I love N. K. Jemisin’s The Inheritance Trilogy (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods). If you like speculative fiction I can not recommend this series enough. Even if you think you don’t like speculative fiction you should read this for the sheer joy of reading a story that is so well written. I first came across N. K. Jemisin’s writing through a short story collection Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories (2011). Her short story “The Effulent Engine” featured strong, intelligent women, and I was hooked.
As a reader I love stories that pull me deep into the character’s world. Ms. Jemisin creates a world that is rich with conflict, full of complex characters coping with cultural beliefs, manipulation, grief, oppression, murder, betrayal, and love.
The environment that the characters live, love, and die in is essential to good story telling. So many speculative writers lose focus when it comes to the world their characters live in, taking short cuts, they end up creating a cardboard world. That is not the case here. Ms. Jemisin creates a world that is original, enchanting, and essential to the the story. Her writing is tight, focused, and a pleasure to read, the writing never distracts from the story.
As a writer this is what I have learned from reading N. K. Jemisin:
1. Main characters come in all genders, shapes and sizes.
2. Create your own world, make it real, make it sing to your readers souls.
3. Speculative fiction is custom made to explore complex issues.
4. Write tight, make every word count.
5. Weave environment and culture into your story.