The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The second book in the Dreamblood duo continues on in a tradition of immersive Egyptian-like settings, although the culture is still uniquely Jemisin's: a city built on the idea of peace, magic users that harvest and gift dreams, a plague of dreams harming so many people, and a war in the desert.
There's a lot to love, and surprisingly, at least to me, was the strong continuation of the romance from the first, so much so that it practically dominates the entire tale. I might even go so far as to say it's a lot more important and interesting than the actual battle... but not quite as interesting as the dreamplague. That trumps everything. :)
I really enjoyed the romance even though it felt like it snuck up on me, and perhaps I enjoyed it for that precisely that reason. I was mostly being asked to focus on cultural differences, whether regarding the prejudices between two cultures with their magic, the sexual divergences, or the personal revelations, so when the romance finally took center stage, I was kinda wowed.
Unfortunately, some aspects of the novel, no matter how rich in world building or depth of characterizations, still let me down, but only slightly. I'll admit that I'm a much bigger fan of Jemisin's later works.
But still, I appreciate what is accomplished here. :)
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