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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
by N.K. Jemisin

I really enjoyed this novel and was a little blown away by it, too. A fantasy novel st largely in the castle of Sky, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms tells of Yeine, barbarian daughter of a the disowned princess of the Arameri king, called back to her mother's home to be one of three heirs contesting for the throne during the king's last days. Yeine must acclimate to the refined yet vicious society of Sky, figure out how to deal with the other two heirs, find out more about her mother's mysterious death, and determine her relationship with the Arameri's enslaved god and godlings (yes, this is indeed quite messed up).
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms has an engrossing plot and some great characters. There were many things that were more or less as I expected, but also many things that were rather surprising. I especially loved the deities and mythology that Jemisin created. It managed to both fall into recognizable patterns and to have a lot of originality, and the balance between these two aspects made it all really work. I also liked the way Jemisin turned a couple of fantasy cliches on their heads - the castle of Sky, despite having all the makings of a glorious place of beauty and wonder that is worth fighting for is instead anything but. The conflicts between the gods are not clashes between good an evil but are instead predicated on jealousy and anger.
This novel grapples with a lot of deeper questions. Yeine must work out what the right thing to do when she must engage with a deeply unjust and cruel system and at least partially take part in it. How does one try to fix relationships between gods, and between gods and humans that have become horribly unbalanced?


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