Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with a pair of cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.
With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate – and gods and mortals – are bound inseparably together.
Thoughts: I first found out about this book after reading a short story of the author’s, and after that made a vow to hunt down a copy of this book no matter what the cost. I was fortunate enough to win a copy in a contest, though I must say after having read it that I still would have scrounged up the money to buy a copy if I’d had to.
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end, and found it very easy to get lost in the tale being woven. The style was a little bit strange to adjust to at first, but I fell into it fairly easily, and loved the later revelation as to just why the story was being told in such a fashion. First-person can be a tricky viewpoint to write from sometimes, but Jemisin pulled it off masterfully.
I had heard complaints, before reading this, that sometimes the plot was hard to follow because of the style. If Yeine forgets something in her narrative and has to jump back to tell bits of the tale that came before, it could be a little bit jarring, and did at one point pull me out of the flow of the story. But on the other hand, it was easy to fall back into that flow again, and I think that telling the story in any other style would have lessened the impact of many things that Yeine discovered in her time at Sky.
I admit, I don’t always enjoy plots that are full of layers upon layers when politics are involved, but I know that’s largely because of how such plots are often presented. Heavy, so full of intrigue that you get lost trying to figure out what’s going on. Jemisin did a wonderful job of accomplishing layers-upon-layers and political intrigue without falling to the trap of getting bogged down in the details. A wonderful air of the fantastic was woven through everything, keeping potential boredom at bay with a sense of wonder and mystery, and the fact that Yeine wasn’t much for heavy political machinations helped that along.
I really cannot stress how much I enjoyed this novel, how much it spoke to me on levels that are hard for me to find the words to define, and how much Yeine’s thoughts and interactions with gods and mortals alike reflected many of my own thoughts and wonderings, and occasionally gave me some very profound things to think about. Some plot elements in this novel are ones not often seen in fantasy, and yet are ones that I have a particular fascination with (gods interacting with mortals, and two souls dwelling in one body), so it was wonderful to see some of my own interests taking center stage in a unique and engaging story.
I’m already itching to get my hands on the sequel.