Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Thoughts - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
published 2010
427 pages

Synopsis -

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. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

My thoughts -

My first book for Diversiverse this year, and it was a great one. 

I should start by saying that I am predisposed to enjoy fantasy. I've seen several reviews of this novel that explore various problems readers have with the story, and while in retrospect I understand and can even agree with many of the problems - the weird, somewhat uncomfortable relationships; the abrupt transitions in time and place; the "telling" rather than "showing"; and even some issues with Yeine herself. But I have to tell you, as I was reading the novel, I was completely swept away. 

Something about fantasy just allows me to roll with elements that would normally by problematic for me. Something about fantasy lets me open up my mind in a way that completely immerses in the story - I can allow for things that don't make sense, really, because the rules of the world are already different. If the story is engaging, the critical parts of my brain just shut off, and I read for pure enjoyment. I think that's why fantasy is almost always what I choose for a "guilty pleasure" read - because I can so fully escape into this type of novel.

So after saying all that, I have to admit I loved the reading of this novel. I did not find anything in the story itself that was extremely groundbreaking, but Jemisin uses traditional fantasy tropes very well. It is quite refreshing to read a heroine in a fantasy novel that is not clearly designed to be European, and I would enjoy exploring more of Yeine's background in future novels. And I am generally a sucker for a good antihero, and Nahadoth is that in some really interesting ways. 

Sooooo.....not a particularly insightful review (but then, let's be honest - I don't have time to write those much anymore. I'm just happy to be reading!) But boy, did I enjoy reading this novel, and I will definitely read more by this talented author.

Finished - 9/19/14
Source - South side library
MPAA rating - R for fantasy violence & adult situations
My rating - 4/5

If you are interested in reading more reviews of books read for Diversiverse 2014, make sure to check them out here!!


bermudaonion said...

I'm not a fantasy reader so I really struggled with this book when I read it.

Literary Feline said...

I really like fantasy also, although my fantasy reading these days seems to be more or the urban fantasy variety or paranormal than anything else.

This sounds good. I'm not familiar too familiar with Jemisin.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

The extent to which it was refreshing to read a fantasy novel in a non-European setting made me feel embarrassed for fantasy as a genre. It was amazing to have a setting like that, but it also reminded me of how incredibly standard it is to have those European settings. It is so boring! Do better, world! :p

Anyway, while I think Jemisin's prose can occasionally veer toward the purple, I have REALLY liked the two of her books I've read, and I'm looking forward to reading more.

Anonymous said...

I've been hearing good things about this - I love fantasy, too - but I rarely have brain power for more involved series these days, and I don't really care for anti-heroes.

Aarti said...

I'm so thrilled you participated! And I would say this is a GOOD review, so don't sell yourself short :-)

I read this books years ago and didn't really enjoy it, though I seem to be one of the few. The ending bothered me a lot.