By: N.K. Jemisin
398 pages (Trade Paperback)
After being unexpectedly named heir to a powerful grandfather she never knew, Yeine is forced into a world of treacherous politics, selfish customs, and enslaved demi-gods.
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So complex and yet so easy to read, this book was amazing. I think a lot of it had to do with the first person perspective which kept the story moving. When you have a first person novel, there just isn’t room in the format to get lost in lengthy histories or descriptions, and that keeps everything nice and focused and immediate. However, the personality of the main character becomes extremely important. If you don’t like the character, you’ll hate the book. Fortunately, I liked Yeine a lot. She was strong, but not too strong. It’s easy to go too far either way, especially with female characters, but she walked that line perfectly. She reacted in a human way to her circumstances and was never too cool for the occasional, completely warranted, freak out.
I loved the whole gods thing. (I’m sure there was a more eloquent way to put that, but I couldn’t think of anything else.) It was a wonderful diversion from the usual sword and sorcery fantasy. Their complex history, their contradictory relationships, the raw power, all made for an extremely interesting story. They weren’t good or bad in traditional ways. The god of light was all about order at any cost. The god of darkness was described as “everything beautiful and terrible” and largely represented change rather than pure evil.
Of the gods and demi-gods, my absolute favorite character was Sieh, a trickster and a child, but far more than a child. The way he would switch from childish behavior to something older and wiser had a way of catching the main character off guard. It was easy to forget his true power. He reminded me of the childish characters that so often show up in manga and anime, like Honey senpai from Ouran Highschool Host Club, or Momiji Sohma from Fruits Basket. I always love those characters. Their cuteness and seeming vulnerability make me love them so easily, but they are far stronger than they appear.
I loved this book. It was fast reading, infinitely interesting, and filled with intriguing characters. N.K. Jemisin is definitely moving to the top of my favorite authors list. Until next time…