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Paperback The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Book

ISBN: 0316043915

ISBN13: 9780316043915

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

(Book #1 in the Inheritance Trilogy Series)

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Book Overview

After her mother's mysterious death, a young woman is summoned to the floating city of Sky in order to claim a royal inheritance she never knew existed in the first book in this award-winning fantasy trilogy from the NYT bestselling author of The Fifth Season. 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...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

So unexpected and wonderful

Wow! I didn't expect this book to be as good as it was. Holy cow that twist at the end. I absolutely adored Yeine. So naive yet so wise throughout the whole thing. Smart yet stupid. Kind and yet wicked. She's so flawed yet so perfect. The gods were so beyond what you would expect. They were wicked. But man not as wicked as people could be. They had so much pain from being lonely and hurt. Yet people did such evil things in their name. I can't wait to see where the rest of the series goes.

Completely unexpected and wonderful

I've been reading fantasy novels for a long time, and when I picked The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms up I expected something fairly conventional but entertaining. I got the entertaining part right, but I found a story the like of which I don't find often, and I loved it. Here's what I loved: -The main character, Yeine, is a strong woman, and a real woman. I loved her, flaws and all, maybe because I saw a lot of myself in her, and I understood her decisions and empathized with her for the bad ones. -The side characters. They're unique, with strong individual voices, and they're fascinating. Some are gods, and encountering them is like encountering aliens - I (and the heroine) at first had no idea how to interpret their behavior because they live on a completely different level from humans. Another thing I liked is that the important characters grow and change and those changes made sense. But even those that don't change felt like people rather than "types". -The setting / world. I've read many stories of stratified societies; I like how Jemisin builds this one - it felt solid, with substance. The heroine meets characters from several levels of society, and there's an effort from the author to give us some understanding of all of them. I like that we're shown it by little things, a remark about an incident here, something caught in the background there. We're shown that the world is varied, multilingual, all with their own squabbles and wars, and at the mercy of the ruling family. But no infodumps, just a slow building up of the reader's knowledge as the heroine learns more. I'm looking forward to the next book, where we get to see more of what's happening outside the capital. -The style. It's hard to put this into words, not being a writer myself, but I liked how the story was told. Not just the fact that it was first person, with a possibly unreliable narrator - I love challenges like that when I read a book. But I loved how words weren't wasted, and yet she took time to describe what was needed so you could picture yourself there. I liked the flow of it, back and forth and around but always somehow forward. I loved that cliche in structure and description and character and plot were avoided and that it felt fresh. -The relationships. This story centers on relationships, many of which are strained, all of which offer possibilities. Yeine is thrown into a shark pool and has to figure out who to trust, and all the sharks are family. But relationships are developed and we're shown how and why and it's what drives change in the characters, and that's one of my favorite things about the story. Jemisin writes great sexual tension and romantic relationships too btw, and I loved that gender just didn't matter when it came to the gods. What I didn't like... Honestly, just the fact that I have to wait until the fall to read the next. But I should say: this book doesn't end on a cliffhanger. Events within are resolved, and there

An enthralling debut from an author to watch

Hype. A powerful tool in the publishing industry. It's an impressive achievement when a yet-to-be-published author can create and maintain buzz about their debut novel, with readers going gaga over something that hasn't even hit store shelves. It's exciting for those readers, but dangerous as well. For every time an author lives up to that hype (Patrick Rothfuss) several others fail to take advantage, to prove they were worth it (Robert Newcomb, anyone?). As a reviewer, I try to separate myself from the hype, to choose my books based on what I find interesting, not what the publishers are pushing hardest. Sometimes, though, it's unavoidable. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin is one of those cases. As with any highly-anticipated novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms had predefined itself in my mind, based on nothing more than the blurb on the back of the book and the beautiful cover. Before it even arrived on my doorstep, it was a victim of preconceptions and expectations. I opened The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms expecting one book and found a very different beast within. Expectations are often dangerous, but in this case, the smashing of them was a very good thing indeed, for I expected a familiar story, only to find a wonderfully original one in its place. The synopsis hints at a traditional novel - young, naive protagonist, whisked into adventure and intrigue, shouldered with the responsibility of saving the world and navigating the bloody politics of her land. Even the tittle, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms suggests the novel is an expansive struggle of lands and kingdoms, typical of Epic Fantasy (or Secondary World Fantasy, take your pick of sub-genre). For a truer impression of the novel, one has to consider its history, or, more aptly, the history of its title. Originally, the novel was titled The Sky-God's Lover, a title much more accurate to the tone and plot of the novel. Jemisin's novel is very much a character-driven narrative, delving deep into the politics and relationships between its small cast of characters, rather than the kingdom-encompassing politics that its published title may suggest. Now, there is some true politicking included, but only a handful of the `Hundred Thousand Kingdoms' are involved, and the disputes are more a display of power and coercion in the bitter relationship between protagonist Yeine and antagonist Scimina. For a novel titled The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms there is little world building or world-ranging conflict. The true heart of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms lies in Yeine's relationship to the characters (human and god) around her, most importantly the fallen Sky God, Nahadoth. The Sky-God's Lover hints at the complexity of this relationship as it winds through its labyrinthine twists and turns through the slim novel. Many novels written in first person perspective are done so for stylistic reasons only. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms embraces the that style and weaves a story that could onl

