿s resistance surprises Ehiru. Most surprising is the traveler¿s assertion that some gather for pleasure, instead of as a sacred duty, something Ehiru considers abomination, obscenity. But the traveler asserts that Ehiru is being used, and in something like panic Ehiru bungles the job of gathering his soul, setting it loose in the nightmare hollows of Ina-Karekh for all eternity. From this beginning, we begin to get a picture of the plot: something is awry with the way the priests of Hananja are being used. Worse, though, we soon learn that something is wrong with Ehiru. And worse yet, there seems to be something wrong in Gujaareh, Ehiru¿s country. We learn much of this from Sunandi¿s point of view; she is a highly-placed diplomat from the country from Kisua and, not coincidentally, a spy. The countries were united at one time, but Kisua does not worship the Goddess of Dreams in the same way that Gujaareh does, gathering the dream humors for their various uses. In fact, it considers such practices barbaric. And Kisua is hearing whispers about what the monarchy of Gujaareh is up to. In particular, as the book proceeds, we read of a Reaper: one who gathers souls randomly, greedily, for purposes other than the worship of Hananja. Any priest might become a Reaper if he does not control his practice properly. And, to his shame, regret and fear, Ehiru finds himself on the thin edge of a knife between proper worship and the descent into the madness that would make him a Reaper. His apprentice, Nijiri, works hard to keep this fate from Ehiru, but there are politics at play of which he knows nothing. When the two undertake a journey to Kisua with Sunandi to find the truth behind the rumors of a Reaper, as well as to determine whether Sunandi warrants Gathering, the danger to Ehiru is enormous.Jemisin writes smoothly and transparently, a style well suited to her tale. She does not overwhelm the reader with the details of the worship of Hananja, which is the foundation for her book, but explains the religion organically as one reads, through discussions with others and descriptions of the religious practices as they are performed. The characters are well-developed; one comes to feel a real kinship with Ehiru, especially, as he finds his faith and his very humanity come into question, and to understand Nijiri¿s love for his mentor. One of the real joys of getting to the end of The Killing Moon is finding that one need not wait a year to read its sequel. The Killing Moon easily stands alone; there are no threads left hanging. But there will obviously be consequences to the events of The Killing Moon, and the world-building that Jemisin accomplishes is so strong that one wishes to visit that world again to find out what happens next. Fortunately, The Shadowed Sun is already available ¿ and, so far, it¿s just as enthralling as
chelseagirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've become quite the fan of Jemisin, who writes refreshingly original fantasy. For me, this was her best so far: Gujaarati, a world inspired by Ancient Egypt with a healthy dose of Freudian dream theory, was well-drawn and thorough enough to be believable, and the characters, Ehiru, the Gatherer, Nijiri, his apprentice, and Sunandi, a sympathetic spy from a neighboring nation, were all clearly drawn and imperfect. The notion that the death the Gatherers bring is a gift, seen as so by almost (but not quite all) those to whom they bring it, is intriguing. One of my problems with much contemporary fantasy is that I rarely feel completely drawn into the worlds the authors create, but Jemisin managed to do it.
Oryan685 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin is a must read for fantasy fans who love intricate and exceedingly well done world-building. You can feel the care that Jemisin has put into crafting the world she has made and you enjoy every moment that you spend there. This diligence is balanced with equally well fleshed out characters that are engaging and interesting, that you as the reader come to care about. In all, it is a well balanced book that was fun to read, and this series will establish Jemisin as a fantasy writer to watch.
