I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Awakened Kingdom by N.K. Jemisin
Series: The Inheritance Trilogy #3.5
Published: 2014 by Orbit
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The Awakened Kingdom is a novella set in the same world as N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy. The Three gods that rule the universe have been in mourning since the loss of their son Sieh, the Trickster God. Hoping to fill the void, they give birth to a new godling who calls herself Schill. Schill realizes she can’t fill the role that Sieh did, and she is upset that her parents are still hurt and that she can’t seem to make it better. In an attempt to find her own nature, Schill travels to the mortal realm, which is entirely outside of her own experiences. There she meets a young man named Eino, who similarly cannot be who society wants him to be because the social structures simply won’t allow it. Eino wants to be a warrior, wants to dance, wants to be in control of his own destiny. But among the Darre, a matriarchal warrior society in transition, men are seen as chattel.
It’s intriguing to see stereotypical gender roles reversed within The Awakened Kingdom. When you think about most of Western history, women are subjugated and men are the military and economic leaders. Within Jemisin’s world, it’s completely the opposite, although the characters must learn to reach a similar conclusion, which is that society as a whole is stronger if you aren’t repressing half of the population.
I loved Schill’s voice. She’s a very very very young godling, and although gods learn and mature faster than humans, she’s still very much a child. Here’s an example of what her character is like:
I did not mean to break that planet it was just in the way when I came into being and I fixed it and I said I was sorry and the planet said OK so since I’m supposed to learn from stuff like that I will tell you don’t break planets, especially the ones with living things on them, or at least fix them if you do break them. Also, don’t go into black holes, no matter how much they look like cute little Nahas. They are not cute! They are actually very bitey and kind of mean. Also just OK I do not want to talk about any of this anymore.
Isn’t she delightful? Each of the books in the Inheritance Trilogy was narrated by a different character, and each of them had their own unique voice. You can’t confuse Yeine or Oree or Sieh or Schill. They’re so very different from each other and have different thoughts, values, and perspectives on life.
The Awakened Kingdom was a pleasant return to a world that I’ve grown to love through Jemisin’s earlier novels. If you enjoyed The Inheritance Trilogy, you should definitely pick it up.