Cover Image: The Spear Cuts Through Water

The Spear Cuts Through Water

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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.
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Let’s talk about this book… It gets 3 stars it was mostly me.  I feel like I needed trigger warnings but to which triggers I ,don’t want to list because giving the story away.. 
It was beautifully done.  Almost like a song.  There are 3 stories inside.  All interesting 2 are about family one is about a theatrical event.  The 2 stories about the family I found sad, depressing and completely frustrated..  The line of the theatrical event was interesting it did coincide with one of the stories.  The way it was written you could have been there.  
There are events in the book that caused me great anxiety.  I really don’t want to feel so upset that I cant get over it.  I want to feel wow that was amazing.  I did not feel that,  I was mostly sad and upset about some of the storyline.  At some points it felt long winded and I just wanted it to be over.  
So if you like lyrically written books ,family dynasty, war this could be the book for you.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

On a craft level and a story level, The Spear Cuts Through Water is a book of all time for me. This is wonderfully written and delightfully experimental, weaving multiple threads together. The use of point of view was just so incredibly well done, as was the framing of the story. I really enjoyed seeing how every thread and layer was interconnected with one another, and the world building in this was so intricate that my internal monologue while reading was just saying “oh my god” in varying tones. The character work in this was also exquisite, and being given every scope imaginable was just? Perfectly done? I loved getting to hear anyone and everyone’s thoughts as the story progressed, from the Moon and Keema and Jun down to the most insignificant villager they meet along the way. This was so risky and ambitious and it came together so, so well.

I went into this not really knowing what to expect, but I whatever expectations I had were just utterly exceeded. The few things I did know about this book—an emperor, a god escaping captivity, a quest to bring down the empire, use of the second person—were things that are catnip for me to begin with, but the way that Jimenez fleshes out all of these bare bones ideas is stunning. This was weird and epic and lush and, in addition to being one of the most original and creative things I’ve ever read in my life, a deeply heartfelt love letter to storytelling and storytelling traditions. 

I do think that even though this novel contains a lot of classic epic fantasy tropes and ideas it will have a specific audience, as it does require a fair bit of patience and the willingness to simply not know what the hell is going on for a while. Still, the payoff is so worth it, especially because Jimenez has such command of his prose that every line is a banger, my god.
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This book will not be for everyone, but I think it is undoubtedly an excellent and truly unique piece of art. The focus here is on the prose and style of storytelling, so while I was very interested in the world, plot, and characters, they were in the backseat. That's not to say any of those aspects were weak, on the contrary, they were all very well done, but I personally couldn't get past the style to really enjoy reading any of them. 

This book is for you if you enjoy:
-Unconventional framing devices
-Beautiful and thoughtful prose
-Eccentric world-building
-Books that make you think

Overall, my enjoyment of this was not quite what I was expecting going in, but I really respect this as a piece of work and think it 100% accomplishes what it sets out to do. The Vanished Birds was one of my favorite reads of last year, and I will definitely be picking up anything else Simon Jimenez releases in the future. If it sounds at all interesting to you, I really urge you to try it, because I can almost guarantee it will be the most unique reading experience of your life.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm giving this a 3-star because, despite the fact that I very much didn't like it, I think a ton of people will and I'll understand why they feel that way. Allow me to explain.

The Spear Cuts Through Water has a VERY distinct writing style, told mostly in 2nd person with some sections in 1st or 3rd as ALMOST EVERY CHARACTER WE MEET gets some time to narrate. The structure of this is also unique, foregoing real chapters in favor of a few long sections broken into short vignettes. That's as good of a job as I can do describing it anyway. 

This books is very much focused on the writing, placing it on the same level as, if not prioritizing it over, the story. If you love lyrical, experimental, highly stylized prose, than you'll probably be cool with this, but I found it highly distracting.

TL;DR = I think people will either love this or not be able to handle the writing.
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I picked this up with absolutely no expectations other than some friends being abnormally excited it on Twitter, and damn were they right. This is, hands down, some of the most creative, evocatively written, and experimental SFF I have read in a really long time.

