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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy #1) 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 with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together.

Released: February 25th 2010     Pages: 427
Publisher: Orbit                          Source: Library
First Look: ***** My initial reaction to this book's series title: Inheritance Trilogy.  Trilogy.


Okay, so Christopher Paolini's little trick he pulled after Brisingr wasn't so funny at the time. But I can laugh now.

 Setting: ***** 
The setting, in itself, was fine.  My problem, though, was that I wasn't given any reason to care about it.  Okay, so evil people are about to become this place's rulers.  Fine.  But why should I care?  Yeine, the main character, loved her homeland, but that was as far as it went.  I didn't know much about anything outside the palace. 

My other problem was that the magic system made no sense.  It had no defined rules.  First, the gods showed up.  Then, though, out of nowhere, Yeine had all these powers.  First she had a little power, but suddenly it was BAM! and she has (and can use) a huge amount of magic with no training at all.

 Characters: ***** 
I couldn't find much to like about Yeine.  For one, she hardly did anything throughout the entire book.  She sat around at court, eavesdropped a little, and hung out with a creepy thousand-year-old being in a nine-year-old's body.  The major thing that bugged me about her, though, was her low self-esteem in terms of physical appearance.  She didn't think she was pretty.  She didn't like her hair, her eyes, or her "boyish" figure.  She complained about it regularly.  This kind of negative self-image is, unfortunately, realistic.  However, it annoys me when this aspect of a character never changes or develops.  For example, Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns hates how her body looks.  However, throughout the books, she learns to love herself more. 

In Yeine's case, though, there was never any progress.  When a character complains about how they look, and the author never does anything about their low self-esteem, it grates on my nerves.  At the same time, it's degrading to the character.  Why does Yeine have to keep putting herself down like this, for no good reason?

In terms of everyone else...I didn't care much.  Nahadoth and Sieh creeped me out.

 Plot: ***** The more I think about it, the more I realize that nothing really happened in this book.  It didn't drag on and on, but Yeine never really did anything.  Like I said before, she hung out with people who were clearly creepy and dangerous to her, and eavesdropped.  She didn't take action--she let things happen to her. 

I didn't understand why she didn't run far, far away from Nahadoth and the rest of the gods.  If a thousand-year-old deity with an unstable dual personality.  And besides, he had a huge amount of power threatening to spill over.  Phenomenal cosmic powers, itty bitty living space.  Okay, fine.  I reworded this entire paragraph so I could make that reference.  I regret nothing.  If this guy showed interest in me, I wouldn't encourage him, like Yeine did.  I wouldn't talk to him.  I wouldn't go near him.  I would get away as fast as possible.  But no, she had to go and start a relationship with him.  I wanted to knock some sense into her.

 Uniqueness: ***** 
It had some unique elements, like the idea of all the kingdoms, the relationship between the humans and gods (except that the gods basically just acted like humans anyway), and a few other things.  However, none of these elements were fully developed, so none of them ever stood out to me.

Writing: ***** 
So many times, the narration would come out with a metaphor that was trying to be eloquent and clever.  Most times, though, it didn't quite make it.  I could tell that the thought was there, but it never quite worked for me.  And then, sometimes, some phrases were just weird and made me say "What?"  Like this one:

"...his lips make me crave soft, ripe fruit."

Never, once, in my seventeen years of being a straight female, have I looked at an attractive guy's lips and thought, "You know, I could really go for an orange right now."  I spent a solid five minutes trying to puzzle out this sentence.  What...just, what?  Does this seem weird to anyone else?  "Wow, that guy is gorgeous.  He has lips...I want oranges.  Mangos.  Bananas.  I NEED FRUIT.  Someone go to the store and get me an entire pineapple or something, STAT!"  I can't get over this.  I just can't.

I also was annoyed by the use of 'round instead of around and 'til instead of until.  Is it that hard to write out one or two extra letters?

 Likes: ...

Not-so-great: Half the names, it seemed, were difficult or impossible to pronounce.  T'vril? Nahadoth? Enefadeh? Ygreth?  I can do this, too.  Aw;eoijfaslkdfj.  Or, as one of my favorite authors once wrote, Thardsvergûndnzmal.  And then there's always Raxacoricofallapatorius.

Overall: This wasn't a bad book, but I wasn't impressed with it, either.  Yeine doesn't do anything, and spends way too much time complaining about how "ugly" she looks.  She also makes a pretty dumb decision to start a relationship with a guy that is obviously dangerous to her.  The plot didn't drag, but it wasn't exciting, either.  Some of the writing felt a little weird.  Overall, it's an okay book, but I probably won't be reading the sequels.  No, my Inheritance Trilogy will always be Christopher Paolini's.  I don't care if it has four books.  I've been with it since it had three, so I can call it a trilogy of I want.

Similar Books: It features a female main character in a high fantasy setting like Poison Study, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and Grave Mercy, and has a more political tone like The Poison Throne or Falling Kingdoms.
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  1. I love the title of this book -- especially in that font on the cover, with the colors in the background... it looks kind of pretty. But I hate books where the protag doesn't DO anything. And where world-building drags. (World-building is one of my favorite parts of writing! It's so fun! Why would you skip over it?!)

    And what a weird metaphor -- soft fruit? Really? It's... original, to say the least. (Rotten fruit is probably a lot softer than ripe fruit, anyways. But I suppose that would put people off.)

    Anyways, have a blessed day! Great (and informative) post!

    1. I agree with you about worldbuilding! Where else do you get to create an entire world, all by yourself, however you want? It's so cool.

      Thank you! You have a blessed day, as well. :)


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