The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
on February 25th 2010
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Friendship, Paranormal Romance
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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.
What a strange book. When I try to reason out why I enjoyed it I kind of can, but then I start thinking about how to explain it and it seems like my reasons fall apart. I enjoyed it enough to read late and put aside my school work to get just one more chapter in, but yet I’m not over the moon about it.
The story itself is really interesting and the many cultures described are intriguing. Darren women are a high point of the story, which is what our main character identifies as. They’re a matriarchal people and warriors to boot. The men are to be protected and raise the children – it was really fun to step into their world and envision what it would be like to be them.
The fluid sexual climate in this book was pretty awesome. Yeine is not going to be deflowered or put off by her desire to seek comfort for the sake of the act, and I loved that.
The characters all generally pulled me in for the most part… sort of. I liked T’vril a lot, Yeine, Nahadoth, as well as Sieh, but yet…
I Liked Less:
The characters all seemed like they could have been a little more. More depth, more grey areas to wade through, more of something. I don’t want to say they’re undeveloped but they didn’t exactly shine for me either. Even though all in all I enjoyed myself reading this book I never fully connected with anyone. I liked them ok, but nobody made me want to cry, I didn’t catch myself smiling at something someone did, I didn’t wish for a relationship to form, none of the things I usually need to really love a story. I’m pretty lukewarm about them all.
In fact, most of my good points also have a little negative to them.
The sexual freedom had a little weirdness when it came to the gods. I mean, I get that they’re immortal beings and blah blah blah, but it was just weird when Sieh would say how he’d lain with Nahadoth – his father. Perhaps it was never meant as a sexual act, but more metaphysical since Nahadoth is a god and they all lesser ones themselves, but the implication that they all (the gods) get it on with each other was slightly unnerving. They’re all related… again, I know this isn’t human relations, but like I said – it was a bit off putting.
I can’t decide where to put the writing at – did I like it, or not really? I had to like it a little of course, but it was pretty slow. Even the parts that should have elicited a bunch of emotion were kind of flat for me, really. Monotone-ish.
I went ahead and got the second book because the ending for this one makes it difficult to not want to continue the story right away (and the ending was odd for me, too), and I’m hoping it’ll create stronger feelings on my end.
When it’s all said and done I think I’d still recommend this, but it wouldn’t be the first fantasy I’d think of telling someone to stop missing out on.
Co-blogger at The Book Geek
Hi, guys! I'm a book reviewer and liberal arts student studying gender and sociology. I have a deep love of fiction & fantasy because it's the best escape ever and only way I'll get to travel worlds. Connect with me at Goodreads
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