I went back and forth between being interested and not being interested in this book, just as I had been with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. The only reason I even read The Killing Moon was because it was one of the items in the Quarterly box from Book Riot. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have ever thought to read it, and I certainly wouldn’t have bought it.
Though this is only the second book of Jemisin’s that I’ve read, and more than likely the last, I’m going to take a guess that all of her books involve the same formula: a moralistic Fantasy involving race and class issues and the mythology/culture from a non-typical (i.e. medieval European) Fantasy setting, a strong female character who finds herself in a role or situation she either doesn’t like or doesn’t think she can handle, and who is at odds with an even stronger male character while both are struggling against a truly evil character who is planning to gain absolute power. None of the characters have any real depth or ever surprise me by doing or saying something that makes me think perhaps they’re more than two dimensional. By the end, good conquers evil and the two protagonists have a better understanding of each other. In other words, Jemisin writes Disney stories. All that’s missing is the song and dance with some comedic moments thrown in to keep it lighthearted.
While there’s nothing wrong with using a formula (some of the best books I’ve ever read are formulaic, and without formulas we wouldn’t have popular genres like Romance or Fantasy/Sci-Fi), it can get a bit tedious and cause me to lose interest. There’s a reason I only read one book a year from some of my favorite series, and those series offer something else that keeps me reading and allows me to overlook the formula, or, in some rare cases, not even notice it until I’ve finished the book. Unfortunately, Jemisin doesn’t offer that “something else”.
With all of that being said, I didn’t hate this book. It took me quite a bit longer than it should have for me to finish it, due to all of the above, but I still liked it enough to continue reading after the first fifty pages, and then enough to continue to the end. Most Disney stories aren’t horrible, even if they are full of cliches, and in most cases, they’re great for a Summer read because they don’t require much thought. The Killing Moon‘s setting alone made it good for reading during the Summer, and the addition of the race, class and other social issues made it just thoughtful enough to keep it from feeling like a guilty pleasure or just pure brain candy.