The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I won a copy of this in Twitter, and was really glad I did! I had read Book 1 of the Inheritance Trilogy by the same author, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which is one of those books that wasn't bad, but just was clearly not my style. (Worth a read, though, and is up for a Nebula Award.)
The things I liked about The Inheritance Trilogy are even stronger in The Killing Moon, and I think we can start assuming these are just Jemisin's strengths - the world building is the best part. She has crafted a world based in desert culture (think Egypt, but on a different planet), with a magic system that combines elements of Egyptian medicine and Freudian dream theory. The weaving of the dreamworld into the story is great, and the conflicting cultural beliefs surrounding the concept of the Gatherers and Sharers made for a fascinating setting.
The things I liked less about The Inheritance Trilogy - the romance between the protagonist and the god(s) - are either lessened here or are just somehow better written. I mean, there is an element of romance (at least attraction, and not always hetero, thank goodness), but it isn't the focus. I'm not anti-romance, I just prefer it to be second to the story and the setting.
I'm looking forward to the next book, which I think comes out next month. If you're curious, the author has posted a few sample chapters on her website.