The Kingdom of Gods, by N.K. Jemisin

7923006When I started N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy, I had no idea that the story would end on such a fantastic note. The first book was spectacular, but I thought that the other two books would continue Yeine’s journey. But each book has functioned like puzzle pieces that fit together to tell a larger story; you have to read them all to see the big picture. In this final volume, we see–perhaps–where everything was headed in the first place as Sieh transforms from child/trickster godling to a god in his own right.

The Kingdom of Gods begins some decades after the events of the previous book. We meet up of Sieh again. Sieh is the godling of children and tricks, but he hasn’t been an innocent for a long time. The years of his captivity have left their marks. Near the beginning of this book, he meets two children who are the descendants of his enemies. After a game goes awry, the two children ask him to swear an oath of friendship. The oath also goes awry and Sieh turns mortal. After millennia as a child, Sieh finally has to grow up and he is not happy about it.

As the story progresses, we learn that there is a larger conspiracy going on but most of the action stays with Sieh as he learns how to negotiate the mortal world without his powers and without youth. To get a sense of the politics, you’ll really need to read the first two books in the series because there is a lot of history to explain. The short version is that many of the hundred thousand kingdoms that make up this world are sick of kowtowing to one family–especially a family that spent 2,000 years abusing their authority. Behind this conspiracy is another one, even older, as a godling tries to force his way into godhood. The upshot of it all is that not only is the political situation unstable, but the world itself is in danger as the godling manipulates the universe by tapping into the power of the Maelstrom, the chaotic heart of creation itself.

The Kingdom of Gods is a very affecting read. Jemisin plucks at the heart strings throughout as we watch a perpetual child grow up. The ending is utterly gripping. Because it is the end of the trilogy, there is no reason to keep characters alive for another spin across the pages. Readers will have no idea what will happen and I ended up reading far too late into the night just to see what happened. This is an excellent trio of books and I’m already looking forward to seeing what Jemisin comes up with next.

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