The Spear Cuts Through Water balances 2.1 storylines. The first storyline is directed as a fictitious unnamed reader, an attendance of the Inverted Theater where the main storyline is told. We don’t learn much about this reader, the world they live in has a war, they have many brothers and a deadbeat father, and their lola, their grandmother, would tell them stories about the Old World, including the one being told today. The second storyline is more the main story, where two companions Jun and Keema meet by chance to escort a god across the lands to take down the tyrannical Moon Throne. The 0.1 comes from the short little interjections from the supporting cast, giving the reader an outside perspective on events as they happen in the second storyline.

What’s so creative about this story is how it’s told. I’ve never seen a book so seamlessly blend 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person narration and use those stylistic choices to elevate the way the story of conveyed. The unnamed reader’s tale is told in 2nd person, with lines like ‘you remember your lola saying…’ or ‘you sit at the theater…’. 3rd person is the main narrative, with an epic fantasy-level storyline. The fun part is the 1st person, which are the little interjections throughout the 3rd person sections, marked in the paragraph in italics. It certainly took a while to get used to, but I think it’s such an incredibly cool feature. As the main story is told, we hear single from minor characters with minor roles, a cook, a guard, a dying soldier, about the current events. On paper, this really shouldn’t work but for some reason, it does.

I say the main narrative, our throne toppling narrative, has a epic-fantasy-esque vibe to it, yet this is one of the rare occasions in epic fantasy that I’d say the plot plays second fiddle to the characters themselves. As one of the characters says in the story, ‘this is a love story’. Every event that occurs, every big reveal, all fuels the absolutely incredible character work Jimenez puts into this story. Really, this is a story about the connections that Jun and Keema make together, from strangers to a partnership that transcends simple romance.

And while I saw that the first emphasis lies in the character work, I don’t want to downplay the beauty of the writing and the worldbuilding. Jimenez has this incredible mastery of prose that every line, every sentence had to be paused and witnessed. And through the writing, this mythos-like worldbuilding is born. The Spear Cuts Through Water is one of the few books that actively make me want to pick up the audiobook. The storytelling format is already very suitable for an oral narration and I really want to see how the narrator incorporates the experimental structure of the writing.

Overall, I rate this book a 4.5/5. This is very much not a turn your brain off and read book. Jimenez really forces the reader to work for their story, to understand how all the pieces come together, but it is so so so rewarding. An absolute masterpiece in prose and character work.
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I'm not exactly sure which aspect of this book wasn't for me. I think it could be the way the writing was woven together with the story and the prose and the poems. I just didn't get a good enough sense of the characters and the world, but I did like the blend of historical fiction and fantasy (that's one of my favorite sub-genres). Overall, this was okay: I liked the pacing, and the plot, but this specific combination just didn't click for me. I would love to take a dive into this author's backlist, or check out their next work, though!
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC.

In a land plagued by the long tyrannical rule of the Moon Throne, the emperor and his sons, the Three Terrors, wreak continual havoc. In a desperate attempt to find a way to end the Moon Throne forever, a god escapes from her captivity with the help of Jun and Keema, and their ensuing five day pilgrimage is wrought with danger and mystery.

There’s so much to say about this book that I can’t really figure out how to say any of it. I guess the first place to start is that this book is a long 544 pages. So much is crammed into each paragraph that you really do feel the length of each and every page while you read. That said, I do think the length of this book is well-earned. Jimenez is an astute storyteller, and does not waste your time with filler content. Every moment of this book is essential to the overall story, whether it feels that way or not.

I do wish I had taken notes, because a lot of the perceived slog of this book’s length is due to trying to figure out what, exactly, is going on. There are parts in second person, in first person, in third person. There is a performance on stage and a story being orally recounted to a grandchild and the actual plot of the adventure. There is dialogue denoted by quotation marks and dialogue and internal thoughts denoted by italics. It feels, for most of the book, that you are holding this messy, barely-containable mass of stuff that doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to see where it all connects and how the pieces play together and what it all means.

But the name of this game is certainly patience and attention, because holy cow, the last 20% of this book is so worth it. Almost like magic, the story transforms from this jumbled mess of disconnected bits into a breathtaking saga spanning generations. It is truly masterful.

And, at its core, this is a love story, and there is so much to love about that love story and the ways in which it is so much beyond a simple love story. 

