Praise for the Broken Earth
…N.K. Jemisin’s intricate and extraordinary world-building starts with oppression: Her universes begin by asking who is oppressing whom, what they are gaining, what they fear. Systems of power stalk her protagonists, often embodied as gods and primeval forces, so vast that resistance seems impossible even to contemplate. When escape comes in her novels, it is not a merely personal victory, or the restoration of a sketchy and soft-lit status quo. Her heroes achieve escape velocity, smashing through oppressive systems and leaving them behind like shed skins.
Starred Review! Jemisin’s graceful prose and gritty setting provide the perfect backdrop for this fascinating tale of determined characters fighting to save a doomed world. Readers hungry for the next installment will also find ample satisfaction in rereading this one.
Starred Review! Multiaward winner Jemisin breaks uncharted ground with this long-awaited title that introduces a fresh world and trilogy, creating a completely realized society inhabited by three varieties of humans and a nonhuman species that lives inside the earth. With Jemisin’s record of prestigious literary honors, plus her strong following, this is a must-buy for all speculative fiction collections and an excellent recommendation for fans of Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn” trilogy.
Praise for the Dreamblood
Starred Review! The second book of the Dreamblood series is even better than the first, with two utterly compelling primary characters and a strong supporting cast.
Starred Review! This story, set in a world inspired by Africa and the Middle East, shines for its remarkable characters and graceful prose. Jemisin’s fans and readers who enjoy China Miéville, Daniel Abraham, and Mike Resnick will embrace her attention to detail and the love of storytelling that infuses this novel.
Starred Review! Jemisin’s gripping series launch immerses readers in an unfamiliar but enthralling world as well as a rousing political and supernatural adventure. … Rather than merely appropriating various details from Earth’s past and present, Jemisin (the Inheritance Trilogy) has created a fully developed secondary world that is an organic whole.
Jemisin’s patient world-building and extraordinary attention to detail help frame and propel the complex plot, and she weaves subtle, emotionally complex relationships between the main characters.
Praise for The Kingdom of Gods
Publishers Weekly (Spoilers!)
Jemisin is as talented as ever, and the focus on desperate longing lends the series thematic unity. There is room for sequels but no need for them, allowing Jemisin to move on to new frontiers.
The Kingdom of Gods corroborates what those who read its predecessors already surmised: N. K. Jemisin is a true superstar of fantasy literature. The Inheritance Trilogy may well be the single most intriguing fantasy series I have ever read, and I cannot wait to see what Jemisin has in store for us in her future novels.
Praise for The Broken Kingdoms
Everything is just cooler this time around — the setting, the characters, and the storytelling. Instead of spending the whole book trapped inside the somewhat sterile confines of the Arameri court, like we did in the first book, we get out into the city formerly known as Sky (now called Shadow, because it’s in the shadow of a great magical tree.) The city is a fascinating place, full of merchants, soldiers… and mischievous godlings, demigods who are underfoot everywhere due to the events in the first book. Shadow feels like a place you’d want to spend a lot of time — except that you’d probably fall afoul of some of the town’s more mischievous, or outright predatory, inhabitants.
Starred Review New authors often falter when following up on a noteworthy debut, but Jemisin proves more than up to the challenge… Hesitant, impoverished Oree is very different from Jemisin’s previous heroine, politician-princess Yeine, and she proves just as compelling as she investigates the murder and her own mysterious heritage. Returning fans will especially appreciate certain details, but this novel stands on its own and is worth reading purely for its own strengths.
Yes, the same elements that powered the first book fuel The Broken Kingdoms: exceptional world building and character development; a plethora of philosophical, provocative themes (the ability, or lack thereof, to change; the hypocrisy of organized religion; what it means to be human; etc.); and an engaging and endearing female heroine. But it’s the intense and at times brutal relationship between Oree and her mysterious housemate that make this novel a truly intimate read.
Other reviews tracked here
Praise for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, out Feb. 25, is an impressive debut, which revitalizes the trope of empires whose rulers have gods at their fingertips. It feels suitably big, and yet incredibly intimate as well. And we can’t wait to read the other two volumes of the Inheritance Trilogy.
Debut fantasy features an intriguing, well-drawn mythology. At first glance, the basic plot may seem standard: A young woman, narrator/protagonist Yeine Darr, is named heir to the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which plunges her into a power struggle with two rival cousins. But Jemisin’s world-building and attention to detail raise this story to another level. In the novel’s complex but well-defined universe, a war between the gods took place in the distant past. The losing divinities were punished severely and forced to become the slaves of mortal humans. Yeine’s life becomes increasingly entangled with these subjugated gods as she navigates royal politics and tries to uncover the truth about her family history. Jemisin lavishes considerable care on her fictional universe, but she also creates a subtle, emotionally complex character in the thoughtful Yeine. Readers will definitely look forward to future installments of the projected Inheritance Trilogy. An offbeat, engaging tale by a talented and original newcomer.
Top Pick! This is an astounding debut novel. The worldbuilding is solid, the characterization superb, the plot complicated yet clear. Yeine is a fantastic protagonist, and her journey toward her destiny is compelling and memorable. The secondary characters are equally well done, and all the details of the world come together for a cohesive and diverse whole. Look no further for an original and thought-provoking novel.
Starred Review!When her mother dies mysteriously, outcast barbarian Yeine Darr answers a summons to the grand city of Sky from her grandfather, King Dekarta Arameri. Proclaimed one of three heirs to the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Yeine must learn the customs of the skyborne capital and its ruling elite before she succumbs to their treachery. Debut author Jemisin creates a mesmerizingly exotic world where fallen gods serve as slaves to the ruling class and murder and ambition go hand in hand. VERDICT: An engaging heroine and a fresh take on traditional dynastic fantasy make this trilogy opener a delight for the fantasy reader and introduce a strong new voice to the genre.
