This book has been on my radar for a few months now. It's been lauded by almost every book blog I follow and it has a really pretty cover (I'm a huge sucker for a pretty cover.) Thankfully, this was the first book of the Women of Fantasy book club over at Jawas Read Too! so I had an excuse to read it a lot sooner than I might've otherwise.
I have to say, I can see why this book has been so highly praised; it really is a good read. This isn't going to be the best articulated review, as it's been over a week since I actually finished it and didn't take any notes while reading (BAD Michelle), but I'll try to get across what I liked and didn't like as best as possible.
What I liked most about this book is the world-building. The setting of the novel is actually pretty... restricted, as far as Fantasies go (it all takes place in Sky), but Jemisin has obviously really thought out everything else. The creation myth of the world alone is amazing, and I loved how the Gods were handled; it's something I've never seen done before, and it was really neat. The complicated relationships between all the three Gods and their children was really interesting, and it was fun and exhilarating to learn to intricacies of their relationships along with Yeine. Speaking of the Gods, Jemisin also did a really good job of interweaving religion into her world as well.
As far as protagonists go, I found Yeine to be sympathetic. She's got a lot going on, what with her mom being murdered, being brought to a place that isn't her home and being forced to stay and duke it out with her evil cousins to be an heir (a position that she doesn't really want anyway! Oh yeah, and it's already plotted that she's doomed to fail becoming an heir on top of that. *deep breath*) So yeah, Yeine's got it pretty bad, but she manages to mostly keep it together and takes a lot of proactive steps to figure things out: solving the mystery to who killed her mother, and making sure she doesn't get killed herself while in Sky.
The Gods who allies herself with were all interesting in their own rights as well. I especially loved Sieh. He was absolutely adorable, but I wish he had showed more of his Trickster/capricious side that he was supposed to be known for. The only other God to get a lot of development was Nahadoth. I had mixed feelings regarding him; I loved how he was so conflicted and complicated and mysterious. The relationship between him and Yeine was enticing (even if Yeine wasn't sure if she was attracted to him just because of the soul of another God lying dormant in her soul), but I had a hard time keeping all his "personalities" in check. He had his human one, which made him a prick for the most part, then he had his one during the night, which was the weird mysterious one, and then once in awhile he was really nice and kind to Yeine. Anyway, throughout the novel, he jumps between these three personalities pretty liberally, except for the human one, which is only maintains during the day. This issue is more of a nitpick though, because really, it's just me. I don't know why I had a hard time keeping check on that aspect of Nahadoth, but I just did and it made it a little hard for me to connect to him in any way. Again, not a fault of the author, but of me. :)
This is the first book in a planned trilogy. This installment wraps up the main story rather nicely, as opposed to a cliffhanger which is definitely good. That being said, I'm not in a HUGE rush to run out and buy the sequel, but I DO want to read it, at some point. Also, I didn't buy this book; I borrowed it from a friend, and at the risk of sounding negative, I have to say that I'm glad I didn't dish out the money for this. I liked it, but it's not a book I'm gushing over and am head over heels in love with (even though it does a lot of things right.)
Final Verdict: If you're a fan of the Fantasy genre, definitely check this out. It's got a really cool world going for it with great religion and a great Creation myth and pantheon of Gods to complement it, with a strong female character with interesting supporting characters. Even if you aren't a fan of Fantasy, I still recommend checking it out. Speaking personally, I'm glad I didn't spend money on this myself, but I'm really glad I borrowed it and got to read it sooner rather than later.