I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book. I’d read the summary when it was first announced, but that did nothing for me except make me go, ‘huh?’ But, when an author writes four good books in a row (and some of those I would actually consider “great”), you lend them a little trust and just go with whatever they publish, until it bites you. Leckie’s books have yet to bite me, no matter how weird or outside the box she gets while writing them.
This is a fantasy, mostly set in an alternate what I think is supposed to be an analogue to Morocco? and the stretch of water between the southern coast of Spain, but I’m not positive, and if you have better info than me, please share. And anyway, nothing about the culture of these people relates to ours, so that might just be pointless speculation on my part.
This is a world full of Gods, both big and small, Gods who gain power from belief. Gods who are *created* by belief. And our narrator is a God: The Strength and Patience of the Hill, who is physically present in the world as a large rock. He is actually really great, and I thought it was so fun and interesting to be in his head. The narrative bounces back and forth between the present day—when he is telling the story to one of the other characters, Eolo (so it’s not a true second person)—and flashbacks in the first person, all the way from his very first memories, leading up to present day. And because he is a God, one of the first it would seem, the span of those flashbacks is pretty epic.
I’ve never really read a fantasy like this before. I think I would have enjoyed the story anyway, because it’s full of intrigue and feeling and casual diversity (SPOILERS the secondary main character, Eolo, is actually a trans man, but you don’t find out until over halfway through END SPOILERS) and philosophical meanderings, but with the added oomph of being narrated by a god, I just ended up having a really great time with it.
My only complaint is that I thought the ending was weirdly anticlimactic. I’m not sure what else I wanted from it, and other people who liked it don’t seem to have had that problem, but I ended the book being slightly unsatisfied and wanting just a little bit more. Still, in my opinion if you’re a fantasy fan, well worth reading.