Moon Witch Spider King

By Marlon James

This is the sequel to Black Leopard Red Wolf, and whereas that book was told from the perspective of the titular Red Wolf, this one is narrated by its titular Moon Witch. Though each book has the same narrative framing and roughly the same story climax, I strongly preferred the first book to this sequel. Our Moon Witch spends much more of her time letting things happen to her (and complaining about those happenings in her internal dialogue) than she does going about doing things. Where the first book presented a violent and misogynistic world for you, the reader, to understand and to critique, this book presents the same world and proceeds to comment about it nearly constantly, assuring you again and again that our protagonist believes that the world is violent and misogynistic and overall not worth living in or fighting for, though she continues to do both anyways. Where the Red Wolf was an action hero bent on finding and fulfilling his desires, leaving you to decide whether or not his desires are good, Moon Witch is an often-passive character who reminded me consistently of a Jane Austen protagonist, so lost in her own musings about the world that she manages to tell you the story without actually causing many of the story beats.

I hope that the third book of the trilogy is told from the perspective of the Spider King. His goals are the ones that seem most shrouded now in mystery.