HomeReviewsBook reviewsHundred Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jemisin

Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand KingdomsInheritance Trilogy Book 1

A review by Nalini Haynes.

Yeine Darr is the daughter of an exiled ruling family member and the chief of a small tribe. Her mother was murdered then she was summoned to the centre of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms to be named heir.

But there are two other heirs. Yeine believes she has been summoned to die.

Arameri, the ruling family, have the ultimate weapons at their disposal: they have fallen gods imprisoned in their service by the one remaining ruling god. These fallen gods are still powerful and, like capricious fey, one must be careful when talking to them.

They pursue a relationship with Yeine, increasing her peril.

As Yeine is about 19, the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms fits the “YA” requirements and yet I felt the story is more mature, has wider appeal, than the usual YA fare.

My only criticism is that Yeine is angry and we have to be told, repeatedly. I kept forgetting, so being reminded was good. I would have preferred a more convincing internal dialogue conveying her simmering rage. Instead, for some of the narrative she felt more like a dispassionate detective or a wounded — hurt but not necessarily angry — person. Perhaps Yeine’s rage could have been established in her opening scene instead of her appearing to me like a humble supplicant doing as she was bid, filled more with fear and awe than anger.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is part fantasy story, part fable. The story alternates between a logical progression of Yeine’s present with unfolding of her backstory and peculiar scenes where Yeine has visions or dreams from a god’s perspective or, even more perplexing, Yeine seems to be breaking the fourth wall although dead. This kind of storytelling usually annoys me — I like things to make sense like assembling a jigsaw rather than to feel I’m in an Escher artwork — but Jemisin carries it off so I cared about Yeine and was compelled to keep reading. In the end, these scenes are all justified within the story, adding to the complexity of the narrative.

I enjoyed the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms; highly recommended.

Rating: full starfull starfull starfull starEmpty star 4 out of 5 stars
ISBN: 9781841498171
Format: paperback, 448 pages
Publisher: Orbit (Hachette)

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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