365 Days of Women Writers

Women writers only – no boys allowed

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jemisin

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Quiz Time!

1. You have several gods at your beck and call. Yep, they can do most anything, except for read minds. Your beloved daughter has been murdered. What do you do?

a) Concoct a byzantine plan to see if the person you suspect is guilty a la old timey witch tests You know, that one where they throw a woman in a pond and if she drowns, congratulations she’s not a witch. If she survives, she’s clearly a witch and gets burned at the stake. Except for “burned at the stake” insert “becomes ruler of the entire world.”
b) Get the damn Gods to find out who killed your daughter and then have them make paste out of him.

2. You have obsessively been trying to find out who killed your mother. You are now about to die, but you still have a chance to denounce the one you believe is guilty. You:
A) Denounce the bastard!
B) Decide “What’s the point?” I’ll just hold my tongue.

So these first two questions felt like Jemisin knew what she wanted to happen but couldn’t think of a good reason why, so she went with really, really bad ones.

3. Darre is a country straight out of creepy pornos. This is best exemplified by which rite of passage?

a) Amazon women capture a male enemy warrior and then boink him into exhaustion.
b) One amazon warrior fights against one of the male citizens of their country. If she wins, they “make love.” If he wins, he gets to rape her.

Yeah, really I have no words for this.

4 A teenager elected leader of her/his country?

a. Totally plausible.
b. George Lucas has a lot to answer for.

Nope, don’t buy it. Especially given the chance to do something for her people, Yeine spends most of her time investigating a personal tragedy. Oh, and getting laid.

And for good measure I will complain about how it’s a matriarchal society, except for Yeine’s dad who got to be the leader bean too, because you know, special snowflake syndrome.

5 Is today opposite day?

c) No (by which I mean yes because it totally is)
d) No (by which I mean no.)

Yep, when in plotting doubt, turn to Calvin and Hobbes for assistance.

Anyway, apparently it was opposite day the day Yeine died because instead of getting killed by the magic widget of doom, it turned her into a goddess. For pretty much no reason at all. So yeah, we got the ending that was telegraphed way in the beginning of the book and it was even less satisfying that I had expected.

6. So did you too have the feeling when Yeine was talking about Naha that it was like a woman talking about how awesome her boyfriend was and you totally wanted to hand her a pamphlet on “top signs your boyfriend is abusive”?

a. Yeah.
b. Hells yeah, and double creepy because the book felt like a Mary Sue.

There were things I liked about the book, like the super creepifying way some people died (turned to diamond! Getting a jillion extra limbs!) or the war where not a single person died.

And I think the bones of the plot could have been quite good, but it didn’t cohere all the way and Jemisin forced it.

Maybe next time.

Written by Chance

December 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Posted in n. k. jimisin, novel

One Response

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  1. Thank you for this review. I’ve heard so many people rave over this book, to the point I was debating getting it despite that I rarely like plots that involve lots of gods walking around, but the plot absurdities you list show me I’ve had a narrow escape.


    January 24, 2011 at 3:09 am

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