I was inspired to read “the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” after hearing the title repeated over and over again at this year’s WisCon. The tipping point for me was N.K. Jemisin’s guest of honor speech (which you need to read). She is a powerful speaker and a powerful woman, and I knew I had to get my hands on her book!
As soon as I received my next paycheck I downloaded the e-book and delved into the fantastical world N.K. Jemisin has created. I went in with high expectations, and I was not disappointed. She dances around fantasy tradition, flouts patriarchal truths, and weaves an entirely new, entirely refreshing story. We enter the mind of a biracial woman named Yeine who is thrown into a world of political intrigue and enslaved gods when she is summoned to Sky. She struggles with reconciling her two identities and finds herself simultaneously advantaged and disadvantaged by Sky’s stereotypes of her matriarchal home country. Yiene is as complex as she is a bad-ass.
However, I would be remiss if I did not mention a word or two, or thousands, about the characters of the enslaved gods. I love Nahadoth, who defies gender labels, and I LOVE (all caps) Sieh, who is both young and old and a cat. What more can I say about Sieh? I would like to name a future child after him. He is fiercely loyal, mischievous, and the epitome of childhood playfulness. There are other gods, and other characters I could mention, but honestly I think you should just go read the book.
I highly, highly recommend it.