The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

N. K. Jemisin
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Cover

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Parnassus Reads

I first picked this up mainly based on the cover; I am one of those people who judge books by their covers, and this book's cover is lovely and intriguing. I am happy to say that the book did the cover justice. The world is fully realized and well described; I was easily and completely sucked into it. The pacing is fast–by the second chapter, the main character, Yeine, has already left her homeland and arrived at the city of Sky. The pace keeps the story moving, but the story never feels rushed. Jemisin's prose is easy and accesible, and her world is quickly but completely sketched.

The characters themselves are easily relatable, even her gods, who are sometimes painted with more humanity than some of the other characters. While the prose, characters, and world may sound rather simple, each is actually fairly complex. There are multiple layers of politics at work in the city of Sky, and I would have like to have stayed in this area for the next book (I am currently reading it, and all I can say thus far is that it takes place several years after the events in the first book, though I know the main gods, at least, return at some point). Even the gods, who are eternal and at times indifferent, are complexly drawn by Jemisin. The build up to the ending felt bigger than the ending itself, but it was still satisfying and left me wanting more with these characters.

There is a strong, though not overpowering, element of romance, but the heroine is no sucker for a pretty face (well, that may be a lie, but you'll have to read it to see what I mean). This is definitely fantasy, but romantic fantasy at its best. I would place it in the category of Jacqueline Carey's Kusheline series, but maybe not quite in that league. However, if you want a good, strong female lead, those seemingly rare creatures in fantasy, this is a good book to pick up.