The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin
Review by Joshua S Hill
Every now and again a book comes out that deserves all the hype that it is getting. A lot of the time a book will come out that doesnít deserve any of the hype itís been getting. And probably more often than we like to admit, a book comes out that doesnít get any hype whatsoever and is absolutely breathtaking.
That is the case (as far as Iím aware) for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, book one in the Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin.
This book has blown my mind. As if out of nowhere comes this author who has absolutely nailed their debut much like Michael Clarke did for the Australian cricket team. In this book, Jemisin gives us one of the best opening performances that Iíve had the pleasure of reading. Iím serious people: this is right up there with Patrick Rothfuss.
I could rave all day about the storyline and how it had me guessing and fearful right up until the end, when it promptly went and spun me right round baby right round like a record player right round. I was so very happy with the way this book ended: not clichťd, not contrived, not a total departure from the rest of the story. Which in and of itself is wonderful, because Iíll sometimes be happy with a contrived ending simply because it makes me happy. Not this time. I was made happy through great storytelling as well as a happy ending.
I could rave night and day about the characters, the intricate web of intrigue and manipulation and downright lying that takes place in this book to spin our lead character to her doom.
I could raise time and again the virtues of the mythos that Jemisin has created, the manner in which that mythos interacts with the world and the realism with which the people in that world interact with the mythos. The relationship that the people have with both their history and their gods is amazing and spellbinding to read, not to mention the relationship the gods have with their people.
And I could wax poetically regarding the character development of our main character, the depths and hidden depths and unravelled layers of the supporting cast.
But it all comes in secondary to the manner in which this book is written. Jemisin flawlessly works first person-perspective together with train of consciousness to make a story that is really very hard to put down. The insights you gain as a reader into the character through this are more than just her reaction to the situation: it goes beyond that into the personality that forces that reaction. The at times early on confusing tangents and comments to us the reader Ė or is it to us at all, is she talking to herself Ė make this book more and more intriguing, beyond the intrigue that the story is already creating. And the way in which the story is told, not necessarily linearly and not necessarily not, is perfect for the character that ends the book compared to the one that starts it.
All in all I havenít come across a book this good since Nation by Terry Pratchett, and heís been writing professionally for several decades. N.K. Jemisin has written a book that is at times smart, at times funny, and at times downright heartbreaking, all wrapped up in one of the most original stories Iíve had the pleasure of reading. This is a must for your bookshelf. This book is flat out 10 out of 10.
Joseph from Killeen - Fort Hood
Excellent work and once I started reading I could not put down.
Andrew from UK
Why only 9.9 if it's a 'flat out 10 out of 10'? Amazing book, going to save the sequel though, I have other things I want to read.
Eleanor from Austin, Texas
10 out of 10. I loved the book. There are some nits (Scimina is just too evil to be interesting, and too much of a mad dog to be a convincing heir), but otherwise great story. A must read.
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