The Inheritance Trilogy omnibus includes the novels: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods and a brand-new novella set in the same world. The Awakened Kingdom.
In this omnibus edition of N.K. Jemisin's brilliantly original award-winning fantasy series, a young woman becomes entangled in a power struggle of mythic proportions.
A REALM OF GODS AND MORTALS. 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.
Well this was a trip that took me significantly longer than I imagined upfront. Lush but sometimes uneven in pace and every new part of the trilogy thoroughly threw me off track from continuing the book in one smooth reading experience Empowerment doesn’t always waits for wisdom
The start of this book made me think of the movie Jupiter Rising, with a nobody becoming heiress to a vast kingdom. The provincial girl (You are naive. Maybe I was. But that didn’t make me wrong) dropped in the heart of power made me think of Arkady MartineA Memory Called Empire series. Except this heiress is not due an intergalactic enterprise but a godly powered floating palace. In Sky gods have been enslaved by men after a disastrous war led to one god ruling all. This brings along all kind of complications because the gods are unpredictable and even mischievous, wanting to stir up trouble against the ruling Arameri family head. The moral implications are profound, with one of the past Arameri even destroying a whole continent via the super weapon power of the god of Chaos and Darkness.
The matriarchal society of Darre is a nice contrast, and there is a living dead plague (which never recurs in the other books unfortunately) and shows richness in world building, but the whole stone and ceremony being introduced around page 160 feels a bit botched and sudden Most annoying to be me where however the Twilight/Fifty Shades of Grey vibes in the relationship between the main character and one of the gods. I mean sentences like these are rather atrocious: Your thoughts have always harmed me. All your terrors, all your needs. They push and pull at me, silent commands.
The theme of order and peace versus chaos and change is interesting as does some moral corruption being forced upon our main character: Which made it no more right - but understandable. Like so much in Sky, wrong but understandable.
Overal enjoyable but with a rather blatant deus ex machina at the end and never ging me a true tension that our main character would not end up on top somehow in the end.
The Broken Kingdoms - 2 stars You’re free now. Be what you choose to be, not what they made you.
Oree, the main character of this book, feels like a merchant peddling goods at Sacre Coeur in Paris, but than at Ygdrassil. I feel the trope of a special girl #notlikeothergirls who falls for someone who is hard to get/understand but *gasp* is also someone very special makes this instalment hard to get through. In The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms this it was kind of unexpected, now it’s rather tiresome.
It doesn't help that Oree just keeps pushing through action scenes, and I don’t really feel that she is a genuine character with true feelings for others around her at all. Also why the hell everyone, including gods is in love with this blind superwoman without money is rather beyond credulous (and again overly solemn/cringe executed at times: Maybe he thought it was better to keep you prisoner and be hated than lose you entirely). Events crash into her and the reader unannounced and hardly explained, only very loosely embedded in the world as drawn in the first book. And she has such powers and allies that any problem seems rather trifling in comparison.
I feel the scenery, and change from book two are well done, we have a city around a giant ass tree and personal eclipses, drawings that come to life, gods roaming the city streets and acting as merchants. But I can’t recall in any way what motivates the evil cult after the main characters, nor why one of the gods just issues a random ultimatum of total destruction instead of using divine powers to just get shit done. It all feels rather contrived and I was left unconvinced.
The Kingdom of Gods -3.5 stars Maybe you should be happy, he said. When things are bad, change is good, right?
Oke this final part is much more propulsive and with a more interesting main character Sieh (like Loki in his mischievousness mixed with childlike glee and cruelty). He is the master of clapbacks: Why didn’t she kill you? Because she hates me I suppose. or What do you want me to say? I’m sorry? I’m not. and: Yes you do look like shit and: I could be a marvellous whore and: Glad I am done with adolescence, if I don’t want to kill someone I want to have sex with them or finally: You are as godly as my left testicle. The fun the main character brings with him is contagious and makes this long volume read quite easily.
We again have hints of Sahar the “not like others” girl, but fortunately the plot soon moves in another direction, although the setup of a precarious situation for the main character from the first book of the trilogy remains familiair. Also the triangular relationships we are so familiar with come back, with interesting sentences like: Hatred does not exclude desire and If they will not love me, fear is an acceptable substitute.
What’s up with all the teleportation and foreshadowing/laying out of the evil plans involving creepy ass masks? That feels rather lazily done (and having connections to the gods I wouldn't expect that characters would feel powerless, someone even mentions the following: I don’t even know if we even have the power to destroy a continent anymore which seems to give ample scope to fix stuff nonetheless). The battle near the end is crazy epic and the showdown foreshadows a lot of themes from the Broken Earth Trilogy of N.K. Jemisin, with for instance this quote and struggle being familiar for readers of those books: Peace is meaningless without freedom
This is a remarkable series. Jemisin creates a unique pantheon of gods and then turns them loose on a world that she develops piece by piece, only revealing as much of the map as she needs to carry her story forward. The ideas in these books are brilliant, the writing is beautiful, the characters are magnetic and the overall story is fantastic in the true sense of the word. I need more fantastic literature like this in my life.
