by N.K. Jemisin
New York : Orbit, 2010.
Yeine is a daughter of an heiress who abdicated and a man from a backwater tribe in the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. When her maternal grandfather invites her to Sky - the city and the palace - Yeine knows she cannot say no to someone with so much power, even if she wanted to. And while she doesn't know what her grandfather wants, she has a purpose of her own: to find out why her mother died.
It's hard to do justice to a story as complicated as The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms without giving away major plot points, so suffice it to say that the above merely scratches the surface of the plot. This is a debut and the first in a fantasy series with incredibly complex world-building, political intrigue, and its own system of religions. In this world, the Arameri are all-powerful and even the gods serve them. Yeine narrates her story as she navigates this new world, her sense of morality, and her determination over whether she will ever truly be an Arameri. She could be just a pawn, but her character is too fleshed out for that. The gods, too, have incredible character development, seeming at once human and otherworldly. While I often wrinkled my nose at the amorality (and, yes, immorality) of Sky and its people, I am intrigued enough to continue reading the series when The Broken Kingdoms is available.