A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: N K Jemisin

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Ever since I began working a corporate job, the number of single-sitting books I’ve read can be counted on one hand; maybe my attention span has reduced or I just don’t have the time (yeah yeah, I know it’s a poor excuse). But when I do, I have seen that two times out of three, it’s a fantasy book. There’s just something about well-written fantasy that captures my attention, more than any other category of book.

Yeine is mourning her mother’s death as she is appointed leader of Darre, a minor kingdom in the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, ruled by the magical Arameri. So when she is invited by her estranged Grandfather to the floating city of Sky, the Arameri palace and named one of his heirs, she thinks it’s a chance to uncover the truth, but she soon realizes she is in over her head. She has to contend with powerful gods struggling under human subjugation, scheming heirs wanting to kill her off, the mystery of her mother’s death and the truth of who she really is.

This is a classic outsider-thrown-into-turbulent-times story, but Jemisin breathes fresh life into it, through the characters and the world-building. Yeine is the type of fantasy heroine I like best – smart, spunky, one who keeps the story going. There are secrets and political and personal intrigue, but not so much that you are lost, and the book coasts along at a brisk pace from scene to scene. The relationship between Yeine and Naharoth (one of the subjugated gods) had me rolling my eyes though, with all traits of an M&B romance, and the ending was not particularly surprising, but then I might have read a lot of fantasy. But, having struggled with finishing a lot of books in recent times, I’m always happy when a single-sitting book comes along and captures my interest like this one did.

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