The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Orbit Books, New York, 2010

From my library hold list.  My second book for Once Upon A Time VI.

God and mortals.  What other combination speaks so directly to our mythological roots?

N.K. Jemisin’s debut novel is rich and full of the unexpected.

In the city of Sky there is a castle, perched on top of a high column.  The castle is also called Sky and in it live the King of the Empire, his heirs and retinue.  It  is where the governing body holds their council.   Within the castle are hidden places where Gods and Goddesses are live.  Called “Weapons”, they are enslaved by the Royal Family and at the beck and call of their human captors.   They are also at war with each other.

This, to me, is wonderful mythic world building and I love it.  And within this fine first novel, like all good stories, are aspects of human culture, behavior, and hubris.  Racism, colonialism, class issues, slavery and politics all play a part.

From my window in Sky, it seemed as though I could see the whole of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.  That was a fallacy, I knew: scriveners have proven that the world is round.  Yet it is easy to imagine.  So many winking lights, like stars on the ground.

My People were audacious builders once.  We carved our cities into mountainsides and positioned our temples to make a calender of the stars – but we could never have built anything like Sky.  Nor could the Amn, of course, not without the aid of their captive gods, but this is not the main reason Sky is deeply, profoundly wrong in Darre eyes.  It is blasphemy to separate oneself from the earth and look down on it like a god.  It is more than blasphemy, it is dangerous.  We can never be gods, after all – but we can become something less than human with frightening ease.  From page 74.

Drawn into this world I found I could not put this book down and it has taken me a while to come up with words to express my thoughts. I may be going out on a limb here, but for me, after reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms,  N.K. Jemisin has joined with Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia Butler as one of my favorite science fiction/ fantasy authors.  I can not wait to read the other books in The Inheritance Trilogy and her new Dreamblood series.

Jemisin has been publishing short stories for a while now.  I have got to pay more attention to print and online Science Fiction/Fantasy publications!


Filed under Fantasy, Mythology, Once Upon A Time VI, Thoughts

14 responses to “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

  1. Yay! Love seeing NK Jemisin being praised anywhere around the blogosphere — I’ve enjoyed her books a lot, and as well, when I’ve read her blog posts, she’s just sounded so sensible and clever.

  2. I really enjoyed this book, too. I need to get my hands on the sequels! And I completely agree with Jenny about her blog.

  3. I haven’t read this yet, though it’s on my challenge list for OuaT! I hope to get to it shortly. It does sound so good. Thanks for your fabulous review, I really enjoyed it (and am determined to get to the book sometime in the next month). Have you got the next one at your library too, do you know? I know it’s out in paperback here now.

  4. buriedinprint

    I picked up a copy of this on audio and just hope that it’s a good fit for that format; otherwise it sounds like a Must Buy (not a borrow). I’m really looking forward to it!

    • I am really curious to heard what you think of the audio version of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I’ve decided I’m going to find used copies of all three books.

  5. I think you will draw in a lot of readers with this review and your description of the world building.

  6. What a great review. I haven’t heard of this book before reading this but feel I should now go and check it out. Thanks.
    Lynn :D

  7. I keep reading great reviews for this! I just put it on hold. Great review.

    • I can’t wait to see what you think of The Ten Thousand Kingdoms. I am in the middle of reading the second book and am finding it highly entertaining on many levels. Maybe I just need some good fantasy right now!

  8. I’ve had this on my wish list for ages and keep meaning to get it. And now you’ve fired my curiosity again. I can see how much you enjoyed it from your post!

  9. Pingback: Sunday Salon – What I’ve Been Reading | Page247

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s