I miss these characters, especially Sieh, a trickster god if ever there was one. Jemisin achieves that fine balance between human, relatable personalities and godlike powers that can bend the course of a story in surprising ways.
Speaking of, I love that In fact, it's amazing how these books tie together to create a cohesive work. There is so much that is right about this series, and I am so happy to have read it. Jemisin is on my radar for life.
As I'm planning on reading this whole collection, I'm going to review each book as I finish it.
2018-08: The Broken Kingdoms: 4 stars. Oree Shoth is blind, but has been able to see the half-god children of gods, godlings, all her life. She lives and works some levels below the Arameri castle we saw in book one. Oree is adept at making her way about from her home to a table where she sells wares. One day, she stumbles across the dead body of a godling. After she takes him in, he resuscitates, and begins living with her. He rarely speaks, and the two find a rapport of sorts living together. One day, Oree literally stumbles across another godling corpse. Turns out, this godling had been murdered. Oree, who has several godling acquaintances and an on-and-off godling lover, becomes alarmed as it seems someone is targeting these beings. At the same time, Yeine (from book one and the new Goddess) has given Oree an ultimatum about her relationship with the godling she rescued. The action is swift and brutal in this installment, and Oree is used and hurt by many who think to use her relationships against her. Oree is pushed and pulled in many directions, but maintains her compassion and tremendous strength throughout her many ordeals in this story. She's a wonderful and grounded person, and I found this novel a much faster and easier read than book one. I liked the expansion of the world, with Jemisin taking us well below the castle to see what life is like there. As well, I liked the way the many different kinds of godlings that populate the story add to the fantastic nature of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.
2018-06: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: 3.5 stars. It's probably because I read Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy (which was amazing!!) first that I find this book not as engaging or as easy to read. That said, I found the world compelling. I was kind of confused at times by the god stuff, though I thought Sieh was irresistible. Yiene was a little hard for me to connect with, though her determined pursuit of the truth regarding why she's at Sky, what happened to her mother, and how to deal with the Arameri, Darre, and the chained gods was interesting and kept me reading.
I really liked this, even though it does have some flaws. Oh and this is Shadow and Bonebefore S&B ever existed, and obviously better. Ohi ohi Bardugo.
Actually, the only thing that irked me was the writing. I understand that the author wanted to write the book this way and that it's not a case of bad writing but...the fact that Yeine corrected herself or talked to herself while narrating the story bothered me a little. Mind you, it made sense, oh if it made sense in the end, but sometimes this scatterbrained way of narrating the story didn't impress me much.
Other than that this hooked me. I loved the plot and the characters. Yeine's ability to adapt to different situations and react impressed me. I really liked Sieh, even with his creepy weirdness, and Nahadoth a bit.
Now, onto Nahadoth. Or should I say the character who inspired the Darkling? I do have your attention now, I believe. Well, let me tell you why: lord of change, chaos and shadows whose followers are called heretics or...*drum roll* darklings. I didn't love him. I liked his character and I liked the romance, but he wasn't developed enough for me to love him.
I liked the ending. Onto book 2!
>The Broken Kingdoms: ★★★
This one had a great first half...followed by an average second half. I liked book 1 more to be honest. Here everything I liked went to hell after the first 200 pages or so. Okay, maybe "went to hell" is harsh but still, I actually expected Jemisin to deliver something a bit less messy.
I really really liked the first half. Oree is such a good female lead, in a completely different way than Yeine. She's blind but she actually sees further than many other characters. She's not a fighter in the literal sense of the word, but she's strong...in spite of her weaknesses. So, a good, balanced character. As is Mad after all. But...sigh, I don't like how the book ended and how the issues were solved plot-wise. It was too cruel for me and some things felt forced. Like, take Shiny's fate and role. It wasn't...enough, it didn't satisfy me.
I also wanted more from the setting. I feel like Jemisin could have done more in that sense. I wish she had explored the world she created more. And the fact that this was written like book 1 bothered me. I can see why, maybe she wanted to write the trilogy in the same style, to be coherent, but I think she should have changed the device a bit. It was cool once, it became repetitive twice.
Still, I liked it. And I liked a lot part of it. I just think that this installment had a bit more potential.
