Just finished reading this last night.
I didn't find that the first person perspective bothered me. I actually found it what pulled me through to continue reading. It made sense, it was like someone relating a story and losing train of thought or missing important details that need to be returned to.
I think the gods were great characters and well fleshed out. Sieh and Nahadoth being some of my favourite characters in the book.
As for original? I'm not so sure, how many books are out there that have the same plot? The young, naive barbarian with a destiny that will lead them to rule all.
I think as a first novel, this author did amazing work. I plan to read the next book in the series and even if it's half as good as this first book, it will still be worth reading.
While I agree that the over all plot wasn't particularly original, but I did think the world she created had some original elements. While she used archetypal gods, I felt their situation was interesting. The manner in which Yeine gained her apotheosis was new, at least, for me it was. I bought the second book today, and will be reading it soon.
I finished this today, and when I came here to comment I found out Darksbane summed up my impressions pretty well: entertaining, decently written but not entirely convincing, especially in the passionate embraces parts.
Yeine was not exactly a convincing character, alteranting between rabbit caught in the headlights apathy and amazon warrior, but her style of confession / stream of consciousness storytelling made me more tolerant toward her.The gods were well inserted into the plot and the book had a quite good finish. The main attraction for me was the variation on the theme of Creation myths.
I will try the next book in this setting.
This is the first time I've read a BOTM pick on time and I have to say I also tend to agree with the folks who posted before me. It was surprisingly well written and I tore through it in a couple of days.
It was a typical scenario with this book for me - order arrived late, couldn't find the time to read it, had other books to finish first. Then, however, I had one of those lucky, rare occurrences: a spare day. So I sat down with a cup of teas, cracked the cover, and started reading. Lately I've had trouble with books holding my attention, but that wasn't an issue here: I managed to spend most of the day reading through the book.
The concept was what grabbed me. I don't tend to see too many books with such heavy, high powered magic at the fore. Having said that, I'm not sure we saw as much done with it as could have been. For example, while we see constant warnings about the repercussions of careless wording in requests to the gods, we never see the negative consequences (despite a large number of loosely worded requests). Having gods with bridled power as a core plot device was somewhat novel though.
With regards to the conversational style, I was very frustrated with myself about how long it took me to work out the reason for it being there. I'm embarrassed to admit it wasn't until well after the dual-soul reveal that I pieced things together
I find it very curious that there's a sequel - the story felt very self-contained to me, and I'm not sure there's anything I'd be interest in further reading about these characters - I think it's a lot trickier to write conflict with gods unrestricted in their use of power. Anyone enjoy the sequel enough to pitch it to me?
Its connected with the first book in that you get to see the fallout of what occurred at the end. You have a new protagonist named Oree who is blind but has the ability to see the "trace" of magic (I don't really have a better way of explaining it). I found the interactions between the godlings/ gods and humans to be more pronounced and in general found the characterization a little stronger. I don't really know how much else to say without spoiling things. But it ended up being one of my top reads for last year.
Also, typically the old King turns out to have a secretly "good" plan and be a good guy after all, which didn't happen.
It's sort of like in the Prince of Nothing trilogy, a unique slant on a common plot:
The special young man from the boonies who is trained and tutored to greatest by the old wizard. How many times have we seen that? Star Wars, anyone?
I also found the sequel even better and highly recommend it.
Better pacing. More even characterization, especially in comparing Oree to Yeine. An easier narrative voice, but still interesting. I was also more interested in the dynamic between godlings and humans in the first book than I was in the politics, which is more pronounced in the second. Less of the not so well done intimate scenes. I was also interested to see how Itempas handled his fate in the first book, which is shown in the second. And some other small things.
I didn't find it a lot better, but if you enjoyed the first I suspect you'd enjoy the second.
Additionally, I believe if you read the second novel without having read the first it would be an entirely different read. You probably wouldn't guess right off who Shiny is for instance. Which I found an interesting technique.
But more importantly, Jemisin presented what would have been the obvious and traditional fantasy solution, basically exactly what I was expecting, but much earlier and then I would have expected, and it DIDN'T work. So, that opened up actual suspense as to how the issues were going to be resolved. And there was another fairly obvious fantasy technique that I thought would be pulled out as the trump card, and it wasn't. So it was fun for me not knowing pretty much how the author was going to resolve the issues.
In that respect it reminded me of the early Thomas Covenant books where spoiler alert for the 1st six Covenant booksSpoiler:
you keep expecting Covenant to finally blaze up with the power of the white-gold and smite his enemies ferociously, but he never does. Okay he did once. But you know what I mean. Anyway, he achieved his goal in a way I didn't expect.