The Kingdom of Gods by N. K. Jemisin
The Kingdom of Gods (The Inheritance Trilogy)
The best trilogies are the ones that leave you sad at their end—sad because you don’t want them to end. It’s like waking up from a lovely dream to find that it’s Monday and time for work. I felt that way coming to the end of Jemisin’sThe Kingdom of Gods. Yet again, the author has given readers a memorable and engrossing read.
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“For two thousand years the Arameri family has ruled the world by enslaving the very gods that created mortalkind. Now the gods are free, and the Arameri’s ruthless grip is slipping. Yet they are all that stands between peace and world-spanning, unending war.
Shahar, last scion of the family, must choose her loyalties. She yearns to trust Sieh, the godling she loves. Yet her duty as Arameri heir is to uphold the family’s interests, even if that means using and destroying everyone she cares for.
As long-suppressed rage and terrible new magics consume the world, the Maelstrom — which even gods fear — is summoned forth. Shahar and Sieh: mortal and god, lovers and enemies. Can they stand together against the chaos that threatens?”
I’m sure that many readers agree with me that this trilogy’s most engrossing character is Sieh, the childlike god who was enslaved to the ruling family for centuries. Much of this novel revolves around him and his experiences of the world. In this book, he goes from child to adult due to some unusual circumstances, and I found it fascinating to watch his reactions to this situation. His nature butts heads with his physical reality in a way that the author handles with a forthright sincerity.
I was just as interested in Shahar, the novel’s other major character. She also has some complex emotions to work through, because she grows up harboring a grudge against Sieh, even as she loves him deeply. She provides some grounding that plays opposite to Sieh’s whimsical ways.
One thing that I admire about Jemisin’s novels is how she can write what amounts to the fantasy version of a political thriller and not make it bland or boring. There are twists and turns aplenty, but none of them feel forced or contrived. This is a world very much on the edge, teetering over a brink of enormous change and possibly cataclysmic upheaval. Readers get the excitement of watching as that balance tips back and forth—which way will things fall?—throughout the entire book.
I’ve had a hard time reviewing these books, because there is so much that goes in within the pages that it would be entirely too easy to give the plot away. By the same token, some of the more in-depth things that I’d like to say depend upon an understanding of the plot, which I don’t want to spoil. I think I should just end by pointing out that this author has been nominated for multiple awards, and that doesn’t happen unless a whole lot of people read your stuff and say “Wow!” Count me as one of that number, and work your way up to The Kingdom of Gods. Jemisin has written one of the most engrossing fantasy epics on the market.
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on June 19, 2012.