The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

I received a hard copy of this book in my Swancon bag, and have just read it in my effort to read all of the Hugo-nominated works before I have to actually vote in the Hugos. I’d heard a lot about the book and therefore had high expectations, although without the time incentive I don’t think I would have read it any time soon.

Yeine is a half-breed, basically; her mother, of the ruling tribe? clan? family? ran away with and married her father, a noble of a very minor and backwater clan, much to the disgust of her own father, the not-quite-ruler of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Now, though, Yeine has been summoned to Sky – the centre of the world – after her mother’s death, and discovers that she has the dubious honour of being named as a potential heir to the throne. Naturally things are not going to proceed easily for her, not least because Sky is a weird weird place: the humans are a scheming, devious, unpleasant lot in general, and then you add in imprisoned gods who still have a remarkable amount of power….

I did enjoy the book, overall; not as much as I had hoped, but more than I feared. There were some engaging and clever plot twists, which made me glad I read properly rather than skimming – which I considered doing at about the 1/3 mark. Some of the characters developed nicely, particularly T’vril and Viraine, and some of the gods too. The backstory, about the God’s War, was nicely woven in – and the creation story was beautifully told with some neat original aspects – although overall it wasn’t that original.

However, I have not become a huge fan, and probably won’t bother with the rest of the series. Yeine did not engage me nearly enough to want to find out more about her character and story; I didn’t feel like she developed enough over this book, and the ways in which she did change were to become, largely, more unpleasant. And in terms of the story – actually I think that this works really, really well as a stand-alone. I was really surprised by the end because it feels like just that: a genuine end, a conclusion that makes sense and wraps up a lot of issues. Of course it left questions, but so do the conclusions of a lot of trilogies. So for me, this will almost certainly stay as a standalone; one that I enjoyed but that hasn’t had a huge impact on me.

5 responses

  1. From what I understand, the books in the series are all standalones within the same world, rather than direct sequels to the first. so yes, it was intended to be a standalone.

    1. Huh, that’s very interesting, and so not what I assumed when I saw the word ‘trilogy’ on the cover, obviously! It does relieve me, if true, because I was worried about what she’d do to Yeine in two sequels…

  2. Shara @ Calico Reaction | Reply

    Yes, each book in the trilogy has its own heroine and takes place in the same world, but at different times. In the second book, Yeine makes an appearance, but she’s definitely NOT the main character. If you’re interested in the world and the gods, you may want to continue. 🙂

    1. Still think it’s silly that it’s touted as a trilogy! Don’t think I’m interested enough in the world, to be honest.

  3. […] of books, because of holidays! But particularly Heartless, Gail Carriger; Blackout, Connie Willis; Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, NK Jemisin… also Harry Potter 7 and Transformers 3. Tansy: The Demon’s Surrender, The Holy […]

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