N.K. Jemisin’s THE HUNDRED-THOUSAND KINGDOMS (Book 1 of The Inheritance Trilogy), is an exciting novel with the “finished” feel of a seasoned pro. To start with the cover is beautiful and compelling, which even though it shouldn’t matter, is always a plus. The story is about, Yeine Darr, whose mother was the disowned daughter of Dakarta the ruler of the world, and Dakarta’s choice to draw her into the contest to see which of his three (including Yeine) chosen relative will succeed her on the throne. Yeine as a ruler of a small provincial kingdom seems outmatched by the cleverness of her sophisticated rivals form the capital city, not to mention unskilled in managing the enslaved gods that roam the corridors of the colossal Sky Palace–where nearly all of the story take place–and are subject to the will of anyone bearing Dakarta’s bloodline. The story hums along at pace fast enough to prevent any chance of boredom as Yeine fends off the schemes of her rivals, while attempting to unravel the mystery of her mother’s life and death and to deal with her ever growing attraction to dark Nahadoth the God of Chaos, and her love for Sieh, the Child-God, because the Gods, though enslaved now, were never meant to be . . .
The only possible weakness in the novel comes not in the novel itself, but in the expectation created by the title which conjures expectations of an epic “world at war” in line with Erikson & Esselmont’s MALAZAN books or George R.R. Martin’s A SONG OF FIRE AND ICE series. To be fair there is a war involved, but nearly all the action takes place in the Sky Palace itself and is conflict on a personal level rather than grand battles. Anyone who enjoys Jacqueline Carey’s KUSHIEL series, the works of Guy Gavriel Kay, or just wants a heckuva of good read should buy this book.
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