Well-considered, well-written, well-worth reading

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms takes place in a world where a single empire, headed by the Arameri family, has conquered one hundred thousand kingdoms. They enforce their colonial adventures with the power of four enslaved gods, all of whom hate their masters but lack the ability to escape. Some years before the novel begins, the daughter of the Arameri ruler ran off with a noble from Darre, one of the weaker and more remote of the hundred thousand kingdoms. She gave up her position as the Arameri heir and bore a daughter, Yeine Darr, who would grow up to rule her father's tribe. Yeine Darr seems content with her life in Darre, until her mother dies and Yeine is summoned to her grandfather's court where she is named as one of the heirs to the hundred thousand kingdoms. Now, trapped in her grandfather's palace, Yeine must navigate an unfamiliar culture, defending her life against the machinations of her treacherous cousins, and searching for secrets about her mother's death. Her only advantage is an uneasy alliance with the enslaved gods who are clearly using her for their own, mysterious ends. It's clear early on that Yeine will have a romantic relationship with one the gods, Nahadoth the Nightlord, who shares many traits with the archetypal brooding hero. Nahadoth is described early on as a savage god of destruction, though his inclinations appear to be more complex than that. He is a god of chaos and change. Having been enslaved for centuries, Nahadoth is wrathful and bitter as well as dangerous and unpredictable. In some ways, Nahadoth resembles the lately popular vampire lovers -- eternal, handsome, dangerous, unpredictable. However unlike many vampire swains, Nahadoth's motivations are fully fleshed, allowing him to manifest behaviors that exist apart from the romantic narrative. Importantly, Nahadoth's characterization deepens over the course of the novel, but remains consistent with his personality and powers. There's no suggestion that he becomes safe simply because he's romantically interested in Yeine. The sex scenes between them are legitimately frightening, the tension woven so that pleasure and violence seem like easily plausible outcomes. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is immediately compelling, featuring a masterful set of opening chapters. The exposition unfolds at an exciting rate, creating effortless wonder as the reader discovers the novel's world in an organic, credible way. The setting details are specific, unique, beautiful, and believable, with some truly stunning writing. This book was one of the best I read in 2009 (I read an advanced review copy). It's well-considered, well-written, and well worth reading.

What if Gods were slaves?

[I read an ARC of this, furnished by the Publisher] Its a very strange thing to read a book as if its another's disjointed memories clashing with one and other to be told first. At first I wasn't sure what I was reading--there would be strange asides that would break pieces of the tale, that would draw me either forward or back to an even farther back time, but always the asides made sense. The story is told from first person perspective (Yeine's) and the asides gave me the impression that she was having an argument with herself as she told the tale. And the tale begins impressively with Yeine telling us her mother fought to keep her within her womb. From there it only became more urgent and dire. Yeine told the tale with a certain amount of detachment, which makes sense as the story progresses. Often when she found herself stumbling to remember something, some small thing perhaps that meant importance, I could recall times I had that problem. Sometimes the tale gets ahead of the teller, my grandmother used to tell me. Always Yeine caught herself and would bring the direction of the narrative back again. I found myself sympathizing with Yeine often, but I felt worse for Sieh and Nahadoth, even Naha (though his casual cruelty chilled me). The two Gods trapped in mortal shells were at once powerful, but enslaved. Only able to act out when a member of the Arameri carelessly spoke or ordered them to. Their story, of how they became mortals and of the truth behind Yeine, is as twisted as any god's origins. This isn't to say it was confusing, but when a tale is several hundreds of thousands of years old who really cares to remember the truth of it? Really the details remained fixed in their minds, the circumstances really mattered very little to them. Yeine's struggle--first to figure out why she was summoned so abruptly to her Grandfather's side after two decades of indifference, then to the truth behind everything (her mother's death, her own birth, the truth behind the religion...)--is hard and cruel. She's thrown into the viper's den without so much as a by-your-leave, with no idea who to trust and the vaguest notions of how to get on. Her so-called 'family' is actively plotting to have her removed, her homeland eradicated and all trace of her gone. Her only friend is another half-breed, who pretty much tells her hope is lost and she best figure out a way to save herself if she can. Trust is a dangerous, expensive and ultimately foolish pursuit for Yeine--anyone who can help her, won't, anybody who does isn't really helping her and anyone who truly means to help, even their intentions are stained with selfish desires. I'll go on record saying this--the last two chapters pack a wallop and poetic justice does not do what happens well enough. Its not quite the ending I expected for anyone involved to be honest. I think though you'd be hard-pressed to find a more perfect one for any involved. The ARC edition I have had 3 Appen

A Great New Name in Fantasy

[This review is based on an Advanced Reading Copy] What if gods were real...and walked among us...enslaved...and were used as weapons...and were really pissed off about it? N.K. Jemisin is a gifted storyteller and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a satisfying tale built on intriguing ideas. Buy this book if you love the flights of imagination only possible in fantasy. Buy it if you love stories of betrayal, murder, hard truths, and being in way over your head. The book is written in the first person. I usually hate this. Here, it works. There are scattered, apparent digressions: snippets of history, backstory. This may bother you. I thought it fit, and the digressions served a purpose. Though the story deals with politics at the highest level, the cast is small. For those who get lost and frustrated in a George R. R. Martin-sized cast, this is a boon. Jemisin's characters are clearly differentiated and easy to remember. Those who love additional complexity may wish the cast were larger and the book longer. This IS the first book in a trilogy, so I'm sure we'll get to see more in later books. The world is fascinating, but we spend most of this book inside the central palace of Sky. The visuals are clear and cool. [Full disclosure: I have met Ms. Jemisin once, and she is published by the same company I am. However, neither she nor Orbit asked me to do this review.] N.K. Jemisin is a debut novelist who deserves the chance to write many more novels. But you don't care about that, and you shouldn't. The only question that matters to you is, "Among all my other options, is THIS book worth my money and my time?" Yes, and yes. Emphatically. -Brent Weeks NYT Best-selling Author of The Night Angel Trilogy
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