Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms N.K. Jemisin



I really have been in a fantasy phase in my reading lately, so when JawasReadToo listed her Women of Fantasy Challenge i new I wanted to be on board. I had seen the cover of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms cover on a few blogs but I didn't know much about the story or the writer.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the first book in the Inheritance Trilogy.

At its heart this book is a Fantasy Novel. From the first page the narrative drew me in. It is a fractured narrative at times, a fact that might alienate some readers ,but it is also a book that will truly envelop you.

In a comment post on the book I commented on the narrative style. It is a first person narrative from the viewpoint of the character Yeine.What makes this book such a rich textured read, and sometimes a struggle is the  force of Yeine's narrative voice. She is our sole guide into this world. Letting go and allowing Yeine to lead you also means you are subject to her whims, her angers, joys,fear and pain. This is where the book shined for me.

Yeine is 19 years old and the leader or ennu of the Somem clan, a part of the Darre people. Darre are a warrior type clan. Descendants from a strong Matriarchal clan they live on the outskirts of the main ruling factions of there world.

Yeine's life is changed by a summons from her grandfather to visit the Arameri family residence. Yeine is of two worlds. her mother was a high ranking Arameri, a faction that is the ruling class of her world.

 20 years ago her mother, one time the heir to the kingdom of Arameri, succeeded her birthright to marry Yeine's father. Now her mother has been  murdered and Yeine is brought into the bosom of the Arameri Royal Family to serve. All serve in the Arameri kingdom. Your status determines what level in this world. Decides whether you are cook or cleaning person , scribe or part of the ruling Consortium.

To Yeine's surprise she is declared a potential heir which raises her to the highest level of society. It is a trick and a trap. Despite her warrior nature she is ill prepared to stand up to the two other Arameri heirs, she is intended to be a sacrifice and a conduit of energy to the true heir.  The web of politics tighten around her as well as the passions and desires of Arameri's greatest weapons living God's. The Arameri  Gods are the creative factions of Yeine's world. Punished by the God Itempas Sieh, Nahadoth, Zhakkam and Kurue are chained magically to obey all the orders of the Arameri no matter hob violent, passionate or debasing.

Yeine is instantly drawn to them and makes a pledge to help them in there release.As she gets closer to the Gods , especially Naha she discovers a secret about her birth that shatters her perceptions of her parents and herself.

All of these political machinations and Yeine's quest to discover who murdered her mother move the plot further as the Succession ceremony comes closer and closer.

I really enjoyed the world Jemisinn created. The story was very absorbing even the scenes with very little action. Yeines relationship with Nahadoth is fascinating. The Human/God dynamic is deftly explored and there is a tender albeit dangerous relationship between them

Though sometimes the narrative does lose focus and has a more modern slant it was a very enjoyable, I will definitely get the second book in the series .

1 comment:

Vasilly said...

This sounds like an amazing book. I'm going to add it to my tbr list. Great review.