Jemisin, N. K. -- The Kingdom of Gods

Third book (and concluding volume, although the previous two stand alone) in series about cranky deities. It has only now occurred to me that Jemisin gives us the first interesting theological alternative to Worshippers-Give-Them-Power since Pratchett filched that trope from Lankhmar's purse. These gods do fine without worshippers (although some enjoy the sensation); what they need is to be true to their Aspect. Thus, our protagonist Sieh, the god of childhood, literally gains mana from playing tag, throwing tantrums, or jumping on the bed. And yet he is an ancient being who watched his parent-gods create the human race; his tantrums have devastated cities. Kudos to the author for seeing that there's a whole novel's worth of potential just in that setup.

The book has an A-plot, nonetheless, involving a scheme to overthrow the Arameri aristocracy. One will not be surprised to find some commentary on privilege and power. The conclusions to all these threads felt just a little overblown, sketchy, and/or precious (depending on how seriously you take devastated cities). Nonetheless, the character relationships carry the book. I include the internal relationships between the gods and their natures, between the gods as vast immanent beings and as people-like-us. (It is no accident that each book in the series shows one of the gods being forced to live at the mortal level, in some way.) Very well done.

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