Yeine Darr is the estranged granddaughter of the ruler of the city of Sky, the most powerful man on the planet. Because Yeine's mother married a man from outside her people, the elite Arameri, she was exiled and Yeine has grown up outside of the palace of Sky. The Arameri rule the world through their use of god-like creatures known as the Enefadeh, which they have managed to enslave with magic.
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After her mother's death she is summoned by her grandfather Dekarta. She arrives arrives at the palace and is told that she is one of three potential heirs to the throne. Although she doesn't care for power she is given no choice but to participate in a contest to see who will rule, with the losers facing almost certain death.
The palace is forbidden after nightfall to anyone not bearing the mark of the Arameri and before Yeine can be marked, one of the other potential heirs, Scicima, manages to unleash one of the Enefadeh on her. Yeine flees but the creature catches up with her, before it can hurt her a different Enefadeh intervenes and saves her. Yeine discovers that the gods have their own political factions and aim to use her as a pawn as well.
Yeine suspects Dekarta is responsible for her mother's death. She tries to investigate while also finding alliances within the Arameri aristocracy and the Enefadeh gods to help her survive the battle for the throne. Nahadoth, the Night Lord, becomes obsessed with her and she becomes involved with him sexually. She spends nights with him, and learns how his kind were enslaved and how they are currently out of balance.
Yeine is approached by the third heir, Relad, and strikes a truce with her so they can team up on Scicima. She also manages to make friends with the palace steward, who is a half breed like her, and they have a brief romantic fling after leaving the palace together to enjoy some time among the commoners. He tries to help her by telling her palace secrets and explaining the pecking order and who she can trust.
After she spends more time among them learning about their past, the gods reveal to Yeine that she has a second soul, which is the fragment of a god. They reveal that it was implanted before her birth and belonged to their mother goddess. They promise Yeine they will help her if she can free them and she agrees.
On the day of the coronation itself, when the victor will be revealed, Yeine can use the soul in her to wield great magic but knows she risks death in the attempt. She also knows that setting the gods free is incredibly dangerous since their power is immense.
Best part of story, including ending:
The idea of using enslaved gods as weapons and deterrents is a wonderful fantasy idea.
Best scene in story:
When Nadatoth first reveals himself, he is terrifying and it makes you realize what a stupid idea enslaving a god really is.
Opinion about the main character:
She is very passive, she spends most of her time with people explaining things to her and telling her about their stories, pasts, and plans. Only at the very end does she take any action.