It would appear there is a new star in the celestial body of my favourite authors, and that is N.K. Jemisin.
Having been impressed with her Broken Earth trilogy, I was curious about her other works, and delved into The Inheritance Trilogy. I am very glad I did. Here is a fantasy unlike any other.
Jemisin, who has now received three Hugo Awards, three years in a row, the first author to have captured that trifecta, amid jeers from many male counterparts (which is another whole story in which I repeatedly mutter WTF?! in her defense), has crafted a world in which gods and demigods walk among mortals of questionable morals and intentions.
Her world-building is rich and dense with detail. Her characters are utterly believable. The pacing sings with tension. Her prose is delicious. You will be swept away into a tale which, like any good story, rises beyond genre to become stunning literature. There is allegory here. There is escapism.
I read the omnibus edition, which includes The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods, and The Awakened Kingdom.
In the first novel, Jemisin introduces her readers to a world in which a morally bankrupt ruling family are about to determine their successor. The story is filled with the betrayal of sacred trusts, of the powerful rendered powerless, of the enslavement of gods, of love, bitterness and vengeance at any cost.
The second continues to explore these themes, now in a world in which demigods are hunted for the extraordinary qualities of their blood, all in the hope of an apotheosis of select members of that depraved ruling family who attempt to recoup and strengthen their power. Heroes arise in the most unlikely of characters, in the most unlikely of places.
In the third novel there is an unlikely and tempestuous cooperation between the last scions of the ruling family and a god who takes the form of a child, but a clever, trickster and mercurial child who has lost all his power because of an act of love, all in an attempt to prevent the devolution of existence into chaos.
The delight of the omnibus edition is Shades in Shadow, in which Jemisin explores the birth of a god, and weaves a first-person, stream-of-consciousness breathless narrative which brings the entire series to a sated, perfect conclusion.