The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Series #1)

( 245 )

Overview

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the debut novel from a major new voice in fantasy fiction.

...
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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Series #1)

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Overview

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the debut novel from a major new voice in fantasy fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Convoluted without being dense, Jemisin’s engaging debut grabs readers right from the start. Yeine desires nothing more than a normal life in her “barbarian” homeland of Darr. But her mother was of the powerful Arameri family, and when Yeine is summoned to the capital city of Sky a month after her mother’s murder, she cannot refuse. Dakarta, her grandfather and the Arameri patriarch, pits her against her two cousins as a potential heir to the throne. In an increasingly deep Zelaznyesque series of political maneuverings, Yeine, nearly powerless but fiercely determined, finds potential allies among her relatives and the gods who are forced to live in Sky as servants after losing an ancient war. Multifaceted characters struggle with their individual burdens and desires, creating a complex, edge-of-your-seat story with plenty of funny, scary, and bittersweet twists. (Mar.)
Library Journal
When her mother dies mysteriously, outcast barbarian Yeine Darr answers a summons to the grand city of Sky from her grandfather, King Dekarta Arameri. Proclaimed one of three heirs to the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Yeine must learn the customs of the skyborne capital and its ruling elite before she succumbs to their treachery. Debut author Jemisin creates a mesmerizingly exotic world where fallen gods serve as slaves to the ruling class and murder and ambition go hand in hand. VERDICT An engaging heroine and a fresh take on traditional dynastic fantasy make this trilogy opener a delight for the fantasy reader and introduce a strong new voice to the genre.
Kirkus Reviews
Debut fantasy features an intriguing, well-drawn mythology. At first glance, the basic plot may seem standard: A young woman, narrator/protagonist Yeine Darr, is named heir to the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which plunges her into a power struggle with two rival cousins. But Jemisin's world-building and attention to detail raise this story to another level. In the novel's complex but well-defined universe, a war between the gods took place in the distant past. The losing divinities were punished severely and forced to become the slaves of mortal humans. Yeine's life becomes increasingly entangled with these subjugated gods as she navigates royal politics and tries to uncover the truth about her family history. Jemisin lavishes considerable care on her fictional universe, but she also creates a subtle, emotionally complex character in the thoughtful Yeine. Readers will definitely look forward to future installments of the projected Inheritance Trilogy. An offbeat, engaging tale by a talented and original newcomer.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316043922
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Series: Inheritance Trilogy Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 81,348
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 11.34 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

N. K. Jemisin is a Brooklyn author whose short fiction and novels have been multiply nominated for the Hugo, the World Fantasy Award, and the Nebula, shortlisted for the Crawford and the Tiptree, and have won the Locus Award. Her website is nkjemisin.com.

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First Chapter

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms


By Jemisin, N.K.

Orbit

Copyright © 2010 Jemisin, N.K.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316043915

1

Grandfather

I AM NOT AS I ONCE WAS. They have done this to me, broken me open and torn out my heart. I do not know who I am anymore.

I must try to remember.


*   *   *


My people tell stories of the night I was born. They say my mother crossed her legs in the middle of labor and fought with all her strength not to release me into the world. I was born anyhow, of course; nature cannot be denied. Yet it does not surprise me that she tried.


*   *   *


My mother was an heiress of the Arameri. There was a ball for the lesser nobility—the sort of thing that happens once a decade as a backhanded sop to their self-esteem. My father dared ask my mother to dance; she deigned to consent. I have often wondered what he said and did that night to make her fall in love with him so powerfully, for she eventually abdicated her position to be with him. It is the stuff of great tales, yes? Very romantic. In the tales, such a couple lives happily ever after. The tales do not say what happens when the most powerful family in the world is offended in the process.


*   *   *


But I forget myself. Who was I, again? Ah, yes.

My name is Yeine. In my people’s way I am Yeine dau she Kinneth tai wer Somem kanna Darre, which means that I am the daughter of Kinneth, and that my tribe within the Darre people is called Somem. Tribes mean little to us these days, though before the Gods’ War they were more important.

I am nineteen years old. I also am, or was, the chieftain of my people, called ennu. In the Arameri way, which is the way of the Amn race from whom they originated, I am the Baroness Yeine Darr.