To sum up, this is a long, somewhat laborious, but ultimately breathtakingly unique, beautiful piece of art. Jimenez really does weave magic on the page and I cannot wait to see what else he has up his sleeves.
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I was skeptical when I first started this book. It had a very unique writing style, with interjections showing the thoughts of various characters, both significant and insignificant. It had a frame story that was sometimes a little difficult to follow. It switched from 2nd to 3rd person frequently. It didn't seem to have "chapters" in the traditional sense. And I wasn't sure whether I liked it.

As I read, though, I found myself more and more drawn in by the story. The frame story bit wasn't the highlight for me, although someone with intergenerational trauma and a family who had recently been immigrants to a country like the US would probably relate and get more out of it than I. What I loved was the story that was being put on for us like a play, of two warriors seeking meaning, redemption, and absolution in a brutal world as they tried to help a goddess destroy the throne she helped create. The two main characters, Keema and Jun, had distinctive personalities and voices, and seeing them grow in themselves as their relationship with each other deepened was a delight. Although there was a lot going on that was very large scale in the realms of both mythology and politics, Keema and Jun's journey never failed to feel personal, relatable, and important. 

The Spear Cuts Through Water works on a number of levels. If you want it to be a story about heritage and how mythology and trauma is passed down through generations, it can be that. If you want to enjoy it purely as a brutal and vivid fantasy adventure, it can be that. If you want to revel in the world building, inventive and grotesque as it is, you can. If you want to relish in the tender complexity of the relationships between characters, you can do that too. If you want to use it to think about larger themes of family, power, corruption, religion, injustice, etc, that's all there too. While I agree with the book itself that it's ultimately a love story, it is so much more than that. 

I often fall into the trap of being vague in reviews because I don't want to reveal too much to the reader before they read it. I still don't want to do that, but I will try to pull out a few details that I found interesting to help tantalize prospective readers (I myself requested the book purely because of the cover and the title, knowing nothing of what it was about). The fantasy part of the story is set in the Old Country, where the moon fell from the sky and birthed a dynasty of magical and brutal emperors. These emperors use telepathically connected tortoises to communicate and maintain their control over their empire. A lot of people get beheaded, exploded, eaten, drowned, trampled, and otherwise killed in a number of brutal ways. Two men grow closer even as they struggle with their own demons; when they get too emotional and don't know how to handle it (or are scared of what acknowledging it would lead to), they wrestle. Everyone has excellent titles, like The Three Terrors or Araya the Drunk. There's all sorts of magic, and one sort is dancing. The threads of the frame story, which initially feels a little jarring, ultimately weave together with the threads of the fantasy story to form a rich tapestry that you feel even if you don't fully understand it. There are no people who are just "good" people; the world isn't forgiving enough for that, and yet some people continue to seek and give forgiveness. There are bits involving unintentional mind reading that are both funny and intensely sensual. You get to see the point of view of a bear! 

This is just scratching the surface of what The Spear Cuts Through Water includes, but I wanted to provide some of the things that if I had read them, would make me want to seek out this book, which ended up being the kind of book that I read over half of in a single day and almost a single sitting because I couldn't stand to wrench myself out of the world and the story.
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I am a totally new reader to Jimenez’s work.  I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this author, would I be disappointed, or would I be impressed?
To my amazement, Jimenez has done the remarkable construction of building a masterpiece. 
The story follows two warriors on a journey as they are tasked with guiding an ancient God across a deteriorating kingdom.  Ruled by the authoritarian, atrocious royals who command the powers of the God.  Jimenez introduces us to the mysterious person out of 3 in this mysterious, magical tale.
The story tells of Keema of the Daware tribe and Jun of the Red Peacocks, who have the quest to bring down the suns. 
Keema is an orphaned, one-armed warrior desperately seeking human connection. 
Jun is tormented by the memories of his past.  The voices of the dead, the horrors that he committed in the name of his father’s Army while he was a soldier.
Jimenez gives you sections, rather than chapters which makes the story exceptionally long.
However!  You will not even notice, since you will be so engrossed in the unfolding of this novel.  The novel is told over 5 days while the evil emperor Smiling Sun and his wretched sons, First, Second and Third Terrorize everyone. 
Keema and Jun have to deliver a special package from the west to the east, these chapters are one for each day. 
Jimenez is mind blowing with his ability to be so flexible with his language, which makes this his greatest asset.  Many authors cannot command an audience in the second or third POV.  However!  Jimenez does so with the ease of an expert magician.  His word building is incredibly powerful and feels effortless and smooth.  There is no flowery word dumping whatsoever in the book, nor any fluffy language just to add context.
Jimenez fantastical journey is amazing with his talking tortoises.  Then there are the Terrifying Terrors, each one so powerful. 
 All want power and the one thing that they cannot have.  What they cannot have is that they are each neglected but want more power.  Since they cannot have the attention, they a searching for, they will seek power instead.
However!  The 3rd Terror is seeking something the other 2 are not.  He is seeking love, but love is just as deadly, if not even more dangerous.  Which makes him the most terrifying.
Jimenez has outdone himself on this novel.
The book was emotionally touching, a roller coaster of emotions that will leave your heart in pieces. 
Not a dry eye throughout the entire end of the novel.
Loved this novel and would thoroughly recommend this book to any and everyone.  If you are looking for an amazing read, this is for you.
Jimenez is a “WORDSMITH” at his craft!
Kudos to this superior author for this REMARKABLE BOOK!!!

