There have been lots of fantasy books written about gods and goddesses; plenty about heroines and heroes; and some about a world of class differences and the haves and have-nots; but very, very few about all three together.
Welcome to The Inheritance Trilogy and a look at N. K. Jemisin in her debut series, where she combines all these elements in a fascinating world with diverse and interesting characters, as well as a thrilling plot.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
From the barbarian north, Yeine Darr is outcast and would like nothing more than to live an ordinary, normal, quiet life; but when her mother dies from mysterious circumstances, and she finds herself summoned by the Arameri patriarch (her grandfather) to the spectacular capital city of Sky, she knows normalcy is something she will never be able to have. Dakarta, her grandfather, has proclaimed her an heir to their throne, though she is pitted against two cousins who want the throne much more than she, and will stop at nothing to get it.
She doesn’t expect to survive the week.
But as Yeine gets to know the people of Sky in her run for the throne she discovers it is a place that is anything but ordinary.
The gods are now forced to live in the beautiful city, as servants, due to losing an ancient war. Yeine makes friends and allies, but also enemies in this political concoction, and will need to use her strengths as a woman as well as her status if she is to make it through. While the ending leaves the reader somewhat unsatisfied after the heavy buildup, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a great new voice in fantasy fiction that reveals a new and different world, with some fresh fascinating characters.
The Broken Kingdoms
Oree is blind, but has the ability to see magic and people with magic abilities, such as the gods and godlings. She spends her days creating original works of art with her special abilities in the city of Shadow beneath the towering World Tree. Oree gets by with the selling of her work and is able to navigate around the city with little problem. Then she discovers the corpse of a godling in an alley; after a cursory examination, she soon finds out that the godling has been murdered. She begins her investigation to find out who did it, while two groups begin pursuing her: one is a fanatical religious group looking for a scapegoat to blame for the murder; the other can only be the people behind the murder.
The Broken Kingdoms is a surprising second book to the trilogy, as it has little to do with most of the original characters of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and is set a decade later. Yet, perhaps it is this which makes The Broken Kingdoms that much more interesting and compelling, as it is another story in this distinctive world from a completely different viewpoint and storyline.
The book is a welcome sequel that reveals Jemisin’s talents as a writer both with strong characters and good plot, leaving readers anxiously awaiting the conclusion to the trilogy.
Kingdom of Gods
Readers became familiar with the childishly cute and trickster godling, Sieh, in The Broken Kingdoms.
In The Kingdom of Gods, readers get to experience and enjoy this wonderfully detailed and complex world from the viewpoint of this powerful being. Beginning with a playful introduction as Sieh behaves like the godling he is, playing with children’s minds, satisfying his own whim. There are two youngsters he fixates on: the beautiful Shahar, next in line to rule, and her twin brother Dekarta, who is young and powerful in his own right. Then a freak accident occurs as all three join hands and Sieh attempts to use his godling power.
When Sieh awakens, the godling is alive but weak.
Returning to Shahar and Dekarta, he discovers that much time has passed and they are now teenagers. Also the godling soon notices there is something very wrong with him: he is aging, growing older, like a human. The gods that conceived him are unable to stop this process and he must confront this new fate, as well as work with Shahar and Dekarta as they face the approaching evil, the Maelstrom, which will consume the entire world.
Originally published on Forces of Geek.