Book: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy Book 1) Review

“Put a mark on your forehead, now you’re protected..”

Author: N K Jemisin

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Age: Adult

Released: 4th February 2010 (UK Version)

On the hunt for meaty new fantasy, I picked up The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. It’s had very good and very consistent reviews for the amount of people reviewing.

The back of the book says very little about what the plot actually is. It puts in a premise for a young girl, who is summoned to live with her mother’s family in the sky. It is literally a city in the sky, called… ‘Sky’. The leader of Sky, her grand-father, is so powerful that their family controls the rest of the world. She is pit against her cousins for a race to the throne.

The cover of the book would have you believe that this is a book about vast lands that she travels across. Well, yes and no.. Many kingdoms are mentioned, but Yeine doesn’t travel to anywhere in particular apart from her home kingdom before she was summoned to Sky, and another country, which I can’t say here for spoilers. Along the way she gets the support of the characters, most notably her friendly man-servant and a child-god. The story is based in Sky mostly, and Yeine’s interactions are with a very small main cast.

The fantasy element is very ethnic-based, in fact, it surprised me how much of the colouring and feel of the world is inspired by african and indian cultures. There is an entire culture and mythology based around the deities. The story talks a lot about humans and gods, mortals and immortals, and the love stories that are tangled in between.

Just a warning if you aren’t comfortable with a lot of… “loving”. Everyone that can be paired up does, including love across genders, mortality, siblings and parent-child. None of it is explicit I would say, and most of it is never shown, just mentioned. However, some people may find some parts disturbing, or disrespectful to their beliefs.

The bad points about this story would be that the writing is done in first-person, which I’m not a fan of. I find it hard to follow one specific character’s head because you miss out a lot of inside thoughts from other characters. The disjointed writing that exists for most of the book also irritated me, although it was a plot device. I felt that the segments could have been executed better since the overall story didn’t needs that much emphasis on disjointedness. Perhaps if I read the book again, I’ll feel differently?

Overall, I was intrigued by the story. It’s an interesting world, however I found that a lot of the reviews for this book may have been overly generous. The writing-style is hard to appreciate, and the writing quality never improves throughout the book. There are no super-intense moments at the ending arc of the book, just a very self-satisfied conclusion, which might irritate other readers.

Would I buy the sequel? The Broken Kingdoms? Yes, I would, but it’s not too high on my list.

Rating – 2.5/5 Good story, good mythology.

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