Thank you to NetGalley, Simon Jimenez, and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine.  Del Rey for this free eARC.  My review is of my own volition.
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I wanted to love this book. I really enjoyed Simon Jimenez's Vanished Birds so I hoped I would also love this one. The frustrating thing is that I can't pin down exactly what it is that didn't work for me. I enjoyed how the story switches between points of view and I loved the idea of the inverted theater and those watching being part of things. However, I never connected to the characters and what they were going through as much as I would have liked. I'll be anticipating Simon Jimenez's next book and while this one didn't work for me, it definitely could for you.
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This book was a trip!  I love how it weaved poems and prose with story. It was the perfect blend of everything and I could not put it down.  I think those who love a blend of story as well as fantasy and historical fiction and more will enjoy this one.  This was a wonderful weave of a world that I will not soon forget.
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5/5 stars.  10/5.  An entire expanse of stars raining down from the heavens.

Gorgeous.  Absolutely gorgeous.  Entirely unpredictable, refreshingly original, poetic, heart wrenching, magical…  This book had me in a chokehold.  

Its characters were compelling, its mythology captivating.  Its plot was simple, but the execution was the most incredible, fantastical romp I’ve had in a long, long time.  Its action beats weren’t just engaging, they were bombastic, which says something for me since I tend to lose interest in drawn out battles or fight scenes.  There was never a point in this book where I was bored; there were only moments of rest where I felt like I could put it down and try to catch my breath.

I will say that the writing style might not be for everyone.  Time and space are very fluid in this book, but I think the narrative structure does a lot to keep this from being confusing at all.  Still, some might not like the regular transitions between second and third person narration.  Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy of this book so I can see the way blocks of paragraphs were broken up by bold italicized text, like a drum beat calling your attention to focus on a new scene, or a specific person, or a moment of tension.  The setting of this story begins with a play in a theater outside of time and space, and the flow of the story really puts you into a seat in that audience.

Another thing to be aware of is that this book does not shy away from gore or vivid descriptions of violence.  It was a bit more than what I like, but there were large stretches of story where it wasn’t an issue, so ultimately it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book.  Still, if you’re a little squeamish, just be aware.  Lots of people die in pretty horrific ways.

Anyway, fantastic.  Glorious.  I’m running out of adjectives that even come close to summing up this book, so I’ll just leave it at that.  This will absolutely be in my top five reads for this year.  Again, I cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy.
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This is a love story to its blade-dented bone.”

I have never read anything quite like this book. I tend to find second person narration distracting, but it was effective here. I love the creative storytelling and will definitely give this a reread. 

I would call it a story within a story, but that doesn’t capture its expansiveness and also connectedness. 

The “you” in this book grew up with stories of the Old Country told by your lola. One of the first stories you remember is of the Inverted Theater: a place mortals could be invited, through dreams and luck, to visit and watch a performance. Ugh, I know that sounds boring, but it isn’t—I don’t know how to describe this effectively. Epic. Surprising. Violent. Delightful. 

