The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin
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 doesn’t deserve any of the hype it’s been getting. And probably more often than we like to admit, a book comes out that doesn’t get any hype whatsoever and is absolutely breathtaking.
That is the case (as far as I’m 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 I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I’m 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 clichéd, not contrived, not a total departure from the rest of the story. Which in and of itself is wonderful, because I’ll 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 – or is it to us at all, is she talking to herself – 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 haven’t come across a book this good since Nation by Terry Pratchett, and he’s 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 I’ve had the pleasure of reading. This is a must for your bookshelf. This book is flat out 10 out of 10.
This The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: The Inheritance Trilogy
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Inheritance Trilogy: Book 1
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 - a palace above the...
The Broken Kingdoms
The Inheritance Trilogy: Book 2
In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homele...
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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms reader reviews
Lauren from United States
There is something to be said about authors that bring you into the realm of a different world, who's writing is so original that you buy it and more than that, it reels you in. Jemisin did this so convincingly for me, that I've read this book three times. Each time, the small description that is given for this book is, of itself, deceptive and I think that it isn't the book I must have read already. This book gives you a whole world: complete with social constructs, totalitarian rule, and broken gods. The main character is but a girl, born in a distant kingdom. Her life is changed completely with the death of her mother. She is welcomed back into the bosom of the ruling kingdom due to bloodlines, but she isn't their largest fan. A strange place built on bloodlust, lies, and lack of weakness. Her only friends are more than they let on and have an agenda of their own. This girl, can turn the whole world upside down. I have memories of this book that have left impressions so deep, I constantly remember scenes that I try to remember to recall the title. Which is probably my only complaint. The title is in itself unmemorable in my opinion. Hundred Thousand Kingdom... 100,000 Kingdoms? I digress. I think my favorite thing about Jemisin's writing is her complete understanding of social constructs and character emotions. Her characters are relatable in various ways and she strives to show contextual acceptance of every flaw. Something relatable to all readers. I love her writing. She is up there with Patrick Rothfuss (maybe even higher since she actually knows to how wrap up trilogies in a timely fashion)... Just saying. Maybe Brandon Sanderson is a better comparison.
Lills from USA
I'm grateful beyond words that this book exists. I finished it, found myself tearing up with absolute joy, and then read it again.
Phil from Wales
I borrowed this from my library a while back but didn't get the chance to finish it at the time but I will most certainly be returning to it shortly as I found it unusual and fascinating. To Dee from Ireland: You call this predictable and average, and then try to compare it with the corny, childish, over-exaggerated slush of Brandon Sanderson! I can't give it 10 stars until I've finished it but will do so in the near future. And felt I had to air my views on Dee's comments.
Dee from Ireland
Predictable and average, why people are raving about this series is beyond me. When you see what the likes of Brandon Sanderson is writing you realize this series is average to below average at best.
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.
9/10 from 8 reviews
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