The Shadowed Sun (N. K. Jemisin)

The Shadowed Sun is the second book in N. K. Jemisin‘s Dreamblood Series. [Here’s my review of The Killing Moon.]

10 years after the events of The Killing Moon, the Kisuati have taken over Guajareeh. But unrest is stirring and their rule is not easily accepted. The nobility as much as the priests of the Hetawa are plotting against the Kisuati, in very different ways. Trying to win back his father’s throne is the exiled Wanahomen, who is building an army with the help of the Banbarra and forging an alliance with the Hetawa. To ensure that alliance, Hanani the first female Sharer of the Hetawa and her teacher Mni-inh are sent to the Banbarra, while a strange plague takes ahold of the dreamers in Guajareeh.

I can just repeat what I’ve said in every single Jemisin review I’ve written on this blog: they are well-written and have interesting premises (otherwise I wouldn’t have read her entire bibliography basically immediately after they came out) but I still don’t actually care about the books. There’s no emotion. Unfortunately that is still true for The Shadowed Sun.

I kept on hoping that things would be different this time. That with this book, Jemisin and me, we could bridge that gap, or clear whatever’s between us that keeps me from connecting with these books. Because the premise is just really too good to give up easily. The writing is too good to give up easily. But it just never happened.

Even though it started out fine and I enjoyed reading it in the beginning. I’m not exactly sure when that changed, but change it did. And by the end of the book I just wanted to be finished with it, so that it was finally over and I could move on – there was no fun involved anymore.

Maybe I started disconnecting even more when Wanahomen – who she first builds up as quite the asshole – is suddenly turned into the hero of the story. Or generally the politics – when you’ve already had a revolution, how can you not use it to really change things, instead of going back to the way it was as fast as possible? That approach is just beyond me.

I did like Hanani. She’s a cool character in an interesting position, and I was rooting for her. Though I also started to feel alienated when she [SPOILER] starts grieving for Mni-inh, for two reasons: one, and that is completely personal, but the strength of her grief was just a couple of levels above what I felt relatable – I just don’t show my emotions that much. And two, accepting that the loss (and the traumatic events before that) really pushed Hanani to the edge of insanity – which I find unlikely as she’s never shown any symptoms before – a night in Wanahomen’s arms makes it all pretty much go away? No. I just really didn’t buy that. [/SPOILER]

Summarising: I’ll probably give up on the idea of me really loving Jemisin novels, or even reading them at all, at this point.

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