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.