Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. JemisinThe Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
Series: The Inheritance Trilogy #1
Published by Orbit on 2010-02-25
Genres: Action & Adventure, Epic, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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five-stars

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together.

In the midst of reading the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin several people asked me how I liked it so far. Y’all this book reminds me of why I love fantasy. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms has it all: magic, impossible odds, Gods, privilege, power, intrigue, politics. Yeine, still grieving over her mother’s murder is summoned by the ruler of the hundred thousand kingdoms and head of the elite race of people called Arameri, her grandfather Dekarta, to what is known as Sky, a building that is basically in the sky. She is one of the contenders for the throne. Yeine was raised in Darre, a barbaric country by Arameri standards. She is not used to courtly intrigue. What ensues is one of the most engaging stories I have read in a long time.

Jemisin completely succeeds in world building. There are many different races of people in this book, as with many fantasy novels. HOWEVER unlike other fantasies I’ve read being of a dark race does not automatically equal bad or evil or slave holder. ALSO the world building does not follow the info dumpy format. Instead we get a gradual picture of the world Jemisin sets her tale in. The religion in this book is quite interesting, we don’t go too in-depth with religious customs. However, one gets the basic tenets. There are 3 gods. One god is the plaything of mortals, trapped in a human body because of a crime committed thousands of years ago. THEN there is the sigil system in which class is denoted on the head by a symbol.

I also really enjoyed the characterization. These characters are nuanced and complex. For example, although dead the whole book, Yeine’s mother takes on an interesting role as Yeine tries to get to the bottom of who her murderer is. Along the way, she discovers a whole new side to her mother. Then there is Nahadoth who is the god of darkness. Nahadoth who teeters on the brink of madness, and is a mass of contradictions. THEN there is Sieh, the child godling who is physically young but old in the regard of years lived. Yet, despite being immortal Sieh has the brain of a child. Not to mention T’vril who is the top servant, yet only a servant due to the sins of his father. THEN of course, there is Yeine herself who is vulnerable, yet strong. Who refuses to lose her soul to the viper pit of the Arameri.

One of the great things about The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is it’s exploration of privilege. It explores what it is to have status and also what it is to not be among the privilege. As this is told from Yeine’s point of view it is unique in that Yeine goes from having no status to being an acknowledged full-blood high born. We see the differences in the way people are treated. Although the Arameri consider every other race beneath their dignity and savage, we see the Arameri are not quite so benevolent as all that. A cruel group of people, forcing it’s members into what is almost a caste system, I think the Arameri are fascinating.

I can’t recommend The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin enough, and will be seeking out the next book in this trilogy soon.

Read as part of The PoC Challenge AND The Women of Fantasy Book Club.

Other Reviews:

See Michelle Read
SFF Chat
Opinionated, Me?
The Book Smugglers

five-stars
About April (Books&Wine)

April is 30 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and baby, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. I’ve been back and forth on whether or not to pick this one up, you just convinced me =)

  2. I read this at the end of last year and looooooooooooooooved it!

  3. I don’t read nearly enough straight fantasy these days, and my life is sorely lacking without it. I really love things that remind me why I loved LotR in the first place, you know? Excellent review, April…I really need this in my hands 🙂

  4. Fifteen trillion enticing reviews of this book later, I am still seventh on the wait list for this book at the library. I don’t understand why they only ordered five copies and sent one of them to Staten Island.

  5. I can’t wait to read this one. I bought it over the holidays (along with a handful of other books) with a Xmas gift card at an independent book store – just about the best gift this girl could ask for! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  6. This book is so good. I loved it The next book is just as good.

  7. I think you are just trying to make me buy books missy. I will not lose the book diet!

  8. This is a really good review! It makes me want to read the book now. It’s already on my wishlist so it means I’ve heard good things about it. Right now, I’m working on the books in my TBR pile but I’ll pick this one up when I’m craving for some good fantasy.

  9. I read this book last year and really enjoyed it. I’m hoping to read the 2nd book in a couple of months.
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