Simon Jimenez: The Spear Cuts Through Water (Hardcover, 2022, Random House) 4 stars

The people suffer under the centuries-long rule of the Moon Throne. The royal family—the despotic …

Review of 'Spear Cuts Through Water' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

"Blame is an endless circle."

I waited fervently for this ARC to be available, because I loved The Vanished Birds so damn much I couldn't stop talking about it to all my book friends. When I started reading this book, though, it struck me immediately how different it felt from my first love. I believe in honesty, and will say that I almost bounced off this one from the beginning because of how different it is. I've never been a very literary reader despite reading literary fiction, so when confronted with a clearly very literary book I immediately get discouraged and think most of it will go over my head and I'll never understand what's going on. I stuck with it, though, because it's an ARC and I felt obligated to finish what I start, and noticed that after I let the book begin and got used to the different way it tells its story, I was completely sucked in. It's a bit of a dense book, but if you just give it space to tell its story (and the beginning was a bit slow), it's not a hard read. I loved this book.

I'm going to be brief with the summary because it's a hard book to summarize. A country is led by a tyrannical family, and a quest to rescue a dying god out from under these rulers brings two warriors together to bring an end to their rule. There's lots of magical twists and turns along the way, but your lola wasn't kidding when she said that this was a love story at its core.

The story's told using basically all points of view at one point or another. As the story with the main characters is being told, you're also being given little snippets of what people around the main characters are thinking at the same time in a weirdly non-disruptive way. It's also told as if you're in a theater watching the story unfold as a play at times too, the Inverted Theater your lola told you stories about. It can be disorienting in the beginning, but it really grew on me. Things get incredibly wild towards the end, so if you're looking for a straight fantasy tale, this probably won't be for you. It's fantasy, but surreal fantasy. It's also an incredibly dark story, so if gore bothers you, maybe pass on this.

I never thought literary fantasy would be a thing I'd enjoy so much, but here we are. This was a gorgeous, compelling read that I highly recommend.