Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N.K. Jemisin





































What if the gods were real, and were slaves to the king?

That is the premise for Jemisin's ground breaking work and that is why I wanted to read this book in the first place. Such an idea is very new and unique in fantasy, a genre filled with perfect and unperfect; black and white; evil and good.

The book isn't just about that, but also filled with plot twists, death, destruction, love, happiness, finality, rebirth and much more. It's plot is deep, twisting and inthralling, filled with edge-of-your-seat events and breathtaking pros.

I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did and if it wasn't for work and school, I would have finished it in one sitting, easily. As it was, this fit into my "one more chapter..." category, meaning I stayed awake a lot longer than I should have and read a lot more "just one more chapter's" before I could pull myself from this work.

It's hard for me to describe what I enjoyed most about this book. I'd have to say it was a few things. Jemisin's writing is incredibly unique. It took me until half way through the book to fully understand some of the conversations and plot arcs happening. That may put some people off, but I enjoy my books complex and confusing. I enjoy books that force me to focus my whole attention on them to fully comprehend their structure and meaning.

The lead character, Yeine, is very well thought out. She makes some big mistakes and some obvious blunders. She's frustrated, angry and happy when anyone would be. She's not a fantastic person, she's just a person sucked into a shitty situation. She was three dimensional and completely believable as she struggled through the book.

Without giving too much away I can say what got me the most was the plot. Unique, a breath of fresh air, convoluted without being overbearing. The cast of characters isn't as broad as George R. R. Martin's but the plot is just as complex without the novel being very long. It is just over 400 pages, total and every page is packed with something important and attention grabbing.

Yes, I can sum this book up by saying it was unique. Incredibly so.

It is also deep. There is a moral to the story, a tale told of humanity in these pages that really got me. The author isn't just writing to write, she truly has something to say and I loved that extra layer she added by having a point to her narrative that can be applied to the real world.

That is not to say that the book doesn't have flaws. One of the "evil" characters is a bit too "evil" for me to be believable. Once the revelations in the end are brought to light, the plot becomes predictable, which is sad. Some of the conversation was stilted and I got kind of sick of Yeine being so single mindedly focused on her mother's death in the midst of everything happening around her.

But that does't take away from the fact that this book is going on my re-read shelf. The next book in the series is to be released in November of this year. I will anxiously await it.

I recommend this book to those who: don't mind darker plots, enjoy complexity and depth, don't mind a little romance in their books, don't mind a touch of violence, enjoy strong female protagonists and like a unique, diverse writing style.

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