One month after my mother died, I received a message from my grandfather Dekarta Arameri, inviting me to visit the family seat. Because one does not refuse an invitation from the Arameri, I set forth. It took the better part of three months to travel from the High North continent to Senm, across the Repentance Sea. Despite Darr’s relative poverty, I traveled in style the whole way, first by palanquin and ocean vessel, and finally by chauffeured horse-coach. This was not my choice. The Darre Warriors’ Council, which rather desperately hoped that I might restore us to the Arameri’s good graces, thought that this extravagance would help. It is well known that Amn respect displays of wealth.

Thus arrayed, I arrived at my destination on the cusp of the winter solstice. And as the driver stopped the coach on a hill outside the city, ostensibly to water the horses but more likely because he was a local and liked to watch foreigners gawk, I got my first glimpse of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms’ heart.

There is a rose that is famous in High North. (This is not a digression.) It is called the altarskirt rose. Not only do its petals unfold in a radiance of pearled white, but frequently it grows an incomplete secondary flower about the base of its stem. In its most prized form, the altarskirt grows a layer of overlarge petals that drape the ground. The two bloom in tandem, seedbearing head and skirt, glory above and below.

This was the city called Sky. On the ground, sprawling over a small mountain or an oversize hill: a circle of high walls, mounting tiers of buildings, all resplendent in white, per Arameri decree. Above the city, smaller but brighter, the pearl of its tiers occasionally obscured by scuds of cloud, was the palace—also called Sky, and perhaps more deserving of the name. I knew the column was there, the impossibly thin column that supported such a massive structure, but from that distance I couldn’t see it. Palace floated above city, linked in spirit, both so unearthly in their beauty that I held my breath at the sight.

The altarskirt rose is priceless because of the difficulty of producing it. The most famous lines are heavily inbred; it originated as a deformity that some savvy breeder deemed useful. The primary flower’s scent, sweet to us, is apparently repugnant to insects; these roses must be pollinated by hand. The secondary flower saps nutrients crucial for the plant’s fertility. Seeds are rare, and for every one that grows into a perfect altarskirt, ten others become plants that must be destroyed for their hideousness.


*   *   *


At the gates of Sky (the palace) I was turned away, though not for the reasons I’d expected. My grandfather was not present, it seemed. He had left instructions in the event of my arrival.

Sky is the Arameri’s home; business is never done there. This is because, officially, they do not rule the world. The Nobles’ Consortium does, with the benevolent assistance of the Order of Itempas. The Consortium meets in the Salon, a huge, stately building—white-walled, of course—that sits among a cluster of official buildings at the foot of the palace. It is very impressive, and would be more so if it did not sit squarely in Sky’s elegant shadow.

I went inside and announced myself to the Consortium staff, whereupon they all looked very surprised, though politely so. One of them—a very junior aide, I gathered—was dispatched to escort me to the central chamber, where the day’s session was well under way.

As a lesser noble, I had always been welcome to attend a Consortium gathering, but there had never seemed any point. Besides the expense and months of travel time required to attend, Darr was simply too small, poor, and ill-favored to have any clout, even without my mother’s abdication adding to our collective stain. Most of High North is regarded as a backwater, and only the largest nations there have enough prestige or money to make their voices heard among our noble peers. So I was not surprised to find that the seat reserved for me on the Consortium floor—in a shadowed area, behind a pillar—was currently occupied by an excess delegate from one of the Senm-continent nations. It would be terribly rude, the aide stammered anxiously, to dislodge this man, who was elderly and had bad knees. Perhaps I would not mind standing? Since I had just spent many long hours cramped in a carriage, I was happy to agree.

So the aide positioned me at the side of the Consortium floor, where I actually had a good view of the goings-on. The Consortium chamber was magnificently apportioned, with white marble and rich, dark wood that had probably come from Darr’s forests in better days. The nobles—three hundred or so in total—sat in comfortable chairs on the chamber’s floor or along elevated tiers above. Aides, pages, and scribes occupied the periphery with me, ready to fetch documents or run errands as needed. At the head of the chamber, the Consortium Overseer stood atop an elaborate podium, pointing to members as they indicated a desire to speak. Apparently there was a dispute over water rights in a desert somewhere; five countries were involved. None of the conversation’s participants spoke out of turn; no tempers were lost; there were no snide comments or veiled insults. It was all very orderly and polite, despite the size of the gathering and the fact that most of those present were accustomed to speaking however they pleased among their own people.

