Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (The Inheritance Omnibus Part 1)
Series: The Inheritance Trilogy
Also by this author: The Fifth Season
Published by Orbit on December 9, 2014
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
The Inheritance Trilogy omnibus includes the novels: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods, and a brand new novella set in the same world: The Awakened Kingdom.A REALM OF GODS AND MORTALS.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.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was a fresh and enjoyable read. Something about it just felt different then what I typically read, in a very good way. There are some familiar elements in the beginning: An unexpecting heir (Yeine) comes to court, unprepared, somewhat ignorant of how things work. This is something I have seen before, and honestly, it can go either way for me. Luckily, it worked quite well in this case. Yes, there were some familiar elements, but overall there were so many different things that the story was fresh and original. And quite enjoyable.
The protagonist, Yeine is a great character. She is strong in character and personality, and while she is out of her element, she still strives to do what is right. And even better, I became quite curious and taken by secondary characters. I found myself trying to work out their ultimate goals and motivations, wondering if they are actually friend of foe to Yeine. It’s a big political dance, every one maneuvering themselves and it’s hard for Yeine (and hence the reader), to be sure whose interest anyone is trying to serve. Hers or theirs? Or could it potentially be both? Determining who is trust worthy is challenge!
Also, I enjoyed the appearance of the gods in this. There are some gods that are trapped in in human form, making them quite accessible characters, but more than human. The childlike Sieh is one of these, and is very intriguing. He may seem like a young child, but he is a god, and hence has history and motivations of his own. You can’t help but wonder if his chosen form as a young boy is really a calculated maneuver. I found myself very curious to figure out what his motivation/goal was. And then there is the creepy Nightlord, the one that instills fear and kills on command. He seems to only reign terror and destruction (with a dash of chaos), but there is this strange sexual tension between him and Yeine that makes you wonder about him, if there is more than what you see on the surface. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of their relationship, but that made sense as I don’t think Yeine knew what to make of it either.
My only real negative observation was the parts of the story where the narrator would start of by saying something to the effect of “Sorry, I got mixed up, here, let me go tell you about two days earlier”. I have to admit to not caring for when the narrator spoke to the reader like this. My reaction was “just tell the story, if you mix it up, mix it up, but dont explain directly to me that you mixed it up”. Overall a minor nitpick (it didn’t happen often), but it did pull me out of the flow of reading a bit. I would never let this detail keep me from sharing everything else that I did love about the book. The good points of this book didn’t just outweigh the bad, they pulverized it. Much to love, little to nitpick.
Finally, without saying what it is, I loved the ending. I just want to share that final impression, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Actually, I loved the entire book. It was fresh, different and just really fun. I absolutely plan on finishing the trilogy and checking out Jemisin’s other books.
I received The Inheritance Omnibus for review from the publisher (this does not effect my review). My thanks to Orbit for this collection of books!