The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms absolutely hooked me, yet left me with little reason and less desire to read the sequels (it’s the first in a trilogy, apparently). The world building is superb, if limited to a small segment of the world’s society: magic heavy, high fantasy with cutthroat politics and fallen gods roaming an impossible palace in the sky.
But at the end, the main character, Yeine, turns into a goddess. This is after learning that she’d been implanted as a fetus with the soul of a murdered goddess (sort of Kali-like goddess – representing both birth/life and death) and also having mind blowing sex with an enslaved god (the brother/lover of the murdered goddess) named Nahadoth, but more commonly called the Nightlord. This ending had a consequence of upturning the structure of world we’d been introduced to, as well as taking most of the characters we’d come to know best out of play. Because the world we’d experience was such a small segment, there was no real sense of the impact of the changes and, one a micro level, there was a very real sense of disappointment that these folks we’d come to know would probably not be around for the sequel. So, a well done standalone novel for me, but a poor start to a series.
I do want to give the author credit for making the hero a woman of color with healthy attitude towards to sex (which is not to say promiscuous) who is not particularly physically attractive. It doesn’t quite pass the Bechdel test, but that’s nitpicking.