Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Filed in N.K. Jemisin , Review , The Obsessed Lover Posted on October 28, 2010 @ 6:00 am 5 comments

Format Read: Paperback
Number of pages: 412 pages
Release Date: February 25, 2010 
Publisher: Orbit Books
Formats Available: Paperback, eBook, Kindle, Audio
Source: Publisher (included as an extra with another book I’d agreed to review)
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Orbit Books, Amazon, Book Depository US, Book Depository UKKindle Version

Book Blurb:

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 a pair of 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.  

My Thoughts:

When I first received The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms I wasn’t planning on reading it. As it says above, I received it as a unsolicited copy and at the time I was not a huge fan of what is referred to as High Fantasy or any fantasy that wasn’t Urban Fantasy (including those books loosely tied to UF), Paranormal Romance, Romance or occasionally what some would consider Horror. Are you starting to see that I may in fact be have been a bit of a book snob? Funny thing is usually it is those who primarily read High Fantasy that are usually looking down their snobby noses at those of us who love the other genres (especially UF). **No offense meant to those of you who primarily read High Fantasy. Just generalizing here based on personal experience.**
My point is that being the snob I was I almost missed out on an amazing book. It is a mistake I will try not to make in the future.What makes it even better is that The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a debut novel! If someone gave it to you when you had no knowledge of the Author, you would NEVER guess it was a debut novel. (Do they call them novels in the fantasy genre?) I just can’t express enough how beautifully, masterfully even this book is written. I have a thing for debut novels/authors I love to be one of the first people to discover new talents & start a series that is hot off the presses (or just uploaded, if I’m reading an e-book). That said, I always read debut novels with a grain of salt, as they say. I make allowances for small issues because I know authors grow and get better after that first book. In the case of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms I didn’t need to make any allowances. I set aside my salt shaker, because I just didn’t need it. This book was that good!
You’ve read the book blurb so I am not going to rehash it – just add a bit of the emotional aspects to it. Yeine is one of the strongest and most powerful female heroine’s I have ever encountered in any book, and I read primarily Urban Fantasy so that is saying a lot. She’s not just paranoid, everyone really is out to get her, but through all the trial & tribulations she continues to hold her head up high and look them in the eye. In a place where almost everyone is brutal in their intrigues she holds her own and then some. She is tenacious, if there is an answer out there she will find it or die trying. Such a fantasically, well developed heroine and definitely the kind I’d want on my side in a fight.

There is a romantic aspect to the story and it is developed superbly. There’s no, “Hi, nice to meet you”, jump in bed ‘OMG I think I’m in love’ – in this story. The love grows at an honest pace. That the love interest is Nahadoth, the wild god of chaos & darkness, just makes it all the better. I could read the love scenes over & over without ever tiring of them. 

Most of the other characters are well developed too, not all but enough. I believe this is out of necessity because if she did thoroughly developed all the players it would have been well over a thousand pages long. Yeine and the gods were developed more throughly than most, but the villians were surely developed enough to make you love to hate them. I personally wanted to jump right into the book & slap some of them up-side the head a few times! 

Almost the entire story takes place within the castle in the city of Sky. I felt like it was a character of it’s own, as it should be. Sky was vividly described. So much so that if I had any talent at all I could paint it and several places within – with my eyes closed. 

Intrigues, upon intrigues, romance, slavery, a mystery, strong women and gods (one of them who’s crazy HOT)…what more could anyone possibly ask for in a book? I couldn’t ask for more, I’ll tell you that much. This book made me a convert and I have been venturing into the realm of High Fantasy more & more since reading it, none however even come close to being as good as The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms! Just in case I haven’t impressed upon you how great this book is, consider this: I have a real hard time spending $7.99 for a mass-market paperback – but I would happily spend $14.99 for this book. Heck, I’d even spend as much as $25 for this one because it is worth ever penny and more.
Since I haven’t received the sequel The Broken Kingdom for review, I will be spending full price for it on release day, November 2, 2010. I can’t tell you anything about the sequel & won’t link to it because I fear it might give away some spoilers – but if I were going to tell you anything I’d say to use the links at the top of the page. The author has posted the first three chapters of The Broken Kingdom on her website, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about spoilers. I just hope that the sequel is half as good as the first book – if it is I will be one happy BookObsessedGrl.

I gave The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms 5 Bookies!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

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  • Blodeuedd October 28, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Yeah there is seldom bed hopping in the romance strong? Cos I will rather take my fantasy with hints and no strong romance. There is a reason I read epic fantasy and not fantasy romance.

    Anyway sounds great, it's on my wishlist….perhaps I should put it on my xmas list 😉

  • Sharon S. October 28, 2010 at 8:37 am

    wow, convincing review. I am a book snob like you . I won a copy of Heir of Night (fantasy) and read it out of obligation, but was I surprised! I loved it. So based on your review I am going to give this one a try 🙂 Thanks!

    isn't that cover beautiful?

  • draconismoi October 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Oooo…I've been wanting to read this one for awhile….now it's even worse.

    Don't feel bad about genre snobbery. I've yet to meet a reader who doesn't look down their nose at genres/subgenres they don't approve of. Here in Portland, where all books come from Powells, we don't do genre snobbery per se – we do room color snobbery.

    A friend of mine is refusing to read Good Omens because it is in the Gold Room (such plebeian tripe!) while I won't touch Wicked as long as it is shelved in the holier-than-thou Blue Room.

  • Melissa (My words and pages) October 31, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I am so glad you gave this book a chance. I really enjoyed it. And I just picked up book 2 a week ago. 🙂 The world created here is amazing but I think my favorite are the gods. 🙂 They are really cool. 🙂

  • Lynossa (Deranged Book Lovers) December 29, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Wow, this book seems amazing. I understand what you said about being snobby. I was looking down on paranormal/urban fantasy before and hold my stand steady on fantasy such as LOtR, Harry Potter, Bartimaeus Trilogy and such. I mean, I prefer romance as side story and very subtle while most of paranormal/urban fantasy emphasize on romance a lot. But after few books I'm getting to enjoy it even more.
    So there's nothing wrong with expanding your preference, you might find gold once a while!

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