Book Tuesday: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

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Title: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy #1)
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Hachette Book Group Orbit
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Pages: 427
Buy:Amazon

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.

This book was not what I expected…and I don’t know if I mean that in a good way or a bad.

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From the description, I considered it to be a typical fantasy novel.  Yein’s mother had died making her the chief to the Darr clan. Shortly after, her grandfather who rules Sky and previously disowned her mother, calls her back to Sky to make her one of the heirs to the kingdom.  She’s forced to enter a world of politics, deceit, and one filled with her mother’s true past.  Along the way she confronts living Gods with their own agenda.  Yein must decide whether to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her people and the world.

So many bloggers and people I know have raved about this book/series.  I mean it was a Hugo and Nebula nominee and Patrick Rothfuss liked it! Patrick Rothfuss people!

I don’t know how I feel about it.  I know it wasn’t necessarily my favorite, but it wasn’t the worst either.  The characters were very complex.  As you learned more about their histories, you delve deeper into that complexity.  Yein was very much a pawn in this story, for obvious reasons.  As much as she was portrayed as “strong” (and at times she was) I found her to be reacting more to those around her and the situations thrust upon her.  Most of the time she was wandering aimlessly, “hoping” the information would fall into her lap.

The Gods were difficult to understand, which I’m sure they would have to be being Gods.  Nehadoth was a tragic figure and I still don’t know whether I pity him or dislike him.  Seith, you couldn’t help but love at times, but you were hesitant on his true nature at others.  I’m assuming this constant behavioral change was intentional, but that constant volleying made it confusing and exhausting to get through.  I never felt invested in the characters.

The disjointed narrative.

Ugh.

Can I just say that?

It was extremely jarring.  At times it was not Yein, but Enefa and at others the two of them conversing.  I couldn’t figure this out until 3/4 of the way through the novel.  You might think, “Really, Cristina?” No. Seriously. You would have the same issue.  Part of the problem was much of the narration was either flashbacks of events that happened hundreds of years ago or random comments on what just happened to Yeith in the present narrative.  The constant change felt like I was at a tennis match and made it difficult to follow.

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The world building was confusing as well. The three main Gods could apparently make new creatures, worlds, universes, etc. and destroy them on a whim as well.  Between the disjointed narrations and an unclear establishment of the current world, I had no idea where or when we were.

Like I said, this isn’t the worse book I’ve read, but the disjointed narration along with the bipolar characters hardly made me invested in the story.

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