Review: The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin

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4 out of 5 Godly Stars

This is the 3rd book in the Inheritance Trilogy – remember that on my “Reviews” Page, the series are grouped under the name of the series – so if you want to see my review of the first two,  just look under Inheritance to find it.

Beginnings. They are not always what they seem.

That’s an interesting line to find on the first page of the final book in a trilogy. And same as the 2nd book, we have a new main POV. This is told from Sieh’s point of view – the Trickster god, or the god of childhood, depending on how you see it. He is the oldest of all the godlings, or children of the gods.  Which is ironic, as he has the body of a child. The god’s war, the one that caused a whole of fruckus, was because two of the The Three (or the main, real, full gods) deserted the other one. It kinda happens again, and it’s Sieh who goes off to cause mischief this time. This story feels like it’s about growing up. I think childhood is inherently lonely, and Sieh has often been lonely. He is so close to the gods, but he isn’t one of them. He’s their first child. And his loneliness drives him back to Sky (the palace). It doesn’t go well.

This is a long book, and we meet a lotta lotta new characters. The first two are Shahar and Dekarta (named after Arameri ancestors of note so don’t be confused – this is not the wife of Itempas or the grandfather of Yeine). They are twin Arameri children, and Sieh is tempted to fuck with them. But they end up making friends. In case you don’t remember, the Arameri are the rulers of this world, and have been for millenia. But this little thing, this almost chance meeting, changes everything.

Shahar is the chosen heir, and to be an Arameri requires a certain ruthlessness. She is intent on being a good person and an Arameri. But how can she be, when she must rule the world, keep off those who would undermine their authority, and survive her mother’s upbringing? And without her brother. Dekarta is smart and sweet and has the ability to be a Scrivener. He’s exiled to the Litaria, where the Scrivener’s train and  turns out, he’s a humdinger. He’s pushing the limits of magic, and basically trying to survive his family. There are those who wanted him killed after what happened when he and Shahar were children. The complicated, dense relationships in this book are off the charts. It’s almost harder to review,  because I don’t want to give them away – but the Arameri pit everyone against everything. The twins love each other, but that love is tested, pushed, pulled, twisted – it’s just amazing.

And the Arameri are up for some drama – strange murders are occurring and getting closer and closer to the family. People are found killed by strange masks that fuse to the wearer’s face. There’s a group of godlings working together to try and guide or help the city of Sky and Sieh falls in with them. This leads him to the North, where Yeine was from, and her people. There are a lot of people sick of what the Arameri rule means. Usein Darr is the young ennu of the Darr now. She sums up their colonialism perfectly.

“No one should have as much power as they have now; the laws, the Scriveners, their army, all their pet nobles, the wealth they’ve claimed from peoples destroyed or exploited. Even their history taught to our children in the White Hall schools glorifies them and denigrates everyone else. All civilization, every bit of it, is made to keep the Arameri strong.”

Sound familiar? There’s a lot of parallels in this, as the Amn, or white race, has mown over the brown and black people in this world. Some are willing to go to extreme lengths to free themselves from this rule – but some, of the more godly persuasion, are willing to destroy the world to do it. For sure, war is coming to a land that hasn’t seen true revolt for centuries, and the gods aren’t going to just sit back. A shadowy godling that no one remembers is flitting all around the edges of this revolt, and Sieh’s very nature seems to be failing him.

I loved this series so much. I wish I could say a lot more – as a matter of fact, I kind of will. This last paragraph is about what happened to Sieh, and is very spoilery, so don’t read it if you haven’t read the book.

I didn’t like Sieh’s end. And I didn’t understand how his aging was part of his nature, as that seems the antithesis of his nature. I get that he chose to be friends with the twins and remain how they had changed him, but what Yeine said about him fulfilling his nature didn’t make sense to me. Why would the god of childhood grow up? I dunno. Still loved it.

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