Wednesday, March 17, 2021

8. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: Book 1 of the Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

I've been meaning to read Jemisin for quite a while now.  I almost bought The Fifth Season but then I found her entire Inheritance trilogy and The Fifth Season somewhere I can't even remember now, but free.  It's a big book!  Fortunately, quite large type and spacing so a quicker read than the size would suggest.

It starts off quickly and interestingly.  The initial situation of a young woman from the outer, barbaric provinces being summoned to the sophisticated, dangerous capital and suddenly put in a position of power reminded me a lot of The Goblin Emperor.  Here, Yeine is the granddaughter of the patriarch of Sky, a fantastical city whose people have enslaved the gods, giving them ultimate power over the entire world.  Yeine's mother was the heir apparent but then for reasons to be discovered, was exiled.  Her grandfather has brought her back because it is the time of the succession and she must battle with her two cousins to become the ruler.  

It is a cool premise and the world is compelling, rich and very well thought out, especially the cosmology and history of the gods.  For me, though, the main thrust of the narrative was not really super engaging.  It is really about Yeine and her relationship with these enslaved gods and their plot to free themselves.  I am more interested in the lower-level diplomacy and strategy among the mortals than epic battles of existence.  I can see why this book received so much praise.  It's very well-written and definitely achieves the goal of fantasy to take you to another world.  There is some pretty wild sex with gods scenes as well. Hot stuff!  So my appreciation of the book is more about my taste than a critique of the book itself.  Now I am in a bit of a dilemma because I am only mildly curious to read the next book yet I have this huge tome I must finish.  If it switches perspective and the narrative takes place at a more grounded level, I might quite enjoy it.  I would like to learn more about the world and Jemisin is skilled enough to make those parts really good.  There just weren't enough of them.  If it is more of the war between the gods stuff, I will not be so interested.  Should I just plunge ahead?

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