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The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez


The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Publish date Aug 30, 2022; 544 pages


First, a big thanks to #NetGalley and #RandomHouseBallantine for the free book #TheSpearCutsThroughWater - the opinions are my own.


First Sentence: Before you arrive,

you remember your lola, smoking. You remember the smell of her dried tobacco, like hay after a storm.


Main Characters: Keema and Jun, teenage warriors; the Emperor and his three sons, The Terrors; the Moon Goddess.


This is one of the most difficult reviews I've ever written - I don't quite know where to begin. I guess I'll begin with the basics of the plot.


THE PLOT

In the most simplistic terms, it's the epic story of five days in the life of two young men as they take an ancient god across the country to try to end the rule of the tyrannical royal family. Jun and Keema are the two teen warriors who start out as wary guys forced to travel together and gradually an unexpected friendship evolves. The characters are wonderfully drawn, and following the deepening relationship that develops between Keema and Jun is a pleasure.

As their journey to deliver the Moon god to the eastern ocean progresses, they encounter various characters and face trials and tribulations - each situation helping to strengthen the relationship between the teens as their trust of each other grows. There are battles and trickery and hiding and running away as they work their way through the dangerous territory owned by the various princes (Terrors). There is some graphic but not gratuitous violence.


COMPLEXITIES

The plot itself is not particularly complex. However, the storytelling is. It's complex, and beautiful, and thought provoking. Told in the manner of a myth or legend, or maybe folklore, the story is a story within a story and is explored from different points of view which takes some concentration. It's the first book I've read that is told in all three POV - first, second, and third person, which I found a little off-putting at first. If you do too, stick with it - read a few more pages. The switches are handled so deftly and are so intrinsic to the story, I can't imagine another way to tell it.


MY THOUGHTS

I have no words to describe the creative format of The Spear Cuts Through Water. As the blurb says, I've never read anything like it. And to be honest, it took me a bit to get into the flow and get past thinking "this is weird". Because after a few pages, weird became brilliant. To me it's a storytelling masterpiece.

However, I think this probably isn't a book for everyone. The POV changes, the story within a story technique makes this a book both a challenge and a book to relish and savor. It's not a particularly quick read, not because of the page count, but because of the depth of the story.

There are themes and plot devices and characters actions/reactions that would generate lots of book club discussion - if you have the kind of book club that appreciates a more complex story.


I've read back over this a few times and I don't feel like I've done the book justice. This may be one of those stories that is best enjoyed if you go into it with no expectations. I only knew the GR blurb, and that's probably enough. But, I hope I've given enough information to help you make an informed decision - and hopefully that decision will be to pick up this treasure of a novel.







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