“But once there were only three, most powerful and glorious of all: the god of day, the god of night, and the goddess of twilight and dawn.Or light an“But once there were only three, most powerful and glorious of all: the god of day, the god of night, and the goddess of twilight and dawn.Or light and darkness and the shades between. Or order, chaos, and balance. None of that is important because one of them died, the other might as well have, and the last is the only one who matters anymore.”
And it was with a little sigh of satisfaction and a sense of fullness (but not to the point of being overstuffed) that I finished this book.
Perhaps there was a feeling of relief too. Because it had lived up to my expectations. And oh, were my expectations high. Largely because of Eva’s review and her link to this article in Salon. Plus the fact that it won the 2011 Locus Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Crawford, Gemmell, Tiptree and World Fantasy awards.
I love going into a book, especially fantasy and SF, not knowing much about it. And what a ride this was. But perhaps you might need a tidbit. This is a world of gods and mortals, and features an incredible character in Yeine who comes from a matriarchal warrior tribe and who is named heir to the hundred thousand kingdoms.
“I am short and flat and brown as forestwood, and my hair is a curled mess. Because I find it unmanageable otherwise, I wear it short. I am sometimes mistaken for a boy.”
And as we discover the city of Sky and the Arameri society with her, we realise just how strong and yet so very likeable she is.
A fantastic read.
Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the first book of the Inheritance Trilogy, but it works fine as a standalone read. Broken Kingdoms and The Kingdom of Gods make up the rest of the series....more
A leather-bound book. Weathered, yellowed heavy paper. A careful handwritten script. A fireplace. A glass of wine. A stiff-backed, heavy, scarlet chair.A leather-bound book. Weathered, yellowed heavy paper. A careful handwritten script. A fireplace. A glass of wine. A stiff-backed, heavy, scarlet chair. A rug so thick you can barely see your toes. Snow falling outside, magicking everything white.
All this. Any of this would have been the perfect way to read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and not the way I did, snatched in bits and pieces on my iPhone. Convenient yes but just so so lacking in atmosphere, in texture, in feeling.
Because this is such a magical book. An ice queen hidden in the mountains surrounded by mythical creatures kind of magic. Witchcraft and Darkness kind of magic. For she calls them with their true name and they come. How very Ged-like.
It is a fairytale, a love story, a song of strength and power.
Its sense of antiquity begs to be given the proper treatment. To be read under the stars, by candlelight, in a tome that is passed down from generation to generation.
My reread (with many more to come) shall definitely be on the printed page. On a cold mountain. With tendrils of mist caressing each page…
A book to read today, tomorrow and ever after....more
Does this count as a Once Upon a Time read? There are hints of other-worldiness, with ‘evidence’ of fairies when policeman Walsmear brings photographeDoes this count as a Once Upon a Time read? There are hints of other-worldiness, with ‘evidence’ of fairies when policeman Walsmear brings photographer Charles Castle photographs of fairies. Castle becomes completely convinced that those smears around the photographs are indeed fairies and heads to the garden to photograph the fairies for himself. Arthur Conan Doyle makes an appearance.
And based on that alone, it sounds like a fantastic read, doesn’t it? I was all ooh, Doyle and fairies!
But bah. It wasn’t. It started out fine enough but once Castle heads to the little village of Burkinwell to find the fairies, things just get too bizarre. Not in the otherworld-ly sense, which would have made for at least an interesting sort of bizarre. But in the human sense, where Castle meets the vicar’s wife and falls in with some gypsies and just drinks far too much. I’m kind of surprised I stuck with it, but I guess since the book opens with Castle telling his tale from prison, I wanted to find out what he was incarcerated for. So Steve Szilagui got me there. And I wasn’t the only one, as Photographing Fairies was shortlisted for the 1993 World Fantasy Awards and was even turned into a film starring Ben Kingsley....more
So apparently I wrote a couple of paragraphs about Sherri S. Tepper’s Beauty not too long after I read it. And I just read it and now have no ideaUgh.
So apparently I wrote a couple of paragraphs about Sherri S. Tepper’s Beauty not too long after I read it. And I just read it and now have no idea where I was going with it.
And the problem is, the indifference, the disinterest. Because with a book you love, it’s so easy to write a gushy, full-throttled love fest. And with a book you hate, it’s also pretty easy to fling it against a wall and rant your head off. But with the indifference, there’s a struggle to move the cursor forward and fill that page. So what happens is that drivel such as this is used instead.
Beauty is the story of well, Beauty, that is, of Sleeping Beauty fame but manages to escape her fate and does some time traveling. There’s some bits in the land of Faerie, the future, and even melds into some other fairy tales. So it pretty much fits the Once Upon A Time categories.
It was an ok read, as you can probably guess by now. It was a little weird, but a little clever how the rest of the fairy tales fit into the bigger story. And there was just a little too much heavy-handedness as Tepper tries to put her agenda across. However, Tepper has some interesting ideas and I’m curious to see what her other books are like. Perhaps more SF and less fairy tale-ish?
Ah the neutral review. Never very interesting to read, is it?...more
That probably is a strange thing to say considering that this is book two of a trilogy. And with the second book thereI wasn’t prepared for this book.
