From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Convoluted without being dense, Jemisin's engaging debut grabs readers right from the start. Yeine desires nothing more than a normal life in her barbarian homeland of Darr. But her mother was of the powerful Arameri family, and when Yeine is summoned to the capital city of Sky a month after her mother's murder, she cannot refuse. Dakarta, her grandfather and the Arameri patriarch, pits her against her two cousins as a potential heir to the throne. In an increasingly deep Zelaznyesque series of political maneuverings, Yeine, nearly powerless but fiercely determined, finds potential allies among her relatives and the gods who are forced to live in Sky as servants after losing an ancient war. Multifaceted characters struggle with their individual burdens and desires, creating a complex, edge-of-your-seat story with plenty of funny, scary, and bittersweet twists. (Mar.)
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Yeine Darr, mourning the murder of her mother, is summoned to the magnificent and beautiful city of Sky by the king, her grandfather. He names her his heir but has already assigned that role to both his niece and his nephew, so what he’s now done is set up a competitive and thorny three-way power struggle. Yeine, looking more like her Darre father than her Arameri mother, may be a baroness in the Arameri world, but in the matriarchal North she is a chieftain of her people. She is also terrified and fascinated by the gods who roam Sky, including the nocturnally monstrous Nahadoth and the childlike Sieh. In just a few days, Yeine discovers that every action has consequences when she inadvertently sets up Darre to be attacked and realizes that her role in the succession to the throne may be that of a human sacrifice. This complex tale of politics, assassination, racism, and gods too intimately involved in the lives of humans is a challenging read and a notable authorial debut. --Diana Tixier Herald