Benni's Reviews > The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
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's review
Dec 18, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: novels, sff-paranormal-speculative, upcoming-reviews

Yeine was born to an exiled noble mother and grew up in Darre as a warrior to a people others call barbarians. When her mother dies, Yeine is summoned to the city Sky. Her grandfather, the ruler, names her one of three possible heirs to the kingdoms–less flattering and more deadly than it sounds, as the two other named heirs will likely kill her for the chance at ultimate power. But Yeine won’t wait idly by; for one thing, she is determined to solve the mysterious death of her mother.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms has been so deftly crafted that I’m not so certain the world, the events, the people don’t exist. Tell me Jemisin was writing about a past life and I will believe you.

Yeine’s narration is poetic and commanding, which is at once beautiful but unexpectedly alienating. Alienating not because she is unlikeable–far from it–but because Yeine the narrator sounds disjunct from Yeine the character. Yeine the narrator spins an epic tale, though she struggles to stick with just one thread. Yeine the character is intimate, grounded, though not completely oriented in the grand Sky. The distance between the two is incredibly meaningful, but in the journey I admittedly struggled with the tonal differences.

Any struggle, however, is well worth the effort. Yeine the narrator is nevertheless confident enough that I in turn never doubted that I’d love where the story was headed. Not to discount the journey, but the destination is the marquee of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: an ending that is both unpredictable and inevitable, and hence, perfection. Luckily for us, the destination of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is but the first step in the journey of the Inheritance Trilogy. Next stop, The Broken Kingdoms. I’m there.

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