The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.” (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin)

Hundred Thousand Kingdoms CoverTo my dismay, I have found over and over again that my taste in books does not necessarily accord with others. This was demonstrated to me most effectively in my teen books class: nearly everyone loved ‘Foreverwhile I remained partial to ‘Seventeenth Summerand ‘The White Darkness’. I discovered only this week that I have a higher tolerance for the weird and macabre than most people, for when I went to shout from the mountain tops about my recent find ‘One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms’, my co-worker called to my attention some very disturbing scenes. In my mind, these scenes just made the book more original and thought provoking, but it took that comment to make me see that not everyone might agree. I am starting to come to appreciate how difficult it is to recommend a book to another person. There are so many factors and variables to personal taste that, unless the recomendee knows themselves very well, the outcome is always a mystery.

If you’ve liked other books favorably reviewed at The Booklion, I have no qualms about recommending Jemisin’s remarkable work to you. This book would especially delight the reader who may be a bit tired by the genre’s male-dominated stereotypes, as the book is written in the unusual first person by a strong, contradictory female protagonist. The female-oriented nature of the work actually stretches beyond just the genre of the protagonist, though. Jemisin includes steamy sex scenes with Gods, a thoughtful exploration of feminine strength (and male weakness), and an over-turning of standard genre roles. Yeine might be the first truly believable female character I’ve read in the fantasy genre before. I truly look forward to reading the rest of this trilogy, and to her recently published book, ‘The Killing Moon’.

Recommended Action: BuyBorrowTBRAvoid

Length: 11 hours and 46 minutes (The audiobook rendition was excellent).

Ending: Utterly satisfying and, even though it is a trilogy, perfectly self-contained. No cliff-hangers.

Further Reading: While there are a lot of excellent fantasies out there, there aren’t a lot of strong, convincing female leads. I’d follow this up with the rest of the Inheritance trilogy, and then move onto the Dreamblood trilogy.

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