Here are two seemingly contradictory statements regarding this book: 1) This book is the weakest in the series; and 2) It’s a good ending for the series. I don’t think these two statements actually contradict one another, but they’ll give you a good idea of my mental state during and after reading this book.
I think this book had two things working against it that weren’t quite overcome in the execution. First, it’s the only one of the trilogy whose main character is not mortal*. The protagonist is Sieh, the eldest child of the gods, the god of childhood and mischief. Sieh has had a rough time of it over the course of the previous books, and here it’s time for him to work out his issues. Still, because he’s a god, his perspective is more alien and harder to empathize with. And second, the book is about 150 pages too long. The other books were both just under 400 pages, and this one clocks in at 540 pages. I don’t mind long books, but this one dragged. It took about sixty pages to set up the main conflict, whereas the other books dove right in. And it took too long for everything to come to a head.
*Yeine and Oree were both mortal for the majority of their books, and Oree was always mortal, even when she found out she was a demon.
But with that said, I liked what Jemisin was going for here. Even if it didn’t quite work out, I liked that Sieh got the chance to grow up and mature, particularly since that’s not something you expect the god of childhood to do. The main arc of the book involves Sieh becoming involved with two mortal children, two Arameri twins. Their impulsive request for a bond of friendship causes Sieh to start becoming mortal, something that he wrestles with the rest of the book. His newfound mortality also causes him to reevaluate other parts of his life, even as the world threatens to erupt into chaos and war around him, not in small part due to something Sieh had a hand in eons before that now comes back to bite him in the ass.
I liked seeing Sieh’s growth, and his complicated relationship with the twins was interesting, but it didn’t touch me emotionally for most of the book, the way that the other two books did. The last 50-100 pages were pretty great, though. I thought the ending was great. It gave me a really satisfied feeling of completion, not just for this book and Sieh’s story, but for the trilogy as a whole. I can’t say any more than that with spoilers, but it does that thing that’s so rare in books where it manages to surprise you by doing the perfect thing that you really should have seen coming but somehow didn’t.
All in all, I’m really glad I read this series, and I can’t wait to check out N.K. Jemisin’s other stuff.