Book Title: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Series: Inheritance #1
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Goodreads Link: Click here
Star Rating: – Really good book.
This is my review for a book that is part of the #DAReadathon.
Fantasy is easy to find. Good fantasy, really good fantasy not so easy sometimes. REALLY good fantasy written by people of color about people of color, well, that is like finding a precious gem. If you’re looking to read more diversely and enjoy fantasy then look no further than N.K. Jemisin. She is a truly gifted writer. Here is a short 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.
I tend to be tough on the first few pages of a fantasy book. You are introduced quickly to such strange new words, worlds, locations, and people. You have to learn a new vocabulary. With names like Galadriel, Kvothe, Reyn and Szeth. We start with locations named Luthadel, Valyria, and Alethkar. If the author is not careful, a book can quickly become a confusing mess. That’s when I put it down and move on. So I always appreciate a writer who is able to ground the reader quickly. They set up relationships with their characters quickly and minimize early fatigue. That is not to say that The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is simplistic or uncomplicated. Rather, it is well crafted. It’s world has a well established … I was about to say history but this book goes further … it has a well established mythology.
We quickly find that our girl Yeine, has entered the world of politics. We all know what Cersei Lannister has to say about that, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” Yeine’s situation is no less dire. Especially, since she is playing with not only the political leaders of her world, but a game with the gods. Yeine, however, is a wonderfully bold, capable person. She is driven and determined. She was also raised in not only a polytheistic culture, but a matriarchal society. She is a warrior and leader. Her background also gives her some really interesting insights into people around her. “I took his hand and held it while he bowed his head and trembled and fought to keep control of himself. He led and protected the servants here; tears would have made him feel weak. Men have always been fragile that way.“ In Yeine’s homeland, tears are not a sign of weakness. Women are powerful in her part of the world, and everyone depends on them to really get stuff done. I loved seeing that.
Unfortunately, now she is in Sky, the capitol city, where cruelty, licentiousness and slavery are the rule of the day. Does Yeine capitulate to their way of life? Or does she stay true to herself? In reading the book we ask ourselves, what shapes us? The people around us? Are we shaped by those around us in positions of privilege. Do we allow them to define us? Do we allow the gods and governments to mold us in it’s own image? Are we shaped by the people and things we love? By our past? Lots of questions. Yeine is tough. She can hack it. The fun is in watching her figure it out and work out a place for herself and her people. This is a really terrific series. It’s hard to write a review for it, because it is a little dense and definitely needs a re-read for me to do justice to it. However, I wanted to get it in since it’s part of my #DAreadathon. I’ll definitely be picking up the next volume in the series.
Song for this book: Kingdom by Charli XCX