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Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

High fantasy dealing with gods is always tricky, but NK Jemisin makes it work. Sort of. Her writing is beautiful without being overly flowery and her world-building is solid without dwelling on silly details. Unlike the majority of fantasy heroes/heroines, Yeine's quest is mostly for information, rather than any physical journey. Why did her grandfather, who so disdains her, call her to Sky to compete to be his successor? Why do the imprisoned descendants of the gods have such an interest in her? This lack of physical action does not bother me as it does other reviewers, but I did find various aspects of the book to be lacking. There were some logical issues with Yeine's homeland of Darr. A warrior race that is matriarchal... okay. A warrior race that relegates the admittedly stronger males to child rearing instead of aiding in the warrior culture... silliness. Her construction of Nahadoth and the godlings was masterful. Both beautiful and strange, like us and not like us, ensuring to emphasize that humans were made in their gods' image. Of course they are like us, and yet they are not. It's a hard balance, and Jemisin maintained it well. I enjoyed the book overall, but not so much that I will continue with the series. It is difficult not to make inter-genre comparisons, and I am afraid this did not rise to the level of Curse of the Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. This is a worthy way to spend time for any reader of fantasy, but it's not my favorite.

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