One reason for this extraordinary good behavior stood on a plinth behind the Overseer’s podium: a life-size statue of the Skyfather in one of His most famous poses, the Appeal to Mortal Reason. Hard to speak out of turn under that stern gaze. But more repressive, I suspected, was the stern gaze of the man who sat behind the Overseer in an elevated box. I could not see him well from where I stood, but he was elderly, richly dressed, and flanked by a younger blond man and a dark-haired woman, as well as a handful of retainers.

It did not take much to guess this man’s identity, though he wore no crown, had no visible guards, and neither he nor anyone in his entourage spoke throughout the meeting.

“Hello, Grandfather,” I murmured to myself, and smiled at him across the chamber, though I knew he could not see me. The pages and scribes gave me the oddest looks for the rest of the afternoon.


*   *   *


I knelt before my grandfather with my head bowed, hearing titters of laughter.

No, wait.


*   *   *


There were three gods once.

Only three, I mean. Now there are dozens, perhaps hundreds. They breed like rabbits. But once there were only three, most powerful and glorious of all: the god of day, the god of night, and the goddess of twilight and dawn. Or light and darkness and the shades between. Or order, chaos, and balance. None of that is important because one of them died, the other might as well have, and the last is the only one who matters anymore.

The Arameri get their power from this remaining god. He is called the Skyfather, Bright Itempas, and the ancestors of the Arameri were His most devoted priests. He rewarded them by giving them a weapon so mighty that no army could stand against it. They used this weapon—weapons, really—to make themselves rulers of the world.

That’s better. Now.


*   *   *


I knelt before my grandfather with my head bowed and my knife laid on the floor.

We were in Sky, having transferred there following the Consortium session, via the magic of the Vertical Gate. Immediately upon arrival I had been summoned to my grandfather’s audience chamber, which felt much like a throne room. The chamber was roughly circular because circles are sacred to Itempas. The vaulted ceiling made the members of the court look taller—unnecessarily, since Amn are a tall people compared to my own. Tall and pale and endlessly poised, like statues of human beings rather than real flesh and blood.

“Most high Lord Arameri,” I said. “I am honored to be in your presence.”

I had heard titters of laughter when I entered the room. Now they sounded again, muffled by hands and kerchiefs and fans. I was reminded of bird flocks roosting in a forest canopy.

Before me sat Dekarta Arameri, uncrowned king of the world. He was old; perhaps the oldest man I have ever seen, though Amn usually live longer than my people, so this was not surprising. His thin hair had gone completely white, and he was so gaunt and stooped that the elevated stone chair on which he sat—it was never called a throne—seemed to swallow him whole.

“Granddaughter,” he said, and the titters stopped. The silence was heavy enough to hold in my hand. He was head of the Arameri family, and his word was law. No one had expected him to acknowledge me as kin, least of all myself.

“Stand,” he said. “Let me have a look at you.”

I did, reclaiming my knife since no one had taken it. There was more silence. I am not very interesting to look at. It might have been different if I had gotten the traits of my two peoples in a better combination—Amn height with Darre curves, perhaps, or thick straight Darre hair colored Amn-pale. I have Amn eyes: faded green in color, more unnerving than pretty. Otherwise, I am short and flat and brown as forestwood, and my hair is a curled mess. Because I find it unmanageable otherwise, I wear it short. I am sometimes mistaken for a boy.

As the silence wore on, I saw Dekarta frown. There was an odd sort of marking on his forehead, I noticed: a perfect circle of black, as if someone had dipped a coin in ink and pressed it to his flesh. On either side of this was a thick chevron, bracketing the circle.

“You look nothing like her,” he said at last. “But I suppose that is just as well. Viraine?”

This last was directed at a man who stood among the courtiers closest to the throne. For an instant I thought he was another elder, then I realized my error: though his hair was stark white, he was only somewhere in his fourth decade. He, too, bore a forehead mark, though his was less elaborate than Dekarta’s: just the black circle.

“She’s not hopeless,” he said, folding his arms. “Nothing to be done about her looks; I doubt even makeup will help. But put her in civilized attire and she can convey… nobility, at least.” His eyes narrowed, taking me apart by degrees. My best Darren clothing, a long vest of white civvetfur and calf-length leggings, earned me a sigh. (I had gotten the odd look for this outfit at the Salon, but I hadn’t realized it was that bad.) He examined my face so long that I wondered if I should show my teeth.

Instead he smiled, showing his. “Her mother has trained her. Look how she shows no fear or resentment, even now.”

“She will do, then,” said Dekarta.

“Do for what, Grandfather?” I asked. The weight in the room grew heavier, expectant, though he had already named me granddaughter. There was a certain risk involved in my daring to address him the same familiar way, of course—powerful men are touchy over odd things. But my mother had indeed trained me well, and I knew it was worth the risk to establish myself in the court’s eyes.

Dekarta Arameri’s face did not change; I could not read it. “For my heir, Granddaughter. I intend to name you to that position today.”

The silence turned to stone as hard as my grandfather’s chair.

I thought he might be joking, but no one laughed. That was what made me believe him at last: the utter shock and horror on the faces of the courtiers as they stared at their lord. Except the one called Viraine. He watched me.

It came to me that some response was expected.

“You already have heirs,” I said.

“Not as diplomatic as she could be,” Viraine said in a dry tone.

Dekarta ignored this. “It is true, there are two other candidates,” he said to me. “My niece and nephew, Scimina and Relad. Your cousins, once removed.”

I had heard of them, of course; everyone had. Rumor constantly made one or the other heir, though no one knew for certain which. Both was something that had not occurred to me.

“If I may suggest, Grandfather,” I said carefully, though it was impossible to be careful in this conversation, “I would make two heirs too many.”

It was the eyes that made Dekarta seem so old, I would realize much later. I had no idea what color they had originally been; age had bleached and filmed them to near-white. There were lifetimes in those eyes, none of them happy.

“Indeed,” he said. “But just enough for an interesting competition, I think.”

“I don’t understand, Grandfather.”

He lifted his hand in a gesture that would have been graceful, once. Now his hand shook badly. “It is very simple. I have named three heirs. One of you will actually manage to succeed me. The other two will doubtless kill each other or be killed by the victor. As for which lives, and which die—” He shrugged. “That is for you to decide.”

My mother had taught me never to show fear, but emotions will not be stilled so easily. I began to sweat. I have been the target of an assassination attempt only once in my life—the benefit of being heir to such a tiny, impoverished nation. No one wanted my job. But now there would be two others who did. Lord Relad and Lady Scimina were wealthy and powerful beyond my wildest dreams. They had spent their whole lives striving against each other toward the goal of ruling the world. And here came I, unknown, with no resources and few friends, into the fray.

“There will be no decision,” I said. To my credit, my voice did not shake. “And no contest. They will kill me at once and turn their attention back to each other.”

“That is possible,” said my grandfather.

I could think of nothing to say that would save me. He was insane; that was obvious. Why else turn rulership of the world into a contest prize? If he died tomorrow, Relad and Scimina would rip the earth asunder between them. The killing might not end for decades. And for all he knew, I was an idiot. If by some impossible chance I managed to gain the throne, I could plunge the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms into a spiral of mismanagement and suffering. He had to know that.

One cannot argue with madness. But sometimes, with luck and the Skyfather’s blessing, one can understand it. “Why?”

He nodded as if he had expected my question. “Your mother deprived me of an heir when she left our family. You will pay her debt.”

“She is four months in the grave,” I snapped. “Do you honestly want revenge against a dead woman?”

“This has nothing to do with revenge, Granddaughter. It is a matter of duty.” He made a gesture with his left hand, and another courtier detached himself from the throng. Unlike the first man—indeed, unlike most of the courtiers whose faces I could see—the mark on this man’s forehead was a downturned half-moon, like an exaggerated frown. He knelt before the dais that held Dekarta’s chair, his waist-length red braid falling over one shoulder to curl on the floor.

“I cannot hope that your mother has taught you duty,” Dekarta said to me over this man’s back. “She abandoned hers to dally with her sweet-tongued savage. I allowed this—an indulgence I have often regretted. So I will assuage that regret by bringing you back into the fold, Granddaughter. Whether you live or die is irrelevant. You are Arameri, and like all of us, you will serve.”

Then he waved to the red-haired man. “Prepare her as best you can.”

There was nothing more. The red-haired man rose and came to me, murmuring that I should follow him. I did. Thus ended my first meeting with my grandfather, and thus began my first day as an Arameri. It was not the worst of the days to come.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by Jemisin, N.K. Copyright © 2010 by Jemisin, N.K.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 245 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(107)

4 Star

(88)

3 Star

(27)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 245 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 30, 2011

    In response to the review "Something to avoid" by Anonymous

    NK Jemisin's blog is NOT "anygryblackwoman;" it is one of the many blogs she follows. Get your facts straight before you post comments like that. Also, just because a person has different opinions than you doesn't mean that you can't enjoy their writing. Diversity is to be celebrated, not attacked.

    33 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing start to a new fantasy trilogy.

    Shortly after Yeine's mother passes away, a mysterious death, Yeine is called to Sky. Sky is the elite city in the air on a single column overlooking the kingdoms in which the Arameri, people awarded by the god Bright Itempas with contol of weapons given to them, live. Yeine does not know why her grandfather, whom she has never met, has required her presence in Sky. Once in Sky Yeine is bombarded with many things; being named heir to the throne, the difference in culture, the imprisoned god Nightlord and his three children called Enefadeh, and twin cousins who will do anything to be the heir to the powerful throne. Yeine is warned of how dangerous the imprisoned god and Enefadeh are, yet she has something they need. The cousins are also named heirs to the throne and Yeine is not sure what is to happen with three named heirs.

    I have to say I enjoyed this book very much. I loved the creation of the gods and why they were weakened, trapped, and tortured. Along with the way a god could be kept under thumb and used for the power holders ways, needs, or just for the power possessed. I was also mesmerized by the relationship and differences between two cultures and way of life. Then there's the wondering question of who do I trust or not trust in a new world. Not only do I, as a reader, ask this question in a new book or series but Yeine the main character has to work this out herself. I started learning of the magic present in the story, and I look forward to learning more as the rest of the trilogy unfolds.

    The story is written from Yeine's point of view, in the first person, which gives the feeling I am seeing, experiencing and learning everything with her. There are sections at the beginning and through out the chapter in which Yeine is remembering pieces of additional information or stumbling slightly in her storytelling, but if you know these sections are there you should not be confused. I liked the insight these shared as potential tidbits to help know what is going on or why.

    It was a great debate novel for Nora Jemisin and an amazing start to a trilogy. I WILL be looking forward to book two, The Broken Kingdoms due out fall 2010, and book three.

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2011

    Entertaining, but didn't live up to its potential

    This book started out great. Loved the world-building. But the sex with gods stuff just seemed absurd and interfered with my suspension of disbelief. And the ultimate fate of our heroine was easy to see coming from miles away. But it was entertaining enough that I'll probably get the next book.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2011

    Like a novelised version of a Manga!

    Ok, as a 30something male, I'm going to try not to gush like a 19yrold girl over a book about a 19yrold girl...but, this book was excellent. Combining an original and enveloping writing style with an original take (heavily influenced by the Greek pantheon) on the relationship between gods and mortals, made this debut novel for N.K. Jemisin a page turner that couldn't be put down. The author is clearly right there on the page for the reader, making the sometimes convaluted segments easily overlooked in favor of the book's overarching sentimentality.
    In the hands of most other authors this first book would have been stretched into 2 or 3 seperate parts of an overlong saga, in Jemisin's hands however, the book is compact and the story succinct leaving the reader wanting more. Like most great books the 100k Kingdoms leaves the reader wishing it hadn't ended. In a rarity however, the story is original enough and the characters hinting at a complexity that could have easily allowed this book to double itself in size.
    With a STRONG female character I'd recommend this book to anyone with highschool age daughters (strong erotic/sexual story lines may make it inappropriate for younger readers).

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2011

    Enjoyable and different

    The book is a great read and not your typical fantasy. It is Yeine's story told in the first person, as she is reminiscing yet sometimes backtracks. Occasionally, hard to follow but explained eventually. I'm definitely picking up the author's next book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms... A great way to make an entrance!

    I have just finished reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I must say, "Bravo!" to Jemisin! I am not a professional book critique in the least, nor a very adept writer. However, I must say that I have read many fantasy / science-fiction novels over the years and "The Inheritance" Trilogy is shaping up to be one of my favorites already.

    I am highly anticipating book two, "The Broken Kingdoms" and I hope Jemisin brings the thrills and suspense back with Yeine and her friends! Bravo, once again!

    V/r
    -B_Sierra_Murray

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2011

    Don't waste your time

    Bland, vanilla main character. Plot jerks back and forth in time to hide info from the reader. Baddie is going to kill main character. Main character doesn't care, so why should the reader?

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Awesome read!

    I cannot wait for the next book! I could not put it down! Awesome!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2011

    Couldn't put it down!

    It has been a long time since I started reading a book and couldn't put it down until it was over! What a fun book, with unique characters in a fantastic world. I am so glad I bought this! Can't wait for more from this author!

    If you love epic fantasy and have been bemoaning the lack of good new books in the genre, definitely check this one out!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2010

    An absolutely amazing book

    I read the sample, and at first the writing style seemed a little odd, not what I'm used is all, but by the time I got through the first chapter I was hooked. Excellent story, great characters, awesome plot. This has instantly become one of my favorites, I can't wait for the second book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great new fantasy series!

    After all this time, you would think that I would have learned by now not to judge a book by it's cover. All the years I've been reading, I really should know better. But no, I'm embarrassed to admit that I judged this one by it's cover and blurb, then assumed it wasn't for me. I was mistaken. *hangs head in shame*

    This was a recommendation on Barnes and Noble's book club blog and since I've enjoyed every other book they've recommended, thought I'd give this one a try and requested it from my library. Once I picked it up, I found myself going all judgemental on it. Thought it would be one of those epic fantasy tales that I don't like, so put it to the side. As the due date fast approached, finally picked it up and was quickly hooked! I will never doubt BN's recommendations ever again!

    The main character, Yeine, quickly won me over. She's the main narrator and tells the story the same way I would, in bits and pieces. She'll start to relate something, then stop and say no, no, first I have to tell you about this! Just like a regular conversation between friends, because who remembers everything perfectly when telling a story? I loved that!

    While there are gods and magic and a royal family and plots galore, it wasn't anything like the stereotypical epic fantasy I expected. Loved this story, and especially enjoyed Yeine. Despite being looked down upon by her royal relatives as a barbarian, Yeine is not stupid. She has to navigate her way around a dangerous new situation and figure out why she has been named heir. She knows that she's a pawn, but needs to discover why. I thought she handled herself well, and did much better than I probably would have!

    Gave this a 4/5 rating as I really enjoyed the story. Loved the characters, thought it was well written, and especially loved Yeine's voice! Looking forward to reading The Broken Kingdoms, the sequel due out this fall. Don't make the same mistake I did, or you'll miss out on a great story!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Enthralling fantasy

    Barbaric warrior Baroness Yeine Darr lives in the Northern Kingdom of Darr. When her mother dies mysteriously, she has no time to grieve or investigate. Instead she is "invited" to come to the center of the universe by the Emperor of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by her grandfather the Dekarta Arameri ruler of all. In the capital city of Sky, a bewildered Yeine learns her grandfather the ruler names her his third heir along with her cousins once removed twins Lady Scimina and Lord Relad.

    Confused and bewildered over her selection to the competition to replace the aging Dekarta, Yeine soon realizes her role at court is to be an expendable pawn used by her cousins as each has ambitions to be the next ruler. However, she also learns more about her family's history and the gods serving them; losers in the Gods War eons ago who humiliatingly must bow to the mortals as their retribution for the crime of defeat. She proves to have backbone though all at court thought she would and intelligence that none thought she had while trying to save the kingdoms and free the god-slaves.

