Just wow. I think I will struggle with this review (in a good way). The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez is such an epic journey across time, space, dreams, reality, you name it. Continue reading to see what I hope is a somewhat cohesive take on this new release.
The people suffer under the centuries-long rule of the Moon Throne. The royal family—the despotic emperor and his monstrous sons, the Three Terrors—hold the countryside in their choking grip. They bleed the land and oppress the citizens with the frightful powers they inherited from the god locked under their palace.
But that god cannot be contained forever.
With the aid of Jun, a guard broken by his guilt-stricken past, and Keema, an outcast fighting for his future, the god escapes from her royal captivity and flees from her own children, the triplet Terrors who would drag her back to her unholy prison. And so it is that she embarks with her young companions on a five-day pilgrimage in search of freedom—and a way to end the Moon Throne forever. The journey ahead will be more dangerous than any of them could have imagined.
Both a sweeping adventure story and an intimate exploration of identity, legacy, and belonging, The Spear Cuts Through Water is an ambitious and profound saga that will transport and transform you—and is like nothing you’ve ever read before.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Points of View
The Spear Cuts Through Water will certainly take you for a ride. I listened to my phone tell me the story. Keep in mind, it wasn’t an audiobook, but really the talk-back feature on my phone. This may have made it more difficult for me, but perhaps reading versus listening would have made it easier to follow at times. The reason for my difficulty is that not only are there several viewpoints you shift between, but you also shift through them so fluidly. Jimenez also gives us the viewpoints of even the most minor characters. I’m talking about people on the street that don’t even get names. As a reader, you bounce back and forth between so many narrators in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person POVs.
While this may seem like I’m setting this up as a negative, it most certainly is a positive. It did take some time to get used to, but thank goodness the book was long enough that was easily done. Jimenez did such an amazing job of sliding through the consciousnesses of all of these narratives. This helped to create such a multidimensional view of the story.
Just like the points of view, the plot moved from place to place, time period to time period, and reality to another reality. This is not in a sci-fi kind of way, but an interesting Sandman kind of way. We mostly shift between two main places: the inverted theater and a fantastical land of some reality’s past. The overall narrative is set within the inverted theater where the events of Jun and Keema are being played out. At the same time, Jun and Keema are experiencing these events as real life, not a play on a stage. This was such an interesting mechanism that Jimenez played with.
Beyond this, the plot is fairly cut and dry. You have the protagonists on a journey to save their land from the current oppressive rulers. In addition, there are themes of identity, familial love, romantic love, duty, and self-acceptance. While again, fairly standard, theses were well done and explored by Jimenez. The magic and mythologies created in The Spear Cuts Through Water were interesting and inventive.
Keep in mind, that this was a long and dense book. There was a lot going on with POVs, but a lot of other moving parts as well. With that, it may not be a book for everyone. If you are more open-minded in your reading, I think you will be truly rewarded by The Spear Cuts Through Water.
While the synopsis only captures a small degree of what this book is about, “[it] is like nothing you’ve ever read before” could not have been more true. I am often skeptical of the term “saga” being thrown around to describe books, but this is a saga if I have ever read one. The plot is inventive in ways, but also fairly straightforward. The narrative devices are the true crowning glory of this story. Jimenez has flipped the script on many literary conventions to create this truly intriguing book. I hope that I did The Spear Cuts Through Water justice (but I fear that I did not).