Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

“Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.”

I will be honest – though I consider fantasy my favorite genre to read, I just couldn’t get into this book and eventually had to put it down unfinished. This largely had to do with the author’s writing style, which was quite cyclical, something that I, as a straight-forward kind of person, do not prefer.

I also didn’t care for the author’s lack of subtlety in her writing. Instead of trusting her readers to pick up on little clues she has left along the way whose importance will eventually come to light, she has Yeine make statements such as, “I am not sure why I remember this now, but I am certain it is somehow important,” (40), which just screams “plot point” to a reader.

There was also a lot about the world Jemisin created that just gave me a squicky feeling, like nearly everyone in the book having sex with . . . anyone, regardless of whether they’re closely related to them, or a child. These are just not things that I care to read about. Above all, though, the plotlines of the story were just odd at times and got even more so the more I read. Sometimes I can overlook this sort of thing if the book provides characters whom I care about and in which I am interested, but Jemisin did not even grant me that boon.

You’ll notice that my complaints are largely personal issues I have with this book, rather than a grievance I have over poor writing or the like, so feel free to disregard what I have mentioned if you don’t think this will prevent you from enjoying The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. For myself, though, I will not continue with any of the author’s forthcoming works. To each his or her own.

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