    The first tale of the Inheritance Trilogy is a fascinating adaptation fantasy told through the filter of the heroine who uses her experiences as a chieftain and lessons from her late mother to understand the glamorous cesspool she has been tossed into. Yeine is a terrific lead protagonist who keeps the deep story line focused whether she deals with her grandfather, her amoral rivals, the slave-gods especially Nahadoth. Although the engaging story line is simplified too much between the forces of good and bad, readers will enjoy the opening account of a fully developed convoluted world in which debts of the soul are paid by losing your rights as Nahadoth the Nightlord One of the Three and now Yeine know the difference between the slave and the princess.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2012

    A novel that focuses on emotional bonds, characterization, and p

    A novel that focuses on emotional bonds, characterization, and personal
    conflicts. If you are looking for sword-fighting or armies clashing
    you'll be disappointed, but battles of will, cruel and complex plots,
    betrayal, love, and surprising but logical plot twists abound.
    Well-written technically. Jemisin creates an interesting world based on
    a unique take on gods, godhood, and the interaction of such with
    humanity. Some of the main supporting characters are gods, though the
    protagonist herself is human. Some authors flounder when using gods in
    their fiction, but Jemisin shows a deft hand, making them at once
    immensely powerful and vulnerable to their own natures.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    fun and inventive

    I stayed up late to finish the book. I have been out of the SciFi genre for many years, and this was a fun re-introduction. I will try other books by Jemisin.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I LOVED this book

    This is an excellent read. I picked it up on an impulse and I'm so glad that I did. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down.

    I loved the characters, I really feel like I got a good grasp of them, and the world and cultures were just so well done. The writing style took a little getting used to, but all in all, that really worked well also. I would highly recommend this book to anyone at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    I love a good political drama, and this book has a lot of it as well as many other things I love: political intrigue, mystery, romance, and the typical fantasy coming of age tale. The book begins with Yeine travelling from Darr to Sky, the largest city in her world and also the Palace of the ruling Arameri family...the family her mother left years before to marry Yeine's father. She is called mysteriously to the city by her grandfather, Dekarta Arameri the head of the family and all around ruler of the world she lives in. When her mother left the family, she was disowned and no one ever bothered with Yeine before, so she wonders what her grandfather wants with her. She has no interest in her mother's family other than to find out what role if any they had with her death. She soon learns that Dekarta is acknowledging her as one of his heirs and wants her to compete with her two cousins for his position. Yeine and everyone else know that this is impossible because her cousins have a head start on her and are known, like all other Arameri before them, to be vicious. They have been battling each other from the womb. They would stop at nothing to win, and murder seems to be a totally acceptable method. The head of the family is encouraged to be without remorse and hard in order to maintain rule. So everyone knows Yeine will probably not make it out alive.

    The history of the Arameri family is slowly explained as the chapters go by, and it is shown why they are such a vicious and hard people. Their task in the world is to serve as priests of the sort for the God Itempas. There was a war between the Gods: Itempas, Enefa, and Nahadoth, who are sibling. Itempas defeated them, killing Enefa and imprisoning Nahadoth and his other Godling children in human flesh and giving them basically as slaves to the family of his most trusted Priestess...the Arameri. So the Arameri have so much power and control because they control Gods and use them to do their bidding against their enemies, or heretics. They use the Gods to maintain their rule and to make sure everyone continues to worship Itempas. As with anything, when one group has so much power over not only other mortals, but Gods....they can become twisted. And the Arameri are very twisted as Yeine learns. She can't trust anyone at Sky. They all have an ulterior motives for what they do and none of them would benefit from Yeine living. She is basically the pawn in a game between her powerful family and the Gods. None of them see her as than a tool for their own ends.

    The world created in this book is excellent. This is a world where there is no question that the Gods exist. They walk among the people and are unleashed on those who don't obey the Arameri. So we are introduced to a world that is living under a complete dictatorship. Dissent means death, and too many questions can be bad for your health. The people in Sky look at Yeine and they see a barbarian girl that has no chance in that environment, but Yeine soon begins to show them that she should not be underestimated. She forms an alliance with the most unexpected of people and that alliance leads to the final events that were both expected and surprising as well. Yeine know that either way she goes, it means her death...but her death did not have to mean the end and could be exactly what the world needs. And she is willing to sacrifice herself if it means destroying the Arameri.This is very much recommended for people that like high fant

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2014

    Like

    Bought 2nd book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2014

    Story was mediocre, excluding the excellent mythology, however, it was an entertaining read.

    Succinct review in the title

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2014

    Giselle

    Here

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    Outstanding!

    Well written, original and engaging. I've read hundreds, if not thousands, of fantasy and sci-fi novels, so it's not very often that someone comes along and really shocks me. Ms. Jemisin has created something new and fresh here, and I can't wait for more!

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