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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Book 1 (The Inheritance Trilogy) Paperback – February 25, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 349 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Inheritance Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Convoluted without being dense, Jemisin's engaging debut grabs readers right from the start. Yeine desires nothing more than a normal life in her barbarian homeland of Darr. But her mother was of the powerful Arameri family, and when Yeine is summoned to the capital city of Sky a month after her mother's murder, she cannot refuse. Dakarta, her grandfather and the Arameri patriarch, pits her against her two cousins as a potential heir to the throne. In an increasingly deep Zelaznyesque series of political maneuverings, Yeine, nearly powerless but fiercely determined, finds potential allies among her relatives and the gods who are forced to live in Sky as servants after losing an ancient war. Multifaceted characters struggle with their individual burdens and desires, creating a complex, edge-of-your-seat story with plenty of funny, scary, and bittersweet twists. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

Yeine Darr, mourning the murder of her mother, is summoned to the magnificent and beautiful city of Sky by the king, her grandfather. He names her his heir but has already assigned that role to both his niece and his nephew, so what he’s now done is set up a competitive and thorny three-way power struggle. Yeine, looking more like her Darre father than her Arameri mother, may be a baroness in the Arameri world, but in the matriarchal North she is a chieftain of her people. She is also terrified and fascinated by the gods who roam Sky, including the nocturnally monstrous Nahadoth and the childlike Sieh. In just a few days, Yeine discovers that every action has consequences when she inadvertently sets up Darre to be attacked and realizes that her role in the succession to the throne may be that of a human sacrifice. This complex tale of politics, assassination, racism, and gods too intimately involved in the lives of humans is a challenging read and a notable authorial debut. --Diana Tixier Herald
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Product Details

  • Series: The Inheritance Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; Original edition (February 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316043915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316043915
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brent Weeks on February 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
[This review is based on an Advanced Reading Copy]

What if gods were real...and walked among us...enslaved...and were used as weapons...and were really pissed off about it?

N.K. Jemisin is a gifted storyteller and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a satisfying tale built on intriguing ideas. Buy this book if you love the flights of imagination only possible in fantasy. Buy it if you love stories of betrayal, murder, hard truths, and being in way over your head.

The book is written in the first person. I usually hate this. Here, it works. There are scattered, apparent digressions: snippets of history, backstory. This may bother you. I thought it fit, and the digressions served a purpose. Though the story deals with politics at the highest level, the cast is small. For those who get lost and frustrated in a George R. R. Martin-sized cast, this is a boon. Jemisin's characters are clearly differentiated and easy to remember. Those who love additional complexity may wish the cast were larger and the book longer. This IS the first book in a trilogy, so I'm sure we'll get to see more in later books. The world is fascinating, but we spend most of this book inside the central palace of Sky. The visuals are clear and cool.

[Full disclosure: I have met Ms. Jemisin once, and she is published by the same company I am. However, neither she nor Orbit asked me to do this review.]

N.K. Jemisin is a debut novelist who deserves the chance to write many more novels. But you don't care about that, and you shouldn't. The only question that matters to you is, "Among all my other options, is THIS book worth my money and my time?" Yes, and yes. Emphatically.

-Brent Weeks
NYT Best-selling Author of The Night Angel Trilogy
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the first book in the Inheritance Trilogy, written by first time author N.K. Jemisin, a new voice in the fantasy genre. The book is far from perfect, but as far as debut novels go, it's pretty good. The story follows the adventures of Yeine, leader of a somewhat barbarian tribe who happens to be the granddaughter of the most powerful man in the world. Her grandfather, seemingly out of the blue, names her one of three potential heirs. Yeine finds herself in a whole new world of intrigue and danger, as she realizes that her rivals will stop at nothing to take the throne. And even more dangerous, perhaps, is the fact that Yeine's grandfather and his progeny control a God and his offspring who, bitter after years of abuse and confinement, have their own deadly agendas.

Jemisin writes from the limited first person perspective of Yeine. So a lot of the action occurs off the page and is related by Yeine some time later. Yeine is an entertaining narrator. She is intelligent, funny, and likeable. She is also pretty ignorant at first, which leaves the reader equally ignorant. If you like that style of writing, you should like Jemisin's style. The prose is nothing fancy. Jemisin can write some pretty good descriptive narration when she wants to, but it doesn't really fit with Yeine's style of addressing the reader. The dialogue is generally sound but can be a little wooden and unrealistic at times. The result of the narrative, too, is that some plot elements and action sequences are poorly explained. The novel can be confusing at times, not because of any internal complexity, but simply from poor explanation. But for the most part, the reader can understand what is going on pretty easily.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Dreamy prose and an even dreamier plot.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms refers to the collective world, governed by the god-favored Arameri clan. After the death of the exiled Arameri heir, the head of the Arameri clan names his granddaughter Yeine heir to the entire Hundred Thousand Kingdoms...along with two other Arameri contestants. When Yeine enters Sky, the Arameri castle suspended in the air by an impossibly thin column of rock, she must pit herself against her two deadly competitors while also negotiating with ancient, volatile gods that roam the castle halls, imprisoned in their mortal shells.

First off, this is how a book about gods should be written. After a war amongst the three "founding" gods, the one victorious god punished the others by imprisoning them in mortal bodies and binding their existence to the Arameri. These imprisoned gods were made subject to the commands of their Arameri masters, and for the past centuries, the Arameri called upon the gods' awesome power to subjugate their enemies and establish their dominance over the world. In light of this, the author does a fantastic job humanizing the gods while maintaining their otherworldly alienness. The child god Sieh was especially well written. The author elegantly resolves the paradox of an infinitely old god with a child's mindset.

However, perhaps because the focus of the novel was on the myth- and world-building, the plot seemed sluggish. If you're expecting political intrigue or power plays, you'll be disappointed. Perhaps it's because we join at the near end of things, but the two other competitors are already established figures and the other Arameri seem hopelessly docile to their whims.

Also, Yeine does not expectedly overthrow the status quo.
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