Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Title: "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms"

Author: N.K. Jemisin

Synopsis: 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. (From Goodreads)

Why I picked it up: This has been in my "to read" pile for a while, so I'm not really sure I remember. I think I read a glowing review of it somewhere and decided I needed to pick it up. Honestly, when I picked it up out of the stack, I couldn't remember what it was about or why I wanted it in the first place. (But I'm glad I did!)

General thoughts: At first I felt a little lost as to exactly what was going on as I got acclimated to this new fantasy world, but by about the second chapter when the gods are introduced, I was hooked. The last book I'd read (which I have not reviewed), I had felt like I was forcing myself to read to the end of the book, so it was really nice to find myself immersed in a book that I couldn't wait to pick up again. (I went to bed much later than I should have for several nights in a row.)

Mythology: The mythology of the three main gods was very interesting and felt like a real myth. Then the author made the supernatural events in the Gods War and the fact that gods were now being controlled by mankind seem plausible.

Characters: I thought the main character, Yeine, was a great heroine. She's suddenly found herself caught up in the crazy, cut-throat world of politics and has to scramble to keep her head above water. She has to learn quickly to play the game or lose her life.

I also enjoyed how the gods actually seem otherworldly, not just humans with superpowers. The dark god Nahadoth was one of my favorites. I felt like Yeine was frequently only still alive because she had said the right thing to him at the right time. He really felt dangerous, not just a "bad boy." The child-god Sieh was also a favorite of mine. I pretty much spent the whole book wanting to hug him.

Writing: I thoroughly enjoyed the writing. At first I was thrown off by the parts of the book where Yeine is suddenly talking in first person and someone unknown is responding to her. But after we get deeper into the plot and I figured out who she was talking to and what those parts were all about, I thought it was an interesting narrative choice that I really liked.

Recommend?: If you enjoy gods, political scheming and fantasy worlds, I'd say definitely give this one a try. I really enjoyed it and am planning on picking up the sequel, "The Broken Kingdoms" as soon as my budget allows (and I can get away with buying yet another book without glares from my husband. lol). I think I have an idea of the direction the next book will be going in, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

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