The Kingdom of Gods by N. K. Jemisin (Inheritance, #3)
The Kingdom of Gods reckons with the origins and present state of the Arameri as seen through Sieh to make an amazing end to The Inheritance Trilogy. It complicates what we learned before without making earlier knowledge feel cheap, molding rage and sorrow like clay.
This was a deeply satisfying conclusion to The Inheritance Trilogy. There is a sequel novella to this trilogy which I will read after this, but I am content with what's here. It was tense, moving, contemplative, tumultuous, scary, exciting, and finally at peace, without losing zest and intensity along the way. It confronts and dismantles the Arameri's colonialist justifications which filled the first two books. They were challenged earlier, but this book brings things to a head in order to have a chance at a true reckoning for past misdeeds, of humans and gods.
I loved Sieh as the narrator. I've loved him as a character since book one, and I was not disappointed by his spotlight here. Writing a long-lived godling of childhood in a way that makes him feel like a child when it's fitting doesn't seem easy, yet it was carried off in a way that accomplishes a complex portrait of childhood, not cheapening it by typifying it.
This book examines and pulls apart old wounds, deep rifts, and sorrows from the dawn of time, giving space for healing and growth without demanding forgiveness from the people who were hurt. It is an artful example of confronting past abuses, both of the importance of doing so and of a few small ways to attempt it. The idea of a cycle of violence fills this trilogy, and this third book especially, but also there's a hope of breaking the cycles, of having something better than rage and pain to look forward to.
It's ultimately joyful without asking for mourning to cease, leaving space for both grief and joy, for people to have complex and contradictory experiences of the same events.
Read this book, read this trilogy.
CW for massacre, slavery, death, major character death.