This was my first book by Jimenez, and I’ll definitely be reading his other, <I>The Vanished Birds. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey!</i>
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this immersive tale is told in a reflection of a theater in a spirit land, where a moonlit body sets the scene and performs for you a story of the last of the moon throne, how one eats and swallows the essence of a god, terror triplets with ungodly powers, and a spear that tells of a dance on its wooden body. this is an epic fantasy but

"This is a love story to its blade-dented bone."

i went into this without knowing anything it might contain (not even reading the synopsis), but with a masterful storyteller like simon jimenez, what else could i want but trust myself completely to his lyrical, seamless writing this one has the privilege to experience? as mentioned by other early readers, this tale told is not for everyone — meaning, it breaks the conventional hold of reliable chapters, of steady perspectives, of linear storytelling. it is challenging. it is unhinged brilliance. i can easily imagine readers getting red-hot frustrated and dizzily confused at jimenez's juggle of i, you, and the third person perspectives, of his fluid narrative writing that shifts from one setting to a backstory to a different perspective all at once. it's always a story in constant motion. so, do not do this book a disrespect by expecting simple entertainment. that type of energy is not allowed here, is not permitted entry. you devote hard to read this story — you open up your mind and heart, you focus — and in return, this tale smiles and cries for you, it offers you an experience that you will never experience again.

simon jimenez demonstrates the true essence of storytelling in his writing. i am in awe, always. it is a breath of fresh air, a dance made on the spot. his words capture my heart so effortlessly, in just a few sentences. you get to hear what everybody is experiencing, a range spanning from our main characters to a passing traveler that we do not see. the way he can get me to care about characters is lovely and terrible because plot armor does not exist here (we laugh in plot armor's face) yet i cannot help but care about their wellbeing, their hopes and dreams and fears. and the yearning!! truly, i could not predict any plot twists that ripped open the top of my skull. there was no frantic plot guessing, just frantic reactions as i was seated alongside the audience, just watching the performance play out, fervently hoping the warriors see tomorrow.

this tale told was glorious. gory. exhilarating. horrible. hateful. hysterical. dreadful. (check the trigger warnings). i thought, "there's no way this is a love story," yet i found bottomless love in enemies, in strangers, in nature, in family, in lovers. this is the greatest book i have ever read, if not the greatest. nothing will ever top this book, except, perhaps, another simon jimenez piece. sir, you deserve a standing ovation. i am applauding not only the sheer excellence of your performance but the love of storytelling evident in every word. and finally here i am, excited to see what you come with next and bowing to you in thanks.

thank you to netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Wow. I have no words. This is one of my best reads this year. Simon Jimenez delivered a stunning piece of literature, at least as good as The Vanished Birds, which is one of my favorite books of all times. It has beautiful prose, extraordinary storytelling, a grounbreaking plot, It's unlike anything I've read before and I just love it so much.

Given my love for the author and his works, my expectations were already really high, but this book still managed to meet and exceed them. The narrative structure is fascinating to me and executed in the most perfect way. Simon Jimenez was already a master of unconventional storytelling, but he really outdid himself with this book.  I can't stop thinking about it.

The premise of the book is so good, all the different plotlines are so interesting, the lore and characters are amazing, the themes are tackled beautifully. This is just brilliant. I have no other words. The reader feels like they're part of the story, and it's really the most amazing experience I've had with a book in a long time. I'm obsessed with it and I regret reading it so fast and not taking my time to enjoy it slowly. This is a masterpiece.

I don't want to say too much about the story and ruin the experience for other readers, but obviously, I adored the book and I strongly recommend reading it. This book is not for everyone, and you will require patience and an open mind, but if you enjoyed The Vanished Birds and if you love Simon Jimenez's kind of storytelling, then go for it, I promise you won't regret it.
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I requested a NetGalley ARC for this book because Vanished Birds was one of my favorite books of its year. Simon Jimenez has a great style, and that book covered a huge emotional range.

Well, I can't say I liked this quite as well as Vanished Birds, but it was still a good book. It's *weird,* though, told in a very unconventional way. It starts with a framing tale, in the second person, contains some stories by "your" grandmother, and then there's a dream sequence, and within the dream there's a theater, and a play is being put on, and THAT is the actual story. Because you hear the story as a play in a dream theater, you get snippets of everyone's thoughts.

It has a folkloric feel: these are the stories of the old country, where you come from, the story of how the moon came down from the sky. Strange things constantly happen: tortoises telepathically communicate with other tortoises, apes talk, severed heads remain alive, people eat each other and gain their powers. There are gruesome tortures and deaths, and we get the impression of a bleak world under control of an evil emperor and his sons.