That probably is a strange thing to say considering that this is book two of a trilogy. And with the second book there tends to be fewer surprises, more exposition. Frankly, book twos have often been a bit of a letdown.
But in The Broken Kingdoms, Jemisin took me by surprise. She more or less picks up where she left off in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, ten years later (which as you may recall, I Loved). But she brings in a new character, Oree Shoth, a blind artist who sells her wares in the city of Shadow and who stumbles across a dead godling. Oree is a woman “plagued by gods”:
“Sometimes they followed me home and made me breakfast. Sometimes they tried to kill me. Occasionally they bought my trinkets and statues, though for what purpose I can’t fathom. And yes, sometimes I loved them.
I even found one in a muckbin once. Sounds mad, doesn’t it? But it’s true. If I had known this would become my life when I left home for this beautiful, ridiculous city, I would have thought twice. Though I would still have done it.”
The godling in the muckbin becomes an important part of the book, but that’s all I should tell you about.
Oree is more certain than Yeine (from the first book), and there’s less backtracking in the storytelling, probably because there’s less need for the explanation of the gods-mortals relationship now. But like Yeine, she is more or less drawn into situations that are beyond her control.
I really appreciated that the story, while set in the same world, is told from a completely different viewpoint. Sky was where the ruling Arameri family lived (even the servants were Arameri). Shadow, beneath the leaf canopy of the World Tree, is where the regular folk live – some are pilgrims and worshippers, some priests and many, like Oree, are just working hard to make a living. And like many other regular folks, isn’t all that sure about what had happened those ten years ago up in Sky.
“I’m just an ordinary woman with no connections or status, and no power beyond a walking stick that makes an excellent club in a pinch. I had to figure out everything the hard way.”
I’m looking forward to seeing what Jemisin has up her sleeve for the third book....more
“My kingdom is being ravaged,” he said, “I have been selected as Evil King fifteen times in the last twenty years, with the result that I have a tour“My kingdom is being ravaged,” he said, “I have been selected as Evil King fifteen times in the last twenty years, with the result that I have a tour through there once a week, invading my court and trying to kill me or my courtiers. My wife has left me and taken the children with her for safety. The towns and countryside are being devastated. If the army of the Dark Lord doesn’t march through and sack my city, then the Forces of Good do it next time. I admit I’m being paid quite well for this, but the money I earn is so urgently needed to repair the capital for the next Pilgrim Party that there is almost none to spare for helping the farmers.”
How about Friendly Cows and garden monsters? Or flying pigs and talking horses? Magic spells and battles?
And Pilgrim Parties, organised by a man from another world – Mr Chesney who holds a demon captive in his pocket to make the magic world do his bidding. The people of Mr Chesney’s world pay good money to him to dress up, to be fought with, chased by avians, led by wizards as they journey through this other world of magic. It’s not just about illusions and magic though, people from both worlds actually get killed (some pilgrims are marked ‘expendable’ and aren’t meant to make it back home) and the lands racked and ruined.
This time, the Wizard Derk has been chosen to play the Dark Lord (and also chief tour coordinator), his son Blade is to be a Wizard Guide leading one of the many Pilgrim Parties, and their lovely home to be magicked into an evil citadel. It’s not an easy job but Derk is managing well enough, until a dragon puts him out of action, and Blade, his bossy bardic sister Shona and their five griffin brothers and sisters have to figure things out in his place.
“Just remember that when the Pilgrim Parties arrive there, they will expect to see hovels, abject poverty, and heaps of squalor and that I expect them to get it. I also expect you to do something about this house of yours. A Dark Lord’s Citadel must always be a black castle with a labyrinthine interior lit by baleful fires – you will find our specifications in the guide Mr Addis will give you – and it would be helpful if you could introduce emaciated prisoners and some grim servitors to solemnise the frivolous effects of these monsters of yours.”
The Dark Lord of Derkholm was just such great fun. A romp! A hoot! A whole cast characters who frustrate, endear and amuse. No wonder I sighed when it was over – all too soon!
The Golem and the Jinni was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It was such a great story that I was so caught up in it. I would’ve stayThe Golem and the Jinni was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It was such a great story that I was so caught up in it. I would’ve stayed up past my bedtime (all too easy as I sleep before 1030) but with two kids demanding all my energy I need my sleep. Still I managed to read and read this, while pushing the 1yo on his tricycle, while the kids napped in the afternoon, in between doing chores, and during my reading time after the kids went to sleep. I didn’t want this story to end.
It was a truly absorbing, enchanting story, set in New York in 1899. A jinni accidentally released by a tinsmith after centuries in a flask. A golem created a a wife for a man who dies at sea on their way from Poland. Their new lives, separately, are fascinating themselves. One a new being, learning to live on her own, being able to read the desires of the humans around her. The other, centuries old, having to readjust to life in this new world, unable to remember his previous life and how he was imprisoned in the flask.
Then these two mythical beings meet and an unlikely friendship begins. And what a ride it is, partly because there is an element of suspense with a villain tracking them down.
It is part historical fiction, part folklore, part fantasy. But all over a moving, exciting, lyrical and simply awesome magic carpet ride of a read.