>The Kingdom of Gods: ★★★★
I'm not sure whether this is my favourite of the trilogy or not, but Sieh was for sure my favourite narrator. It was like reading a book narrated by a creepier, messed up version of Puck from The Iron King (And I loved The Iron Fey, just sayin'). I do have a weakness for clever, slightly angsty tricksters, and Sieh is that kind of character.
I liked how messed up his relationships were and how childish and cruel he could be. I really think that, as far as character development goes, he's the most complex character of this series. The plot was indeed better than book 2's, in which I lost interest in the second half.
I'm a bit disappointed with how rushed the ending was. This was the chuckiest book of the trilogy, so why not give it a proper, well written ending? That I'll never know.
Overall, The inheritance trilogy is a good series. It has flaws and I could make a list of better fantasy novels out there, but it's extremely compelling and clever. I didn't bother reading the novella (the writing put me off to be honest) but I can guarantee that the first and the third book are so so good.
"Should I pause to explain? It is poor storytelling." You're telling me. The story has no structure, instead the narrative is interrupted by the first person unreliable narration that is, for some reason, so desirable. Things that are happening, often quick-paced and quite interesting, are stopped so that we can be told some history of this world we are entering. This is called info-dumping and it's terrible writing. I cared not for the protagonist nor her life, though the enslaved gods was an interesting concept. The rest was generic YA fantasy stuff.
I finished the last book a month ago and I'm still thinking about it; sometimes the characters and places show up in my dreams. This gorram series has permanently lodged itself somewhere in my psyche. A+ would strongly recommend.
I've been reading this book for like 50 days. FIFTY DAYS. And I'm fucking proud of it. I did it. I think this is the longest book I have ever read in my life, so I'm proud of myself. Let me have this moment. I just finished a 1.442 pages long book! I'm unstoppable!
Now, I don't even know how to begin to write a review for this novel. What do I even say about this? There is so much to unpack here: I will start by saying I have read N.K. Jemisin before: her "broken earth trilogy" was one of my favorite books two years ago. I fucking loved it and I knew I had to try her again at some point. This particular edition has been on my TBR for years at this point, and I felt like it was time for me to read it. N.K Jemisin hasn't disappointed me. I love this woman imagination because damn, she can write.
Let's go by parts: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: 5⭐. This was such a good book. I would honestly recommend it if you haven't read this author before because even if is the first book in a trilogy, I think anyone can read it as a standalone. Because that's the thing with this series: Is a companion novel trilogy, but you have to read it in order because events of book 2 and 3 are directly affected by what happened in book 1. But if you only read the first book, it has a great finale that can leave the reader happy with the story as it was. Now let's talk about it: There is a heavy focus on politics in such a fascinating way. This first book follows Yeine, a human girl who is summoned by the Arameri, the rules of the world, because she has suddenly become an heir to the throne. But that's not even the most interesting part about this book: The Arameri are a race of people who thousand of years ago managed to defeat the Gods, and now the Gods are their slaves. The mythology in this series is purely brilliance. Yeine builds and alliance with them and I won't say anything else, because this book is so worth a reading. I was surprised at the important focus that the romance had in this book, and i'm not going to lie, I loved it a lot. Yeine and Nahadoth were such an amazing couple to read about. I love them.
The Broken Kingdoms: 4⭐. This book follows a different protagonist, Oree Shoth, but we get to know some of the characters featured in the first book a lot better, especially Itempas. Oree is a woman that has an unique power: She is capable of seeing magic. Which was interesting considering she was blind. I love when books feature characters with some kind of disability and make them super powerful. This was a book that is about power, and how to use it, but also about regret and redemption. It was really captivating and the ending made me tear up a little, not gonna lie. But I feel like it was a fair ending (even if it was sad to read). Oree was an amazing protagonist to read about. And, surprisingly, I ended up caring a lot about Itempas as well.
The Kingdom of Gods: 4⭐. I was so surprised when I found out that the protagonist of this book is Sieh. He was one of my favorites from book 1. Being inside his brain was really interesting, because he is the godling of Childhood, but something is wrong with him and he starts to become mortal and to grow up. And this book also wraps up a lot of things from the previous books about the story of humanity and the Arameri. This book made me cry a LOT. But I would lie if I say I didn't love it just as much.
I will say that I read the prequel novella, The Awakened Kingdom, but I didn't enjoy it that much, really. I would give it 2,5 ⭐.
I honestly don't know how N.K Jemisin comes up with this kind of stories, because yes, this is fantasy, and yes, there is magic, but is done in a way I haven't read before in my life. This author is pure talent. The world featured in this story is fascinating in every sense of the word.
Setting is original and interesting. My issue with this book is related to me not being a twelve year old girl. All the man-on-man insinuations and dark broody god flings just take up too much text. Reminds me of twilight with a bit of cinderella mixed in.
