Read in July 2015
3.5 out of 5 stars
The world building in this story was intricate and cleverly imagined. The characters were fun and inventive. But for ¾ of the book I was highly disappointed in the plot line. It seemed to me to be your usual fantasy trend of a power hungry villain starting a war between nations and after all the world building and character crafting, it just felt limp compared to the rest of the tale.
However, the last 100 pages blew me away. It brought pin pricks to my eyes forcing them to tear just a little against my will. The after effect of finishing the book left me with some interesting revelations, that I can only explain after telling you a little more about this tale.
Ehiru and Nijiri are what are called Gatherers. A revered sect of followers who bring peace and death to the sick and dying or people who’s soul has been deemed corrupt. In their city, Gujaareh, peace is law. To disrupt that peace is to be gathered, having your soul released to the dream goddess of which they worship. Death is not something to be feared. It is only eternal peace with Hananja (the goddess).
The Prince who rules the city is the avatar of Hananja. He brings her peace to the land of the living. When he dies, he becomes her King in the dream world.
So what is one to do when the Prince wants to bring war to his people?
Preventing war and attempting to Gather a Prince’s soul is no easy task. Especially for Ehiru, who is ready to forever fade into the dream world and find everlasting peace.
Instead, he rides to war with Nijiri by his side. The only person that can keep him from going mad from the lack of dreamblood. (Dreamblood is what the Gatherer takes when releasing a soul.) They must ride into a foreign land where Gatherers are feared and the people tell their children horror stories of these “killers”.
I have a restless soul by nature. Most of the time, I don’t notice just how restless until an author comes along and through their characters calms that restlessness. The ¾ of the book that I did not enjoy, I now realize was my resistance to being enchanted. The last ¼ I was enraptured with tears stinging my eyes. My restless soul had been tamed for a short while and with that came a certain peace and understanding of just how fantastic of characters Ehiru and Nijiri were. Throughout all conflicts, they remained with an inner peace that was infectious.
Jemisin is a crafter of a great calibur.