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The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

09/05/2024
The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

Simon Jiminez’s standalone fantasy novel The Spear Cuts Through Water defies categorisation. It is definitely a fantasy novel – there are gods, and mythical tales and dreams and battles. The story is epic but it is not epic fantasy, it is by its own admission a love story but an extremely slow burn one, and it has the feel of a folk tale but one that impinges on the present and has an almost eternal feel to it.

The Spear Cuts Through Water opens with the first narrator’s jola (grandmother?) telling him the story of the dream theatre. Soon he is there, taking his seat to watch a performance of the ancient tale that his jola has told him and that he transmits on to his brothers, a tale that involves the spear that hangs on their wall. This tale, set in a country across the sea, involves the fall of an Emperor and his three powerful sons, of the journey of the fallen moon goddess with two characters upon whom the fate of the world falls.

The narrative swirls around the story, the performance of the story in the theatre and the narrator’s memories of telling the story to his brothers. Often blocks of text will be interrupted by the thoughts of minor characters or bystanders or the main characters themselves giving the narrative a depth and richness beyond the central pair. And the text itself is divided by headings which sometime form part of the tale, sometimes introduce a particular section or indicate a change of scene. The story itself is action packed, violent, and often bloody full of cliffhangers and slowly unfolding mysteries.

The Spear Cuts Through Water has been shortlisted for a number of awards and won the Robert Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel at the 2023 British Fantasy Awards. The Spear Cuts Through Water draws its inspirations for folk tales and the way those tales are transmitted through time. But it is also thoroughly modern and sets itself apart through its narrative style, a unique cosmology and a mind-bending lead-in to its final act. In doing so Jimenez draws readers in and envelopes them in the world that he has created. But this is also, at its heart and by its own admission, a love story ‘down to it’s blade-dented bone’ and an effective one at that.

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The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

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8.5

8.5/10

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The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

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