Another issue is the main character, I don't mind the man degrading feminism, but does she have to think and act like a pubescent 11 year old? I mean she is supposed to be a strong leader of a tribe, but nowhere does her background match her personality. A man gets stabbed in front of her and she screams? Seriously?
There is also a strong neglect of logic in favor of irrational emotional actions and thoughts. Very irritating in a main character because the story just bends to accomodate her, leaving a critical reader unfulfilled and disappointed.
The antagonists hardly evoke any emotional responses from me, they were like flies buzzing around her while the power-play story progressed.
So yea the most redeeming quality is the setting and the cool gods. The pace is also pretty good.
N.K Jemisin is a talented author, and The Kingdom of Gods is a strong finish to her Inheritance Trilogy. But it was my least favorite of the three books. I would have liked it better with 150-200 pages of bloat removed. And with a few more likable characters.
Like the others, this story takes place in a world where multiple Gods and godlings exist. Humans live and die at the whim of the gods, and there is one human family with more power than the rest. And like the second book, this one incorporates both new characters and those we have met before. It takes another jump forward in time as well.
Unlike the first two books, the main character is a godling rather than a human. And he’s a fickle, immature godling who spends most of the book whining about how terrible his life is. In fact, he has been banished to nothingness for a thousand years. I’d imagine that’s pretty terrible. However, the book includes none of this banishment. Instead it focuses on his struggles with returning to a different world and in different condition.
Then we get into the politics of the world, since the various countries are attempting to best each other. Throw in a few pissed off godlings, and you’ve got the picture. The humans are primarily reprehensible. The godlings I enjoyed in the other books aren’t in this one. And the situation seems to bring out the worst in the Gods as well.
All in all, I found this a tedious read. It wasn’t until page 500 (500!) that the pace moved with speed and I felt anticipation. If this hadn’t been the third book, and I hadn’t wanted to know the trilogy’s end, I wouldn’t have finished. As a side note, my ebook included a novella epilogue. I read about four pages and had to stop due to another insufferable main character.
It pains me to say all this because I think N.K. Jemisin is a terrific writer overall. Her imagination is unique. And her vision of alternate universes has depth and creativity. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms were captivating and fun. Please join me in singing the chorus of Meat Loaf’s song Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad. I will definitely pick up and read more Jemisin. I’ll even look forward to it. But I’m not sure I can forgive her for this flat and joyless book.
First I would like to pet myself on the back - I read this whole book and I had to sit very still with it on my lap and try to get comfy while holding up the 1400+ pages it is and I didn't actually hurt myself too badly (I have bruises because the book slipped out of my hand a few times...but no serious damage so I'm oke)....also the story is 100000% worth the bodily damage this omnibus may cause you.
I'm going to write small reviews for each book specifically now, but in general I would 100% recommend this to fantasy readers. I think this book has cemented me as a NK Jemisin fangirl - even the "worst" book in this omnibus was still pretty darn great - I'm trying hard not to compare this book series to the broken earth trilogy but its hard because I can't say which I like more, its like comparing apples and oranges which really is a testament to NK Jemisin's skill and I will be picking up whatever other books I can find from Jemisin asap.
As for the reviews: Book 1: The hundrerd thousand kindgoms - 5 stars This was such a strong start to the series, I loved the reveal at the end, I loved the world building and the characters. I can gush about this book for days.
book 2: the broken kingdom - 5 stars (and my favorite of the bunch) I loved this book so much, I loved seeing the main character as an artist and again I loved the big twist at the end. I loved finding out who the characters were and how they all relate to eachother (although I did see who "shiny" was coming from the first time he was mentioned)
book 3: The kingdom of gods - 4 stars (if I could give it 4.5 I would because giving it 4 stars feels to low, but 5 stars feels too high?) This one is a bit difficult because there are so many things to love in this book, I loved seeing how angry the main character was and how frustrated and coming to terms with himself - but this time I saw the big reveal coming basically within the first 100 pages or so? I also just felt a bit uncomfortable during parts of this but I feel like this was on purpose although I'm not sure?
the awakened kingdom novella - 4 stars This was a great little followup on the story - I loved the narrative voice.
this was great, the world setting was great, and i really dug the characters. I can tell books are doing something right when I move into book 2 and I'm really mad about the characters I've left behind, because these new characters just can't live up! But then 10 pages later I realize I'm just being a brat and these new characters are different but also awesome.
i finished all 3 books + the sequel novella in a week!!! what a magnificent way to break my fantasy-reading drought of 10 years. it was one of those rare combinations of profound, raw, and immensely satisfying. it's violent and bloody but also joyous and ultimately hopeful. what an epic read.