The main characters, Jun and Keema, are two young men accompanying each other on separate quests. They fight with each other all the time for no clear reason, but there's also a homoerotic tinge to their interactions which is mainly subtext through most of the book.

I'm always looking for books that aren't like other books, something done in a new way, something that doesn't fit into existing genre expectations. And this is one of those books. In some ways, it goes a little too far off the beaten track, and got a little hard to read. But, although it took me some time and focus, I'm glad I pushed through it.
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I am very new to the writing of Simon Jimenez but once I read the description for this book, I was immediately intrigued. At first glance, The Spear that Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez seems to be a tale of an epic quest. Two strangers and a powerful being go on a journey to the eastern side of the country to fight against a nation that was ruled by the evil emperor, Smiling Sun, and his triplet sons, the terrors. To minimize the story in this way is a big, big mistake. 
The novel operates on two levels: a “you” level which draws you into the underlying story by introducing the reader to a person whose family tells him stories. You hear about this person’s lola, father and older brother throughout the story. The second story is a mythological one dealing with the “Moons” who fell from the sky years ago. After being trapped for a long time, the Moon set on quest to undo the damage that its progeny⸺the three terrors⸺as caused throughout the land. In her company are two young men:  Jun, the son of one of the three terrors with a red peacock tattooed on his face (A symbol of a fearsome warrior) and Keema of the Daware tribe who happens to join along on this journey after making a promise to someone. All occurring in what “you’s” lola refers to as the inverted theater.
The ways in which Jimenez has constructed this story is unbelievable. The two stories have a meeting point and once you get there, you wonder how many years it took him to construct such a masterpiece. Most of the magic of the story can be found in the ways in which Jimenez uses writing to convey so much. Specifically, within the text, there are several moments where interjections are placed in the form of italics. The use of italics to get more knowledge into the interior mind is a brilliant signal to the reader and also gives clearer insight. Oftentimes these interjections add a layer of humor to the sometimes heavy events. Some of the lines that are thoroughly enjoyed are the following:
Fathers leave in all sorts of ways. Some of them leave in the dark. Some leave only in their heads while their bodies remain, staring at the world around them forever distantly. Others fade out over time, like an old photo rubbed raw. 
They stopped throwing food and started throwing harder objects. The Archers cursed. I got hit with a fucking ladle.
 The people on the cliff watched in stunned awe as the wave unzipped itself.

Only just a sample, these lines have a beautiful melody to them and in context, they are even better in how they describe actions occurring scene by scene. It is important here to warn that the novel does contain some gore as these terrors are known for their tyrannical rule. However, I often found myself distracted by the use of words rather than the scene before me. The magic of this world seems to be as natural as the air we breathe and the animals add to the mysticism of it all. If you are looking for a book with fantasy, gay romance, an observation of a family and complex characters, I would highly recommend this book to you.
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a master in class in storytelling and creativity and indulgence. no one compares.

jimenez takes unconventional approaches with the grace and elegance i expected from him (and above) ever since i read the vanished birds. he knows how to make me love and ponder over each sentence. he knows how to make me stall in awe due to the beauty of his writing. this, in fact, is the type of book that inspires me to work on my own manuscript. not only was i truly immersed, but i didn't want to leave this world. jiminez is insane.
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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was probably the most unique I’ve read - I don’t just mean this year, I mean in my lifetime. The story itself was interesting enough, but the way it was written was completely new to me. It was told from several perspectives but also, in a way, had only 1 narrator - it’s told as “you” are watching a play in the Inverted Theatre and having flashbacks to the stories your grandmother used to tell you. Admittedly, it took me a while to catch on to the writing style and fully follow along. 

The story itself was fascinating - the characters were well fleshed out and rarely did I ever accurately guess what was coming next. Though there were parts I felt were unnecessarily vague or complex, I did enjoy Keema and Jin’s story overall. 

I tentatively recommend this book, but acknowledge it is not for everyone. The writing is difficult to follow at times which, while entertaining and brave in its own right, took me out of the story at times as I struggled to switch perspectives and time periods. 

Not a book I would read again, but one I am glad to have experienced.
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