Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

August 17, 2009
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
By N. K. Jemisin
©2010, Orbit Hachette Book Group

First off, once the Nahadoth Nightlord T-shirt and action figure line becomes available—I must be notified immediately! Can we say sizzling, long-haired, uber-Badboy? Shall we say this is the same kind of insane attraction that an legendary, fanged Transylvanian possesses? Yum.

Don't ask how I have come into possession of The Ten Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin. Suffice it to say, I won't betray my fellow pro-Enefadeh. The Itempan Arameri have their scriveners recording every word I say. I'll keep typing as fast as I can.

Yeine Darr Arameri, the protagonist, comes across as a solid everywoman despite her fantastical surroundings. The novel remains in her point of view. Her trouble is most of the novel's cast seeks her death for one reason or another. Yeine balances being a reader surrogate during charged exchanges with the afore-mentioned Nahadoth, being the kind of heroine who transforms from awkward barbarian to a force for justice in a vicious, amoral world, and being comfortably herself.

I fell in love with the book almost from the moment I saw the author photo on the back. People of color have an ancient tradition of fabulous story-telling. I, for one, demand more volumes to choose from and The Ten Thousand Kingdoms has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf. The brooding cover art also promised a delicious, female-centered darkness. 398 pages later, I wasn't disappointed. Cross-pollination between genres is welcome. Romance readers and fans of Shonen-Ai may also find this book to their liking. I appreciated so much the inclusion of alternative sexualities. Think on this, an incestuous triangle between two gods and their deceased sister-goddess lies at the heart of the conflict. This is the kind of book that derives its intense eroticism, not from gratuituous prose, but from the understated image of its aftermath: a broken bed. Read into that whatever you will.


Her Tangh-i-ness

Disclosure: I received a free advance copy of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

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