It is such fun to read N.K. Jemisin. Her worlds are truly original and so free of the stereotypical traps that many writers fall into. She explores genders, age, mortality and death, caste systems with an openness and expression that is a delight to experience. The books of "The Inheritance Trilogy" are about a world of cultures in conflict and flux, with shifting boundaries between the hierarchies of mortal races, gods and godlings. All framing place on a world that is constantly physically changing. There is a great feeling of flow throughout the three novels, with a bonus novella at the end which wraps up the saga ever so nicely.
While so much of the strength of this very long volume lies in its play with gender and its simple portrayal of gods and the mortals they mess with at will, the characterizations are flat, sophomoric and, at times, confusing. The language is immature and reminiscent of high school speak, although the novels don’t appear to be marketed to a young adult audience. I wanted to be entranced, but was only ever vaguely entertained, and that after I finally decided to read the novels as though I were watching them in an anime version.
Definitely a wild ride I will remember forever. One of the best series i've read to date. If you want to read an adult fantasy series with gods and mortals and demons and murder and madness, PICK THIS UP.
I had originally intended to read one book at a time in this omnibus edition, and then go on to read something else in between. However, I realized that I enjoyed it so much that I just went through the whole thing. And, if you really think about it, from a pagecount perspective, it's not really that much longer than your average Malazan book, so one could think of this as just one book in four parts.
This whole series is great, in some ways I enjoyed it more than her newer, more awarded series.
The first book deals with a moral woman, forcibly adopted back into the ruling family of the world, a world in which the balance between Order and Chaos has been tipped too far into the side of Order. Only one god rules, and the remaining gods are chained and enslaved by the ruling family.
The second book switches protagonists to a new mortal, who lives in the shadow of the seat of civilization, where everyone has to deal with the consequences of the events at the end of the first book, as everything has changed.
The third book switches protagonists again to one of the demigods of the world, a world still changing, suffering almost too many shocks in too short of a time for mortals to deal with.
The final book, a novella, serves as a great coda to the whole series, tying up some loose ends and helping give a little bit of final closure to things, although it feels like a world in which many more stories could be set.
I really enjoyed that the protagonist, and point of view, shifted between books. This is something that the author of course uses to greater effect in the Broken Earth trilogy as well of course. I enjoyed the system of magic here, and of course the fact that not everyone is a whitey mcwhiteface white person fantasy trope.
I NEVER give 5 stars, so why did i give it to this book because it genuinely deserved it It's three incredibly strong novels in an incredibly strong world with great characters and great worldbuilding, it's literally the holy grail of fantasy novels, a non cliche story that could not exist except in a fantasy world with characters interesting enough to carry it, and she not only does it once - she does it three times. Stinker.
This is one of those stories that is very hard to define, it's about Gods, and what happens when Gods fight but is set 2000 years after the fact, it's the repercussions, the ripples, the messes that only reveal themselves after time. It's about a mortal girl caught in the machinations of an eternal court where they exist only to express power, and the machinations of gods caught in terrible slavery and desperate to be free of the bondage put upon them by their father. It's about monotheism and polytheism and childhood and maturity and love and a hundred other things besides, it's about life and death and the horrors in between I read this entire thing in one great big lump and never once regretted it, although perhaps I might have savoured it more if I had had it in it's three component parts which are linked, but only by time and progression, sometimes it's the same characters and sometimes it's not, the entire series takes place over about 150 years to give you an idea, but also for the entirety of creation, and as ballsy and ambitious as this is, and with so much room to fall flat on it's face, it does so well. I have nothing but praise for this series, it's really really worth it
Simply fantastic. This year for Black History Month, I decided to read black authors and this was quite a way to close out my month. I love myths, and it was so wonderful to read about people who look like me. This doesn't take place in our place or time or anything like that so it shouldn't matter, but it does. Reading about a world full of brown skinned people without the specter of slavery and racism was soothing to my soul. Beyond that though, this is an epic that tackles questions of personal identity, values, culture, politics, and religion. It took me a week to finish and if I didn't have to go to work, I could have finished it in two days because it was just that good. It's heavy at times, but also has moments of levity. It's one of those volumes that you just know will improve with every reread. It totally floored me, in the best way.
To be honest, I did not finish the trilogy. I read up to page 948, which is in the third book, and couldn't deal with the annoying narrator, the teen angst/drama, the wandering plot, and just how tedious it was to keep on reading. I gave the first book 4 stars, the 2nd book 3 stars, and the 3rd book 2 stars, for an overall 2 stars for the whole series.
If the third book had been better, I would have kept going. Unfortunately, for this series, my backlog is too large to try slog through a book I'm not enjoying, even though I really did like the world she'd created.
