Friday, 30 August 2013

Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy, #1)The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think the best way to describe this book is 'layered.' The story centres around family disputes, mortal and godly, composed of layers of love and bitterness and jealousy and revenge, and the problems are never easily resolved. Neither are this world's political problems. The Arameri ruling family hide their cruelty under a layer of order and 'peace' which is really hegemony, and their mistreatment of other races under a veneer of false civility, which as Yeine says, mocks the suffering of their victims.

I loved how Jemisin didn't portray all parties as being equally at fault, or as simply needing to stop fighting and get along, because there is great injustice in the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and that has to be acknowledged before it can begin to be changed.

This is a complex, first-person narrative, weaving together Yeine's childhood in Darr and her grandmother's stories and her commentary on her world and her short time in the Arameri capital. (view spoiler) This isn't always a happy book - it couldn't be, with all the terrible things happening in its world - but it's an effective and captivating one.

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