• Moon Witch, Spider King

  • The Dark Star Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: Marlon James
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 30 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (169 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“Masterfully flips the first installment on its head... James makes the mythic tantalizingly real.’” - Esquire

"Even more brilliant than the first.” - Buzzfeed

An Instant New York Times Bestseller

From Marlon James, author of the bestselling National Book Award finalist Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the second book in the Dark Star trilogy.

In Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Sogolon the Moon Witch proved a worthy adversary to Tracker as they clashed across a mythical African landscape in search of a mysterious boy who disappeared. In Moon Witch, Spider King, Sogolon takes center stage and gives her own account of what happened to the boy, and how she plotted and fought, triumphed and failed as she looked for him. It’s also the story of a century-long feud - seen through the eyes of a 177-year-old witch - that Sogolon had with the Aesi, chancellor to the king. It is said that Aesi works so closely with the king that together they are like the eight limbs of one spider. Aesi’s power is considerable - and deadly. It takes brains and courage to challenge him, which Sogolon does for reasons of her own.

Both a brilliant narrative device - seeing the story told in Black Leopard, Red Wolf from the perspective of an adversary and a woman - as well as a fascinating battle between different versions of empire, Moon Witch, Spider King delves into Sogolon’s world as she fights to tell her own story. Part adventure tale, part chronicle of an indomitable woman who bows to no man, it is a fascinating novel that explores power, personality, and the places where they overlap.

©2022 Marlon James (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“This second volume in a projected trilogy set in a boldly imagined, opulently apportioned ancient Africa shows that the Booker Prize-winning novelist is building something deeper and more profoundly innovative within the swords-and-sorcery genre...witty, richly textured, and musically captivating.... There’s barely enough space to talk about James’ many inventions.... So much is densely packed into this narrative that it sometimes threatens to leave the reader gasping for breath, especially at the start. But...James’ tale picks up speed with beautifully orchestrated (and ferociously violent) set pieces and language both vivid and poetic. The second part of this trilogy is darker and, in many ways, more moving than its predecessor.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred)

“Brilliant.... If book one centers on the nature of storytelling, this volume turns its focus to memory, archiving, and history as Sogolon works to correct the record. The two stories run parallel to and contradict each other, and James mines the distance between them to raise powerful questions about whether truth is possible when the power of storytelling is available only to a few. This is a tour de force.” (Publishers Weekly, starred) 

“If Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a penciled comic panel, Moon Witch, Spider King is the version rendered by James the inker: the geography, myth, magic, and people of this epic setting are revisited to add shading and detail in a recursive procedure that results in a vibrant tapestry begging for infinite return trips.” (Booklist, starred)  

What listeners say about Moon Witch, Spider King

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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

mildly disappointing

I loved the first book. this book gives you nobody to like or cheer for. it is also full of people needlessly fighting and arguing just to take up space in the book. I hope the final book brings back the excitement of the first book.

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Among the best fantasy books of the year.

The story is romp through the magic of the age in which it is set.
The narration really sets off and brings to life the mysteries of African cultures from the MC's childhood to becoming a woman of power into her 150 plus years age.
A must read it you liked "Red Wolf Black. Leopard."

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review

very boring and struggling with the storyline on both books. narrative was only thing good.

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From the first...

...to the last line, excellent! The weaving of the dirst book into this next installment had me all the way through.

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A uninteresting retelling of the first book

The story had a very epic poem quality, similar to the first. And like the first, it's easy to dislike many of the characters, especially the main character Sogolon. She is not the epic hero I was hoping for, but was still an intriguing character. Some important elements of the story just fell completely flat for me. The sudden haunting of Sogolon by characters she had previously killed is an example. The story is a retelling of the first book through the eyes of a different character, In addition to some recycling of the main storyline from the first book, it seems to repeat itself to the point that I started losing interest and just wanted it to be over. It could have been about half as long and been just as epic; just less boring.

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not as good as the first

Sogolon starts as an interesting character but there is little development in her personality across this incredibly long and sometimes repetitive book. The reader of Black Leopard Red Wolf was a magician bringing every character to light and imparting more meaning than the written words conveyed. perhaps the writing on this is just less precise, but the new narrator doesn't deliver the same dramatic result as the first book.

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Very satisfying sequel

Anybody who read black leopard red wolf will be captivated by this story, which captures the perspective of Sogilon the moon witch. I got a little bit of ear fatigue while listening to black leopard red wolf due to the constant intensity and brutality of the narration and the story itself, but, while this story is just as brutal and heartbreaking and dark, I feel like the author really hit his stride with finding a balance of warmth, despair, violence, love, and humor. We get so much context for the trackers story from book one, and also a lot of fascinating interplay between the unreliable narrator of that book and the unreliable narrator of this book. I feel like these books are so well built for an audiobook and the narrator did a tremendous job with a very complicated story, that moves through errors, many different characters, and I had a blast listening to it. I will say that this is a. Very violent book with a lot of rape, so if you don’t want to deal with that, you may want to look elsewhere. But my perception was that the author carried off the expression of these traumatic events in a pretty dignified yet factual way that didn’t feel exploitative or a cheap, but also I am a heterosexual dude so I don’t know if my opinion on the subject is very important. Great book

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🤯🥳🤠😱😢🤬☠️🥳

Narration: beautiful, engrossing, griot sung
Story: repeat of narrativon plus filled with imagery that helped me see, hear, taste, feel and smell my voyeuristic leap through trees, adventure through air, fight, make love and hope.
All Hail the imperfect, avenger of balance...MOON WITCH. May we all aspire.
From Marlon James, I have come to expect NOTHING less.

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Great story. Perfect narrator.

A worthy sequel. The narrator is in my top 3 on audible. I can’t wait for book 3.

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Narrator does an awesome job

if you have read or listened to the first book, then you know his style. Loved this and the different perspective.