This review is for books one and two in this collection: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms. I will add the subsequent books as I finish them.
BOOK ONE: In The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, NK Jemisin has created an amazing world and mythology. In the beginning, we are introduced to Yiene, a young woman who lives in a “barbaric” northern kingdom, who is summoned to the ruling kingdom where she learns she must compete for the inheritance of the crown with her two cousins. Yiene’s mother left before Yiene was born and was disinherited, but for some reason her grandfather (the current ruler) has brought Yiene back. Yiene is definitely a fish out of water, as she is thrown into cutthroat politics, both human and divine.
In this world, there is a ruling god, Itempas the Bright, who was once one of three ruling gods. But long ago there was a war among the gods, and Enefa, the goddess of dawn and twilight, was destroyed - and Nahadoth, the god of Darkness and Chaos has been enslaved to the human ruling family. There are also many demigods, who are the children of the original three. But now, only Itempas is worshipped, and those who try to worship the other gods are branded heretics.
Into this mix of gods, demigods, and humans, Yiene must discover her past, so that she can survive her present.
Jemisin doesn’t go easy on the reader - we are thrown into the main narrative, and we only get the backstory as Yiene uncovers it, and through some (at first) confusing conversations Yiene is having with someone - we don’t find out who for quite some time. This slow unwinding of the story made it difficult, at first, for me to really get into the character of Yiene and become emotionally invested. But by about midway through the book, the past becomes clearer, and the trap in which Yiene finds herself is revealed. From this point onward, I was hooked, and sped through the rest of the book.
Jemisin’s brilliance is revealed not just in the world building and plot, but in her depiction of the gods and demigods. Her depiction of them, both physically and through their actions, feels right - the gods don’t act like humans at all, but their actions seem consistent with their being. Picture Greek or Roman gods, mingling with humans, having their own jealousies and spats, but not being human. Really well done!
Now, from this description you might be thinking this is just another “young person discovers their secret destiny” story - nothing could be further from the truth. The narrative is wholly original, as are the characters. (Though I couldn’t help comparing the ruling family to the worst of corrupt ancient Roman emperors.) The entire world is unlike anything I’ve experienced in literature. If you want to get swallowed up by something entirely new in fantasy, this is the place to start.
BOOK TWO: This is the review for book two (The Broken Kingdoms) - there will be spoilers if you haven’t read book one (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms).
Wow! I practically devoured this book! I was captivated by the character of Oree from the very beginning, and simply could not put it down. Superb writing!
The narrative of this book begins 10 years after the events of the first book. The new goddess - the Gray Lady (who was the mortal Yeine in the first book) is now part of pantheon, taking the place (rebirthing?) Enefa. Nahadoth, the lord of darkness and chaos, has been freed from his captivity, and Intempas the Bright is now wandering the world in mortal flesh, sentenced to pay for his sins of killing Enefa and imprisoning Nahadoth.
The story starts in a far kingdom, where Oree Shoth, a young woman who is blind, lives with her parents. Even though she is blind, she can “see” magic when it manifests in the world, and she paints strange and wonderful pictures that her father tells her to keep hidden. She is close to her father, who has a gift of singing that he keeps hidden - he only sings for Oree, when they are alone. But like most young people, Oree feels trapped in her family and her country, and heads for the “big city” - in this case that means Sky, the place where most of book one occurred.
Sky has been transformed by the growth of The Lady’s tree, which manifested when she transformed into a goddess. The tree encompasses all of Sky, both on the ground and in the air. Oree lives and works in the shadow of Sky, where she sells her handmade trinkets to the pilgrims who come to worship the new goddess. She also continues to paint, but these creations she shows to no one, and does not sell. She has made friends, and even had a lover, named Madding, for a while - a lover who is a “godling”, one of many who are now free after the events of 10 years ago, though they are constrained to live and work in Sky. She now shares her home with a silent man she literally pulled from a garbage bin. Their relationship is purely platonic, and since she doesn’t know his name, she calls him Shiny, because he has the strange trait of glowing when the sun rises. He also has a tendency to accidentally injure himself or even kill himself through carelessness, but he always comes back to life the next day.
Events unfold quickly from this point on. Someone is killing godlings, and as Oree found one of the bodies, she comes to the attention of the religious officials. This escalates to her fleeing, and finding safety in Madding’s house. But the safety is short-lived, and Oree finds herself in a situation that seems to have no resolution. At this point she learns a rather surprising fact of her heritage, and becomes even more entangled in power plays between the divine and the mortal.
Jemisin has a real knack for the portrayal of the gods and godlings. They do not have human motivations or feelings, but these are consistent among them, making their personalities seem quite believable. I also found that I could identify with Oree right away, unlike my experience with Yeine in the first book. This, coupled with the nearly nonstop action meant that I read this book in two days!
