Yeine is the young ruler of a relatively poor nation called Darre (or Darr? it’s spelled both ways in the book), whose mother has recently passed away. Still greiving, she’s summoned by her grandfather Dakarta Arameri – the Arameri are the elite, and the most elite live in the palace of Sky, which actually is a city in the sky. Her grandfather disowned her mother and therefore she’s never met him before, but she sets off when he calls.
Dakarta names her his third heir, leaving her as a contender to the throne, along with her two cousins. While at the palace, Yeine learns more about the Arameri ways and learns a lot of horrifying things. For instance, that there are so many servants and family members forced to serve there. And that there are enslaved gods there, forced to serve the god Itempas, and controlled by the Arameri. Yeine has very little time to learn enough to try to save her own life.
It took me a little bit to get into, because of all the unfamiliar names and places, but once I settled into the story it flew by. (Plus, I realized later that there’s a glossary in the back in case I forgot what a word meant).
Yeine is an awesome character – She was intelligent, tough, and bad-ass (I’m all about girls carrying knives), but she was also very compassionate. She felt badly for the servants in the world of the Arameri, she feels badly for the enslaved gods, and she does her darndest to protect those she cares about. She has a great sense of right and wrong.
The story wasn’t so much about the power struggle between her and her cousins for the throne. That actually kind of fell into the background as it became apparent that the conspiracies and intrigues surrounding the enslaved gods were more important. And the gods were some of my favorite characters – Nahadoth is creepy and insane and scary, but we see different sides of him. Sieh is most child-like, but he was also intelligent and sneaky and incredibly endearing. Even the other gods were interesting to read about, though not quite as fun. I really enjoyed reading about the Gods’ War. And I loved that the deceit and manipulation of the Itempas priests mirrored that of Catholicism and Christianity – the falsifying or destroying of historical records to suit their own purposes. It made the plight of the gods easier to relate to.
Overall, this book just has it all – great story, amazing characters, fantastic imagery, wonderful writing… I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel, The Broken Kingdoms.
Also while this isn’t THAT important – it’s nice to come across a book, especially a sci-fi book, that has a non-white girl as the heroine. I never really notice it, but 90% of the characters I read about are white, so the fact that Yeine is bi-racial made is just a bit more awesome.
Sarah Says: 4 stars