Musings: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy, #1)I adore this book. I could not sleep after reading it – after staying up ridiculously late to finish reading it – my mind was too busy. I bought the trade paperback of the book and read it again within two months because I love this book so much. It was even better the second time through, knowing what I knew now about the events and characters.

Perhaps one day I’ll write a proper review for this, but for now, I can only tell you that I give this book five stars and I recommend it to everyone.

For now, some of the many thoughts inspired by The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. (SPOILERS)

First and foremost, there is NAHADOTH. I might as well get him out of the way. He oozes sexuality and seduction as much as he does darkness and inspires thoughts and reaction GIFs, but, while I appreciated the tastefully done erotic moments, I loved more the tenderness, the pain, the loss, the loneliness, the heartache. The rage and violence had their place too, but it was the moments that Yeine coaxed out of him that had that much more meaning for me and the image I hold in my head is of him comforting her through her tears.

“…and when I lift my head to scream out my fury, a million stars turn black and die. No one can see them, but they are my tears.”

Second only to Nahadoth is SIEH. He so perfectly embodies both child and god and his relationship with Yeine is beyond words. I loved that Yeine, to the end, loved him, but never truly replaced his mother. And he understood that. But I loved too that he could offer her as much comfort as she him.

“He is a child, mind you – not in age, but in nature. He acts on impulse. He has a child’s creativity…a child’s cruelty. And he is Nahadoth’s, blood and soul. Just think about that, Lady. The Nightlord, living embodiment of all that we who serve the Bright fear and despise. Sieh is his firstborn son.”
I did think about it. But strangely, the image that came most clearly to mind was Sieh’s utter contentment when I’d put an arm around him that first night. Later I would understand that I had already begun to love Sieh, possibly in that very moment.

MOTHERS: Both series (the other being Game of Thrones) that I blog my musings for have included my thoughts on mothers and how they are presented. Both series recognize the cruelty a mother can do to a child even as they love them. Such power we wield over creatures born to love us unconditionally. How easily we can corrupt and bend and destroy them and yet they would still look up to us. And then I hugged my own children close because simply writing these words disturbs me to my core even as it inspires a future blog post….? (also see Regina and Cora, OUAT …).

“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”

The GODS themselves … the mythologies and religions I know always feature gods with very human traits. That is what they are at the core, after all; created by us, in our own image, but lacking true human understanding. Here they are bound in human form and made to serve… Mortals wielding power over gods and revealing humanity’s penchant for utter cruelty when given power. A trope, but one easily forgiven because of how true it is.

“We can never be gods, after all–but we can become something less than human with frightening ease.”

That YIENE is and would be the vessel for ENEFA was not surprising. That Enefa, goddess of dawn and dusk, would have to die and be reborn was not surprising. But I admit surprise at Viraine housing Itempas all that time. It made sense, but at the same time, I wondered at the concept of the Enefadeh not realizing it.
The amount of POLITICKING was just enough. I often find myself skimming through books that get too caught up in the plotting of politics that are only side plots to the overall, but this was just right, such that I read and understood it all and actually cared about the outcomes.
I know there are two more books in the SERIES, but I feel fulfilled at the moment with this one. I am a lover of the inconclusive ending though I figured I’d be jumping on to the next book to learn what came next, but this left just enough to speculation, while closing the chapter on other things. I intend to savour this for a moment, before starting the next chapter.
NARRATION. When reading a book told in first person, my brain invariably keeps thinking “how are you remembering all this?” during the whole process. Not this time. The way it was written was perfect. Interrupted thoughts. Forgotten items remembered. Misplaced information. Dreams. Conversing souls.
YEINE herself was the perfect character in her imperfections. Meant to be merely a vessel, she proved herself to be … herself… and I loved all the moments of “weakness” she was permitted to show without spending the time repeatedly berating herself for them.
ITEMPAS‘ punishment is like a twisted Jesus story. But will he truly learn what Yiene wants him to learn? I suppose that is to be seen in future books, but at the end of this one, I found myself wondering if that would ever happen. I picture his madness deepening, now trapped as his brother was. Yiene gave him the human form of Nahadoth as a companion, but I imagine the latter becoming a target for the madness and fury. At least, Naha can leave, though.

2 Comments on “Musings: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin”

  1. Pingback: Tough Traveling: Named, Famous, or Sentient Weapons | The BiblioSanctum

  2. Pingback: Tough Traveling: Holidays | The BiblioSanctum

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