There are overarching themes that continue from the first book. Though you could read this one alone, reading book one first will definitely enhance the story.
The events of this book take place several years after the last one. It is told in the first person, by the gosling, Sieh, whom we know from the first two books. He is the Trickster, and also the god of childhood and play. He befriends twin siblings, a boy and a girl (Deka and Shahar), children of the ruling “queen” of the Arameri family (the ruling family on the planet.) The three of them make a pact to be “friends forever” and then something cataclysmic happens. Sieh awakens years later, to discover that he is mortal, and, more importantly, he is aging. His body is already that of a teenager, which is anathema to his very being as the god of childhood. He discovers that Deka has been exiled to the school of scriveners (magicians) and Shahar is being groomed as her mother’s heir and the next ruler of the planet. More importantly, he discovers that deep unrest is growing around the planet, and someone is killing Arameri family members, through the use of magical masks. Sieh must try to help Shahar and Deka try to prevent planetary war, while at the same time navigating his maturity, which happens by leaps and bounds, so that he is aging far faster than a mere mortal. Much of the book is Sieh simply trying to understand what is happening to him, and why, which makes this book seem quite personal. Even though the first two books each focused on a single character, somehow what is happening to Sieh seems more intense and personal. Not only is he facing the normal emotions of growing up, he is trying to cope with the fact that his very nature is changing. The plot of the civil unrest and threat of war is quite engaging, and events transpire that leave the planet even more changed than that of the previous book.
For me, this story engaged me from the get-go. Sieh is a fascinating character, and being in his mind as he navigates the pitfalls of what has happened to him, along with what was happening planet-wide, kept me riveted. I felt like the events that transpired were natural to the story as a whole, and the way the gods interacted with each other and with humans continued to be consistent and ring true to the world Jemisin has created. The ending was somewhat surprising, and extremely intense! A good way to end the series.
This novella is quite different in style from the first three books, though it also captivated me from the very first. It’s basically a stream of consciousness story about the “rebirth” or “recreation” of Sieh - or at least a godling who takes Sieh’s place, as part of the theme of the story is this gosling’s attempts to discover who s/he is. It’s a delightful little story, which adds the cherry on top to the ice cream sundae of the series.
I love this series!! I guess it is too soon to properly sort my thoughts and feelings... but still. It blew me away. It consists of three books (and a novella) that could be read independently, even though they are all part of the same story. Each book focuses on individual stories that combine to make one big dazzling picture. In a way, each arc follows the seemingly "small" (marginal people, ideas, beliefs, fears, etc) and shows how it can spark a flame that fuels change, for better or worse.
Like many fantasy series, it is about magic, power and politics. However, it doesn't shy away from exploring love as a power in its own right as it makes and breaks people, gods, empires... everything. Relationships in this trilogy are at the center of the story, complex and challenging.
I really like Jemisin's storytelling and of course her awesome worldbuilding . (I was literally fused to this omnibus edition for a week... and it is not lightweight!). That said, what really won me over was the characters: Yeine, Oree, Nahadoth, Itempas, Madding, Ahad, Glee, Deka, Nemmer, Ia, Lil, Shill... even Sieh who gets on my nerves and Ral who appeared in like two sentences total... So many of them, my precioussss(es?).
The Inheritance Trilogy characters, both mortal and not, are flawed and vulnerable, often obnoxious and broken, and so very alive that is hard not to love them (and hate them and love them again). I just want more of their shenanigans, their mistakes, their joys and sorrows... and I feel like 1,400 pages were not nearly enough. That's how good it was for me :)
Three novels plus a novella in one big ol' volume. Over the past week, I dove into NK Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy. It was about what I expected: brilliant, compelling, and full of impossible, breath-taking twists.
It all begins with Yeine Darr, an outcast summoned to Sky, a city where the gods are imprisoned. Her grandfather tells her that she is now in competition to inherit, pulling her against her will into a cruel game. Nahadoth and his shadows terrify; Sieh and his pet planets enchant; the enslaved gods pull her into their nets, both impossible to comprehend and unexpectedly simple in their desires. Lost but with a warrior's heart, Yeine decides she doesn't just want to compete. She wants to win.
The trilogy is another tome in one of my favorite genres: a tale of the gods, vast and wide, that serves to dig deep into both the horrific and glorious edges of humanity and mortality. Each of the three books is an epic in its own right, but the three together capture a world changing at metaphysical, ontological levels. A world in which the gods are undoubtably real, but to what end? And how should mortals coexist with them? And can they?
