Even in her weakest books, N. J. Jemisin creates the kind of detailed, sprawling, fully realized worlds that would make C. S. Lewis weep. At the end of The Shadowed Sun is a six page glossary of terms invented for this world she has brought to life, and the book has the worldbuilding to support it. Very few authors can create whole-cloth the way Jemisin can. I wish I could live in this woman’s imagination.
The Shadowed Sun in book two in the Dreamblood series, following The Killing Moon. Her worldbuilding is so dense it creates almost a barrier to entry (I’ll admit it took me two tries to get into Moon) but in a way it gives you berth if you’ve let time lapse between books. I recalled the general world of Dreamblood but not the precise events, which didn’t hold me back as much as I thought it would. Much like with the Inheritance Trilogy, Jemisin has let years go by in the plot between books so even characters you met in the first, you have the opportunity to be reintroduced to in the second. The Shadowed Sun can almost stand alone as a novel, though I think it benefits from being part of a series.
If this book falters, it’s because of the love story. You see it coming from a mile away and I found it pretty disappointing. The platonic relationships built in this book are so much stronger and I found myself so much more invested in them that when the romance sprung up, I honestly just kind of rolled my eyes.
Plot wise, the skeleton is standard and well fleshed out by the world it exists in. I love reading her books for the complexities she builds and this is no different. Extra star, just because of my love for the author.
Head’s up, there is more than a little sexual violence in this book. Some implied, some more direct. It’s tough.