The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

Yeine Darr is a barbarian halfblood, summoned from her kingdom in the north to her grandfather’s side in the city of Sky. Sky is a magical city, held up by the power of four gods, chained to mortal form in punishment.

On arrival Yeine is named as an heir, with her two cousins. But the power struggle between the mortals pales in comparison to the struggles of the gods to regain their immortality, of which Yeine becomes an unknowing pawn.

I’m not sure how I feel about this book. I gave it 4 stars on the quality of the writing and the story. THTK is well written, gripping and unusual. The idea is interesting, and the Amn race are a fascinating, if slightly revolting culture. However I never felt really anchored in the world. It all becomes a rather pale backdrop to the characters.

The characters are at the forefront of the book. This is, in essence, a story about one woman’s journey of discovery, about her mother, her past, her self and the enslaved gods who share her world. Yeine is a strong character, well-drawn and interesting. I was invested in her struggles, however I wasn’t invested in her. There are, in fact, no sympathetic characters in the book except for Yeine, and she is too hard and too cold. I don’t say that as a criticism; she is who she is. But it meant that I enjoyed the book on an intellectual, rather than an emotional level.

I found the book satisfying, but not enjoyable. I’m not interested in reading the rest of the trilogy, however I would read more of this author in a different story.

4 Stars.


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