Starred Review! Convoluted without being dense, Jemisin’s engaging debut grabs readers right from the start. Yeine desires nothing more than a normal life in her “barbarian” homeland of Darr. But her mother was of the powerful Arameri family, and when Yeine is summoned to the capital city of Sky a month after her mother’s murder, she cannot refuse. Dakarta, her grandfather and the Arameri patriarch, pits her against her two cousins as a potential heir to the throne. In an increasingly deep Zelaznyesque series of political maneuverings, Yeine, nearly powerless but fiercely determined, finds potential allies among her relatives and the gods who are forced to live in Sky as servants after losing an ancient war. Multifaceted characters struggle with their individual burdens and desires, creating a complex, edge-of-your-seat story with plenty of funny, scary, and bittersweet twists.
Other reviews tracked here.
Open Road Media: An interview that I did for the folks at Open Road Media to help celebrate the reprinting of Octavia Butler’s Dawn in ebook format. Ended up in several of their vids: Celebrating Dawn and a profile of Butler’s legacy are my faves.
Salon:“If Tolkien Were Black”: A Salon reporter interviews me and David Anthony Durham on the recent incursions of people of color into epic fantasy, a traditionally Eurocentric bastion.
Book Banter:Podcast interview done in December 2010.
Publishers Weekly:Online excerpt of an interview printed in the September 19 issue.
Locus Roundtable:Awesome six-page discussion of my work by some pretty big-name folks in the industry. Wow.
Nebula 2010: In which I had even more to say, apparently.
Locus: Online excerpt of an interview printed in the August 2010 issue.
Speculate SF: A interview with me by the folks at Speculate, in March of 2011. Spoilers for the Inheritance Trilogy!
Forbidden Planet: A video interview I did at a signing with fellow Orbit fantasy author Karen Miller.
Fantasy Magazine: The Sky’s Not the Limit: The Ascension of N. K. Jemisin
Clarkesworld: Another interview with just me, by Jeremy Jones in April 2010.
Fantasy Book Critic: An interview with Mihir Wanchoo in April 2010.
Nebula 2009: An interview with me by Larry Nolen, formerly at the Nebula website, now archived at SFWA.org.
Praise for my short stories:
From io9‘s Charlie Jane Anders, on “Non-Zero Probabilities”:
I love Jemisin’s clipped prose, especially as it shows her main character internalizing the sense that you can control your fate if you load up on lucky signifiers and avoid unlucky ones… The whole thing is well checking out… unless you’re already too scared of bad luck.
From Quasar Dragon, on “Cloud Dragon Skies”:
Reminiscent of several Ursula Le Guin stories, “Cloud Dragon Skies” is both enjoyable and intriguing.
From Tangent Online‘s Nicole McClain, on “Bittersweet”:
Jemisin crafts a world that is both familiar—a la the inhospitable mining locales found in The Crystal Singer series by Anne McCaffrey—and not…. But the story is aptly named, and the characters and world building are well-done.
From the Carl Brandon Society‘s 2006 Awards and Recommended Reading List, for “Cloud Dragon Skies”:
[Jemisin’s] deft handling of the protagonist’s voice and her inner conflicts perfectly filter the larger issues of technology vs. natural order, and the consequences of humanity’s choices in this battle. Though dealing with broader concepts, the story never loses sight of the personal struggle and ramifications on an individual level, and provides a beautifully wrought conclusion to the dilemma with a melancholic weight that truly gives life to this unique character.
From Locus‘s Rich Horton, on “The Narcomancer”:
The new online magazine Helix offers a particularly good third issue. Among several strong stories I’ll mention particularly… “The Narcomancer,” by N.K. Jemisin, a fairly traditionally shaped story, very well done, about a man who brings peace to those who need it by easing their way to death — at considerable personal cost, which cost is revealed as he is sent to “heal” a family torn by internal strife (rivalry between an older and younger wife) and by external strife (mysterious bandits).
From Tangent Online‘s Carole Ann Moleti, on “The Narcomancer”:
There is an underlying sense of yin and yang—the blending of the female and male aspects of every human being—with an allusion to bisexuality. The unpleasant topics of rape, sexual abuse, euthanasia, and capital punishment are swathed inside the poetry and philosophy of this world. I saw allusions to Wicca, Buddhism, and other religious teachings in this beautifully written, gentle story, effecting a fantastic journey to a discovery of higher truths and the role of spirituality along the path.
From The Speculative Literature Foundation, judge Tiffany Jonas, in the writeup of the 2004 Travel Grant Award, on “L’Alchimista”:
[N. K. Jemisin]’s story sample was the standout. With a cultural and culinary emphasis reminiscent of Joanne Harris (Chocolat, Five Quarters of an Orange), the characters jump off the page, and the reader can nearly taste the garlic and onion, the seared meat, and the pappardelle.
From The Fix‘s Paul S. Jenkins, on “Red Riding-Hood’s Child”:
Retelling the tale of Red Riding-Hood as a direct parallel to traditional vampire stories makes “Red Riding-Hood’s Child” a rewarding listen. Though it contains explicit sexual references, these are skilfully handled to avoid jarring or crassness. In essence, this is a simple tale with a large dose of fantasy, well written by N. K. Jemisin and given a smooth reading by Rajan Khanna. The ending, though a little abrupt, is suitably conclusive.