The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve finished a book. But I finally did it! (Too bad it was about a week late for me to partake in the Vaginal Fantasy discussion– actually, I wasn’t even home the night of the hangout, so I wouldn’t have been able to either way. *shrug*)

Since I’m from San Francisco and still saddened by the 49ers’ loss not really a sports person, this past weekend was the perfect opportunity to dive into a novel. I ended up devouring it.

A high fantasy novel set within an elaborate world and led by a female protagonist (of color!), N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is absolutely mesmerizing. The world and mythology is so rich and the language is gorgeous.

Poetic and well-paced, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms twists and turns (there were many a time I actually said “WTF” aloud! The actual phrase of course, not just the acronym– although, I’ve totally done that too), and all the mystery and confusion ultimately pays off in the end.

To be perfectly honest, if I could give it four and a half stars, I would, if only because I feel some of the characters aren’t as fleshed out as they could be, however, I understand that comes with the territory given the first person perspective. Additionally, I wish the protagonist had more agency– although that idea in and of itself is addressed and explored within the story, so points for that.

Character issues aside, the world-building is the strongest aspect of the novel as well as my favorite. The cosmology and subsequent moral thematics (e.g. the nature and consequences of desire; change; free will) are so fascinating and I love how ingrained it was within the novel. There are so many nuanced customs and philosophies for the different societies within the story, and they make sense when understood through the mythology. I really wish there was more backstory for the gods (I assume this happens in the rest of the series?), because holy hells, they were my favorite. C’mon, sassy, pansexual, pseudo-incestuous gods are the best. Always.

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