In the sixth chapter of The Kingdom of Gods, Sieh realizes who might be behind the rash of Arameri murders, and HOLY SHIT THIS IS GOING TO BE A BLOODBATH, ISN’T IT? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read The Kingdom of Gods.
And yet, despite that I recognize what a huge deal this is, I still have no clue what’s going on. Like, I feel like I can’t even begin to understand the scope of this novel, and wow, that’s so exciting. I love this feeling! I mean, The Kingdom of Gods starts out with a shocker, obviously, but the loss of Sieh’s mortality is BARELY THE BEGINNING, and I’m really eager to find out more about what’s at work here.
There’s more worldbuilding in chapter six (OF THE LAST BOOK, WHICH I LOVE BECAUSE JEMISIN KEEPS MAKING THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS MORE AND MORE COMPLEX) that involves the Arameri’s relationship with the High North. Shahar, ever the dutiful Arameri heir, is set to attend a dinner to hopefully smooth over trade issues. In the grand scheme of things, it seemed fairly inconsequential to me, as if it was there simply to show us that life for Shahar continued amidst the murders and Sieh’s predicament. However, Shahar drops a shocker when she reveals that she’s going to ask Hynno, who she’s having dinner with, who killed her cousins. Yeah, I was bewildered, too. How the hell would she know? I love that it’s through this that we learn more about the High North, about how the Order of Itempas is running out of money to educate children, and why Shahar suspects certain parties in the High North. BUT LORD:
“So I’m taking your advice and issuing a challenge. I’m going to tell them to kill me before I assume leadership of the family, or I will destroy the whole of High North to deal with the threat.”
!!!!! WELL, THAT’S ONE WAY TO DEAL WITH IT. Holy shit, what the hell, Shahar??? I mean, what if she’s wrong? What if it’s none of the High North? That’s the first thought that popped in my head, which is why I wasn’t that surprised when Sieh called Shahar out for relying on Arameri genocide to create a believable bluff. Because that’s what she’s doing, right? I mean, I think Sieh is spot-on. How can Shahar expect nations not to hate her even if she’s just bluffing about wiping a continent off the map? It’s not like it’s an implausible suggestion, you know. Granted, they don’t have the power of the gods on their side anymore, but still. The Arameri are known for killing their adversaries without a second thought.
However, things are immediately complicated (both for Sieh and the reader) when Shahar reveals that the Arameri are being systematically killed off. The recent attacks with the masks? They’re just the latest in FIFTY YEARS OF ARAMERI DEATHS.
“It started long ago. Probably a few decades after you and the other Enefadeh broke free. All the collateral lines of the family, the ones we left free to manage businesses or simply bring in new blood â€“ It was subtle at first. Children dying of odd diseases, young wives and husbands turning up fertile, accidents, natural disasters. The lines died out. We apportioned their estates to allies or resumed control of them ourselves.”
I’m just FASCINATED by this because Jemisin is taking perhaps the most unsympathetic group of people and doing something to them that’s complicated and upsetting. Are we to feel sorry for the hundreds or thousands of Arameri who have died in the past fifty years, or do we simply assume this is their comeuppance? Emotionally, why should we even care about this happening? It’s not like the average reader wants the Arameri to stay in power. And even if a godling is revolting against Yeine’s declaration not to get revenge, aren’t they sort of entitled to having that kind of closure? They were slaves for thousands of years. Why should we worried about their vengeance?
WELL, THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO CARE:
Because if the godlings revolted against the gods, the gods would fight back, as they had done when threatened by the demons long ago. But godlings were not as fragile as demons, and many of us had no vested interest in keeping the mortal realm safe. That would mean a second Gods’ War, worse than the first one.
HOLY HELL, WHAT DID THIS BOOK JUST BECOME?
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