Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Book Details
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Genre: fantasy
Page Count: 412
Publishing Info: February 25th 2010 by Orbit

My Review
The Plot: 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 with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together.
The Characters: I felt like Yeine was kind of a weak character.  She didn't really seem to care about anything, and in turn, neither could I.  There was this odd sort of detachment that I felt all throughout the book, and I really think it was because of the first person narration, and the fact that Yeine seemed so blah and accepting of everything.  Some of the secondary characters were almost cartoonish in how one note they were--like her cousins who were fighting for the throne; there just wasn't any depth.  I did think some of the gods were interesting, but again, some were not fleshed out at all.
The Setting: This is another area that I couldn't really get a feel for.  There weren't many descriptions of Sky, and besides what I see on the front cover, I really can't picture the place at all.
A Sample of the Writing:
I am not as I once was.  They have done this to me, broken me open and torn out my heart.  I do not know who I am anymore.
I must try to remember.

My people tell stories of the night I was born.  They say my mother crossed her legs in the middle of labor and fought with all her strength not to release me into the world.  I was born anyhow, of course; nature cannot be denied.  Yet it does not surprise me that she tried. 
Who Should Read This? I think most fantasy fans will enjoy this, but there will be others like me who won't care for it.  It's a toss-up.
Final Thoughts: I really felt that the style of the writing wasn't very coherent, and while that may work for some people in building up suspense, it mostly just annoys me.  I know how popular this one is, and I wanted to like it more than I did, but if it wasn't such a quick read, I don't know if I could even have finished it.  That said, there are some interesting concepts here, and I would be willing to give the author another try in the future.
Grade: C-
Cover Thoughts: I find this cover very interesting, and I actually didn't even notice that there was a woman's face in the background until I looked more closely.


  1. I've read good and bad things about this one. I was actually about to pick it up at the library, but may I won't know. I love that you have a Women of Fantasy Book Club. I wish there was something like that around me!

  2. Alison, I don't have one near me either. It's just an online discussion that anyone can join. You can get to it by clicking on the text: "women of fantasy book club". Most people seem to really like this book, so if it sounds good to you, I'd say give it a try.