ReginaR on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Killing Moon is the first in a new epic fantasy series by the author of the The Inheritance Trilogy, N. K. Jemison. Jemison has said that The Killing Moon is her "homage to epic fantasy ¿ as opposed to the Inheritance Trilogy, which was more my eyeroll at epic fantasy". This book hit me hard and stole me away from reality, completely. I was not expecting it. I had read great things about the Inheritance Trilogy, which I really need to read (I now fully understand that I really need to read it) and I thought understood that Ms. Jemison is forging a new path for fantasy. But I actually really didn't know or understand. This is new, unique and just different.The Killing Moon starts off slowly. There is world building to be accomplished and each chapter begins with a quote from the main culture's (in The Killing Moon) religious text. There are three characters introduced and Jemison takes her time in fully drawing these characters and presenting them to the readers. Jemison has time, the book is 448 pages and the first in a new series. So, the first 20 percent of the book involves story set up. The world is intricate, the religion and operating belief system is very unique. Thus, the slow build. Don't worry, there is some action and the book comes with a glossary. But once I was enmeshed in the story, I was hooked and did not want to put it down. Be prepared, like many fantasy stories it is slow in the beginning so readers need to be committed. What I was not ready for was an emotional ride and in-depth scenes between characters that were raw and dripping with emotion. The last 20% is non-stop action, but not the kind of action you can fast forward or skim your way through (which I admit to doing in action movies and many fantasy novels). Yes, it involves battles and fights and you will wonder who is going to make it, but there are a few very emotional scenes between two main charcters who love each other dearly (no, not romantic love -- mentor/mentee stuff) and are suffering through physical deprivation together. Their dialogue is hearbreaking, Jemison tells it in a brilliant manner.The setting for The Killing Moon, unlike most in the fantasy genre, is a non-European setting with characters who are in the majority part not of European origin. I believe the intention was to establish the story in a culture similar to ancient Egypt, but not identical and the story is not historically based (Jemison has a disclaimer at the beginning of the book where she states she made an effort to "de-historify" the tale). The religion and culture worships a female goddess and in the book itself, there are female characters that are in prominent and active roles. Because of all of this, the Killing Moon has a completely new feel. It is hard to walk away from a fantasy book feeling that I have read something new and different, Jemison accomplishes that.For the romance lovers, well there is no romance in this story. There are hints of sexual relationships and sexual longings, but nothing explicit. For those that love a fight between good and evil, well you will get that fight in this book except that good is not completely good and the bad is sometimes sympathetic. Jemison gets what some writers forget, the best political tales and the best power struggles are not between black and white/good and evil, but between smudged lines of not knowing who is good and understanding why someone is bad.The story involves political intrigue, but not in a confusing or overly intricate way that will bore readers. The book is more about the corruption of power and how it infiltrates religion and authority figures. Admittedly, yeah this is not a new theme but the way it is written and how the power is corrupted is very new. I have not read anything like this religious structure nor anything like the "power" that is weilded in this book. I do not want to be more explicit because it is important to slowly learn the world, I would hate
yoyogod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love fantasy novels, but these days I don't really read that many of them any more. This is because most epic fantasy has been taken over by these large ever expanding series where you have to read a dozen books (and wait a decade or so if it's an ongoing series) before you finally get he whole story.You don't have to worry about that with this book. This is essentially a stand-alone epic fantasy. Yeah, it's part of the series, but this doesn't have one of those annoying cliff-hanger ending where you need to pick up book two to find out what happens next.The story is interesting. It's set in a city with a priesthood that can siphon power from dreams to use in magic. In the process they often kill people, but that's usually reserved for the dying or those deemed corrupt.The problem is that there is corruption in the leader of the priesthood and in the city's Prince. This leads to a nasty monster called a Reaper killing people. I really liked this book. Even though I've been trying to avoid getting into any new series, I expect I'll pick up the sequel at some point.
rivkat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Free LibraryThing Early Reviewer book. Based on Egyptian-esque mythology, Jemisin¿s new book takes place on a planet with a huge overhanging moon banded in four colors; four is a big deal, including in the magic of the Gatherers who take dreambile, dreamseed (yes, what you think it is), dreamblood and dreamichor to perform various functions. Among other things, Gatherers kill people, but only those who want to go or are condemned properly for crimes. At least, that¿s what the Gatherers think, but it turns out to be far more complicated. Palace intrigue and ideology conflict as two Gatherers, a spy, a prince, and a near-mindless Reaper¿a creature of legend that has the potential to disrupt the balance of power entirely¿struggle for their various interests. I enjoyed the worldbuilding, and I like the idea that this will be a duology, because it¿s nice to see variation from the usual trilogy-or-bust plan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking to get away from the standard European fantasy, this is a great place to go. Jemisin is a master at crafting deep, rich worlds to captivate the imagination and keep you turning pages. This book, set in a world based on Ancient Egypt, is no exception. The story and characters are extremely well written and original. Pick this up, you won't be sorry.
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WTE-K More than 1 year ago
NK Jemisin is one of my favorite up and coming fantasy authors right now. She tells her stories from a different point of view, has great world and character development, and introduces us to interesting magic systems and pantheons. I highly recommend any of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wanted to leave my respect on this book's page as well. Ehiru is a brilliant character. This duology was a day and a half well spent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago