Monday, February 17, 2014

Read-Along: The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin, Part 2

The read-along continues with the second part of N.K. Jemisin's The Kingdom of Gods! This week, the questions were provided by Violin in a Void, and they cover up through chapter 10.  Beware of spoilers below!

1. Do you think Shahar can keep her childhood promise and be a good person and an Arameri?

I suppose that depends on how strict one keeps the definition of a “good person”.  She is not without compassion, but she is shaping up to how her family operates.  For instance, she was going to threaten genocide to get her way, until Sieh shamed her out of it.  She argues she would never actually do it, but using that as a threat is pretty serious.

Also, her betrayal of Sieh was just a disaster.  She must have suspected that bearing his child would kill him, based on their earlier discussions of childhood. When she told Sieh, I’m not sure what she expected to accomplish; maybe it was just a failed attempt to do the right thing. Sieh himself seemed to believe it was a ploy to get him to kill her mother, at least until Shahar nearly sacrificed herself to save her. 

Right now, I guess, she’s mostly just young, inexperienced and doesn’t always seem to think through the consequences of her actions.  She has a lot of negative influences and not many positive, so I’m not sure if she’ll be able to keep that from affecting her.

2. The Arameri family has changed drastically and now we learn they're being systematically killed off. Do you like the changes? Do you feel sorry for the family or are they getting what they deserve?

I didn’t really notice this in the first section, but it makes sense that so much would have changed. They’ve lost the Enefadeh, and they’ve made a lot of enemies over the years.  I would hesitate to say they’re getting what they deserve, though.  They may be getting what their ancestors deserve, but it’s starting to look like the modern-day Arameri are not exactly like their ancestors.  I guess that means I like the changes, and I don’t think the whole family deserves to die based solely on their legacy.

3. Any theories on the antagonist that Sieh meets in his dream?

Right now, my wild theory is that it is Dekarta.  We know that Dekarta surprisingly and luckily had magical talent that was discovered shortly after their disastrous declaration of friendship.  Could it be possible that when Sieh became part mortal, Deka became part god?  Maybe the other Arameri don’t even realize it.  If so, his existence could now be linked to Sieh in some way.

4. Religious belief in the city and the palace has changed a lot, as have humans' relationships with the gods. Thoughts? What might your beliefs be if you lived in Sky/Shadow?

I think the Primortalist’s beliefs make sense.  The gods in this world clearly exist, but they just as clearly don’t always have the best interests of their mortal followers at heart.

5. Sieh's not quite the charming boy god we saw in book 1. How do you feel about his character at the moment?

I think he is probably not all that different in temperament than he was in the first book.  He had been killing Arameri here and there the whole time he was enslaved, so that’s not exactly new.  He also doesn’t think about consequences, acts on impulse, and is still very easy to set off.  Yeine saw a very different side of him, but that doesn’t mean this side didn’t exist, then, too.  I think he’s a really interesting protagonist, but he's not someone I would ever want to meet!

6. Should Sieh work for Ahad?

I think Ahad was right about his potential as a courtesan, so a resounding ‘no’ in that sense.  I think he should work for Ahad in some way, though, and stick around.  It looks like his relationship with Ahad could teach him a lot about his relationships with Shahar and Itempas.  I hope that he and Ahad can come through the wrong Sieh did to him to some kind of understanding, and that will help him figure out how to deal with the other people in his life.

I was a little confused about what happened when Sieh and Ahad merged.  If I understood correctly, Ahad was not Sieh’s biological son. I think that the problem was that Ahad thought of Sieh as a father, since Sieh kind of raised him.  Maybe it was made worse because Sieh had corresponding fatherly feelings?  In any case, it was nice of Ahad to reinforce that they were brothers, to keep Sieh safe. 


  1. 1. I think the way Shahar used genocide as a threat is a good indicator of what a messed up, elitist family the Arameri are. She seems to think she's a decent person simply because she wouldn't actually do it and doesn't realise how horrible it is to threaten people with genocide until Sieh calls her on it. I think it'll be hard for her to break the mould, not only because her family tries to force her to behave a certain way, but because she's been raised with an Arameri mindset.

    3. Interesting idea, I've been wondering if that'd be possible for Dekarta too. Also a bit suspicious that no one's seen him in ages.

    5. Hehe, yeah, Sieh's a bit too unpredictable for my tastes too. He might just throw a tantrum and decide to kill you.

    6. That's how I understand Sieh and Ahad's relationship too. They had something that resembled a father/son relationship but it's actually dangerous for Sieh to think of it as such. Nevertheless, I think it took its toll on him .

  2. 1. Yeah, her idea of what 'decent' means is probably affected by having grown up as an Arameri in Sky. I still hope she'll be able to find a way to break out of her upbringing.

    I've already read the next section now, so I'll avoid commenting further on Ahad and Dekarta :).

  3. Good point about Shahar being young and inexperienced, not fully aware of the consequences. She is making mistakes while trying to make it all better, all right, all good.

    Weird! That would be an interesting plot twist if the stranger was Deka, having been turned part immortal when Sieh was turned part mortal. And no one at Sky really knows what his magical abilities are.

    In Book 1, Sieh definitely wanted something from Yeine. Well, a few things - freedom, his mom, etc. But he saw part of Enefa in Yeine and I think that if Sieh was going to behave for anyone, it would be her. So, maybe part manipulation, and maybe part natural inclination.

    1. That's true. He loved Yeine, so it makes sense he would tend to be nice towards her naturally, too.