Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin

I've wanted to read this book for a long time. I've been trying to remember how I found it, but the truth is I really can't recall how I was introduced to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

From the back cover:
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.
The first thing I noticed when I began reading was the very informal tone of the novel. It's narrated by the protagonist, Yeine Darr. At first I was unsure of the writing style because of the informality of it. Despite my last book, Black Ships, being narrated in first person, I have very little experience with first person accounts. Sometimes when I read, I feel as if I'm missing a lot because of the narrow point of view.

She also goes back and fills in information and there are lots of side stories and sidenotes that don't really have much to do with the story at hand. I looked back through some of them after I finished the book, because Yeine says they will be important later, but in most cases it was extraneous information. I found that it really didn't bother me, though. I was able to follow the story easily, regardless of the tangents. This is the beginning of a trilogy, so I wonder if those side stories will be important to those books instead.

Also, I took a look at the next book in the trilogy. There's not much to go on as it's not published yet, but it is apparently about a totally different character. On the author's site, the tagline for the trilogy (called The Inheritance Trilogy...that might lead to some mix ups) is "In the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, gods dwell among mortals and one powerful, corrupt family rules the earth. Three extraordinary people may be the key to humanity’s salvation."

I'll be marking down the date for the second book, that's for sure. The story was familiar, but the world that Jemisin creates is certainly not. I'm also interested to see how the voice of the protagonist changes between two very different characters.

Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 
Buy or Try? Buy
More? Book 1 of 3 expected
Plot: 3 / 5
Setting: 5 / 5 (I was really impressed with this world)
Characters: 3.5 / 5
Pace: Fast
Descriptiveness: Prose
Fantasy factor: High

Amazon.com link


Jules@OneBookShy said...

I've never heard of this book or author, but it sounds really good. I like the cover as well.

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