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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (thoughts)

December 28, 2011

I can’t tell you why, but although high (or epic) fantasy used to be one of my favourite reading genres, over the years I’ve fallen out of the world-building habit. Last year, I finally revisited the genre with The Bone Doll’s Twin (first in a trilogy), which I loved, but I still didn’t really follow up on exploring any of the new authors. But when Clare tweeted a link to this post of Laura Miller’s (who also authored one of my very favourite books about books ever: The Magician’s Book), I was inspired to request both The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin and the Acacia Trilogy. I began with the Jemisin, simply because I was more in the mood for a woman writer, and was immediately delighted to find myself thrust into a world where gods interacted with mortals! And there’s a child god (a particularly favourite trope of mine)! I made so many squealing noises that when I was about one hundred and fifty pages in, my mom (also a fantasy lover) stole it from me. She’s a quick reader, but she finished it right before my trip to Denver, during which I only took my Nook, so it wasn’t until recently that I actually got to finish the book.

And let me tell you, what a finish it was! I don’t want to give anything away, but as much as I loved the beginning of the book, and as delighted as I was as I learned more about our heroine (who comes from a culture with flipped gender roles in which women are the warriors and leaders: I loved the way the author handles this), nothing compares to my love for the ending. The way all of the plotlines came together, I couldn’t flip the pages quickly enough! And when I did finish, I let out a delighted sigh for the wonderful ride Jemisin had taken me on.

I realise I haven’t actually told you much about the novel. I didn’t know anything going in, and I think that made it more fun (although, as with any high fantasy, the first few chapters can present a challenge to the reader of sorting out an unfamiliar society). But I will tell you that all of the characters vivid and unforgettable, the world was fascinating, and the plot was page-turning. The prose wasn’t the focus of the book, but it didn’t detract from it either. And I particularly liked the narrative style: our heroine is telling the story (just) after it’s happened, and she interrupts herself at times or gets distracted and seems to almost be telling the story as a dialogue with someone else. It’s really fun and adds an extra layer to the story.

In case you can’t tell, I loved this one to bits and pieces. I highly recommend it to everyone, and I already have The Broken Kingdoms (set in the same world but featuring different characters *sigh*) from the library.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2011 8:43 am

    I am so glad you enjoyed this! I read it a while ago now and it was fantastic while I was reading it. Just sucked me in and didn’t let me go! I’ve now read The Broken Kingdoms as well and I’ve lined up the third – so looking forward to seeing what you think of that!

  2. December 28, 2011 9:27 am

    I am so glad you enjoyed this, Eva! I really must get around to reading the other two books. I have the second one, so just a matter of sitting down with it!

  3. December 28, 2011 11:09 am

    Wow, another glowing review! I’m really going to have to get off my butt and read this!

  4. December 28, 2011 12:17 pm

    It was one of my favourite books of the year :)

  5. December 28, 2011 3:35 pm

    Hey Eva. I nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award. I don’t know if you’re into blog awards or not, either way take this as a compliment. :-)
    Sincerely, Christina

  6. December 28, 2011 6:49 pm

    Thanks for this gushing review, Eva. This one is moving up my TBR list.

  7. December 29, 2011 6:51 am

    I didn’t particularly care for it myself, but I am quite glad you enjoyed it! (And I love it when books are my fault.)

  8. December 29, 2011 8:39 pm

    I saw Miller’s post and immediately put this on my list, although I don’t know when I’ll get to it. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it so much; maybe this will inspire me to move it up the queue.

  9. December 31, 2011 9:57 am

    Yay, glad you liked this! Make sure to tell us what you think of Broken Kingdoms. I liked the characters more but felt like the book as a whole was not as together as The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Plotwise.

  10. January 5, 2012 8:27 pm

    Wow. Okay, now I have to read this. And perfect timing as I’m looking to 2012 for reconstituting my fantasy and sci-fi reading habits. Thanks, Eva!


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