The protagonists are as brilliant as ever, rooted in their deep quests to survive; Yeine Darr in particular is a new all-time favorite protagonist of mine, but Oree Shoth is close behind. There are steamy sex scenes and scenes that left me in tears, and Jemisin's pacing is as brutal as always, full of heart-sinking moments and carefully plotted tricks. Perhaps there's no compliment I can give better than this: of the three, I'm finding it impossible to choose a favorite.
Not by the book (it's pretty straightforward so far), but by the complete lack of reviews calling it out for its primary focus: hot sibling-on-sibling sex.
Listen, if that's what does it for you (as it apparently does for the 5000+ four- and five-star reviewers on this website), then enjoy I guess. But for me, that was a bit of a hang-up about which I got no warning whatsoever by reading a few reviews ahead of time. The characters are gods, sure. The gods aren't technically siblings, sure. But N.K. Jemisin seems to go out of her way to remind you that they *think* of each other as siblings, using the words "brother" and "sister" as often as she can, in close proximity to the steamy passages.
I agree with some other things I've seen in reviews: the writing has its issues at times, and the characters are a bit one-dimensional. But for the most part I was enjoying Jemisin's narrative style, until she started getting into the above-mentioned topics. It absolutely frazzles my brain that so many readers aren't bothered by the cardinality of incest to the story, and that even people who didn't enjoy this book didn't seem to notice.
If you prefer adult videos with the prefix "step-" somewhere in the title, you might get a kick out of this book. It's simply not for me, I suppose, and I felt an obligation to share my own experience so that someone else might avoid the same surprise.
One of the best fantasy reading investments I've ever made. And getting N.K. Jemisin to sign it during the 2015 Writer's Digest Conference makes it even more special. :)
Seriously, though. The Inheritance Trilogy as a whole is stunning. If you like richly developed world-building, fantastic characters regardless of whether they're immortal (gods, godlings) or mortal (humans, demons), clever narrative twists that gradually reveal themselves and enhance your perspective of the story once it, or authors who refuse to turn a blind eye to the social injustices of the fictional realms they create, then get the omnibus edition of this series.
Since I've already reviewed each novel / novella separately, I'll link back to them rather than repeat what I'd previously written about them.
You know that feeling when you sit paralyzed after finishing a book because it murdered you, peeling layers off of your heart to form blood-drenched petals, and you'd gladly submit to the treatment again because the result was so impossibly beautiful? I feel broken.
I feel badly giving this four stars intead of five, because it's such a cut above the other fantasy novels I have read in the past. The problem is, The Broken Earth trilogy set the bar SO high, and this series is just not as good. For a first series from an author it's still pretty unbelievable though.
The best parts of The Inheritance Triology for me were the deep personal connections I felt with the characters in the stories. Again, I got teary eyed multiple times throughout this book. When a character finally GETS IT and major shifts happen - that's her writing at her absolute height and I've never read anybody else who can do it quite like she does.
Also, the originality of the characters and their perspectives is amazing. In this series, she gives voice to characters who are women, men, and gender fluid; straight, gay, and bisexual (or perhaps pansexual); gods, godlings, demons, outcasts, mortals, those whose natures are uncertain, and those who transform from one to another; highborn, lowborn, and middleborn; those in power, those outside of power; those seeking power, and those trying to relinquish it. And she frequently turns the tables on traditional narratives regarding who has power and who deserves it. All with an incredible degree of empathy for every point of view. It's like there are really no true "good guys" or "bad guys" - just imperfect beings.
The rough parts of this series for me were related to dialogue and other ways in which the characters interacted. It was more wooden and repetitive than in her later books where she really shines in this area.
After loving the first story and liking the second one (i rated them individually on each book) I ended up DNFing on page 1169 of the third book, Sieh's story because I just couldn't. This last book has somewhat ruined the experience of the trilogy for me, as I felt it just flounders around, chasing some sort of story but more like beating the bush than following a plot...
I'm disappointed that I didn't like this more. It was creative and clearly well written, and I think people who are more spiritual or enjoy reading about Gods and more abstract things might enjoy this, I however had to unfortunately discover while reading this that I have absolutely no interest in reading about Gods and it made me quite tired trying to get through this bind up.
I enjoyed the second book more than the first, but even then I found it dragged in places. I ended up picking up the audiobook from my library to ccomplete the remainder of it, and the audiobook was well done and I accredit it entirely as the reason I managed to push myself and finish this book.
I also struggled to connect with any of the characters, something about the writing style was odd to me and I didn't enjoy it.
I however, seem to be in a minority of people who this didn't click with, and I think you should take my review and rating with a grain of salt, I would say try a chapter or two before deciding if you would like to get this book, as all of my complaints could have been avoided if I'd listened to my gut when starting the book, instead of trying to push myself through it despite knowing I didn't connect with the writing style.