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

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Inheritance Trilogy #1

Written: N.K. Jemisin

Published: February 25, 2010

Publisher: Orbit

ISBN: 0316043915

Obtained via: Gift from a friend

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 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 Review:

N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms twists and pulls traditional fantasy more times than a piece of string on a pair of knitting needles. We have all the usual epic fantasy elements: strange gods, a stoic king, a beautiful palace, powerful magic, and a youngster trying to find her place in the world. Except that none of those pieces fit together in any of the usual ways: the king is a tyrant, the palace is poison, the youngster already ruled her homeland before we met her, and the gods are weapons and slaves turned against each other by mortal hand.

The world of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is exotic and strange, and the Palace of Sky is the strangest, most exotic place in all the land. It is a place where the ruling family is dozens (maybe hundreds) strong and where the large majority of them work as servants, but the only slaves in the place aren’t human — they’re gods. Yeine is thrust into this strange world – her mother’s world – where she’s been declared heir to the kingdom, if she can survive. Surviving won’t be easy, though, with her two cousins doing their best to kill her and with the god-slaves trying to draw her into their own dangerous conspiracies.

This book is cruel and strange; deadly and beautiful; by turns compelling and repulsive. I’ve seen a whole truckload of hype about this book, and I’m not entirely convinced that it’s lived up to all of it. But I daresay that it was woven well and uniquely and is worth a look for any fantasy fan. I’m looking forward to having the time to take #2 – The Broken Kingdoms off my shelf.

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Interested in winning your own copy of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms? Leave a comment on this post by midnight ET on February 28th, 2011 to be entered to win. (1 entry per person, drawn at random. Must have US shipping address.)

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