Blessed be, all! For today, I want to talk about a book a read a couple weeks ago: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.J. Jemisin.
So I didn’t have this one on any of my monthly goals. I had heard good things about it in passing before, so it was on my radar but not my must read list. Then my best friend and CP read it and told me I absolutely must bump it straight to the top of the pile.
So, I obliged. I picked it up right after I finished Restoration and figured it would take me at least a couple weeks to finish. I don’t tend to rip through books; I make a leisurely stroll of it so I can savor the characters and the world. So, logically, even if I started in March I could still put it on my April To Be Read and make it an easy-to-check goal. After all, I’d be–what–halfway done? At the most?
I was wrong. The first half took me maybe a week, reading a chapter or two a night. It was good; I mean, I liked it… But I wasn’t particularly compelled through the narrative, either. Several reasons.
I had a hard time with the nonlinear storytelling at first. Tangents in my fiction tend to drive me up a wall. The further I got into the story, the more used to Yeine’s digressions I became. I eventually even came to like them. But it was a barrier for me at the start.
I also didn’t particularly care for Yeine at first. I was much more interested in the fates of the captive Gods than I was for her, her homeland, her mother, or even her safety. That changed as the book went on, but for a significant part of it, she was just the vehicle through which I was reading about Nahadoth and the others.
I did, however, love the supporting cast to a man. T’vril, Viraine, all of the Gods–I just adored them. Or loved to hate them, in the case of most of the Arameri. I also enjoyed the setting and the feel Sky put in my bones as I read. That alone was enough to keep me going.
The second half of the book took me one day. I physically could not put it down. Also, I didn’t call the ending from half-court, which is always the mark of a strong story for me. I love when the conclusion of the story is both unexpected and inevitable. That I don’t see it coming but also can’t imagine it ending any other way now that I’ve gotten there.
I don’t want to spoil anything, though, so I’m just going to say this: if you had a hard time getting through the first half? Give it time. It pays off!