I thought I knew what to expect from the snippet I read at the end of Book 1, but wow this story just kept me on my toes. We follow only with another first person narrator, this time Oree Shoth, a blind painter from the south.
It really really helps to have read the first book, and recently. BUT I could also see how watching even more mystery unfold along with Oree could be fun. And despite the tragedy and upheaval that Oree has faced before and keeps facing in this story, she is FUN. Most of what I highlighted were her wry observations and sarcastic one-liners.
We have a mostly new cast of characters 10 years after the gods broke free of human Arameri domination. The one-time sun god leader, Itempas, has been in mortal form the whole time. He has become a fixture in Oree's life, despite mutual disdain. This story works as an adventure wrapped around a mystery -conspiracy. Yes, with a dash of romance that's well-designed and not distracting.
I see is the star of the show, even more than Yeine was in Book 1. She is capable, strong, compassionate, and like I said before, funny. But she also makes mistakes, gets hurt and can hold a grudge. Her narration is a well-used device and frames the story wonderfully. Also, the subtle touches on hair and skin color are a welcome refresher the lily-fair fantasy of old. Gotta love author diversity!
I feared up with the last page, it was just so poignant and hopeful. Jemisin just builds up characters and plots and delivers delightful twists. Ready for Book 3!