Sunday, March 20, 2016

Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

This post comes to you from San Fransisco, where I'm staying for spring break! (It's not a sexy spring break, though; we're doing community service...what am I saying? I'm always sexy. Book worms are very sexy 24/7, no matter where we are or what we're doing.) I brought a couple of good books with me to read and review for next week, because even in gorgeous weather in a city I've never been in, my nose needs some book time.

Anyway, sorry for the lateness of this post (I try to update on Friday mornings). It's been midterms, preparing for San Fran, the craziness of traveling and airports, and I just got done being sick for a week.

Now here's a post on one of the weirdest, coolest books I've ever read. Enjoy! :)

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On the DZA Review Scale, I put this half a step behind "Erect monuments in its honor." At least, until the deus ex machina ending. That puts the book down another step, but since there are gods in the book, it does make a certain amount of sense. There are also two sequels, which I'll read and then pass more judgment on.

It's an epic fantasy set in the city of Sky, which basically rules the world, told from the point of view of Yeine. Yeine is the 19-year-old daughter of the banished princess of Sky, in charge of her father's homeland, the northern "barbarian" land of Darr. After her mom is murdered, Yeine is summoned to Sky by her grandpa, who tells her, "You're now one of my 3 potential heirs for the kingdom. You  have two weeks to kill them before they kill you. Have fun!"

Yeah, it's a great family reunion.

There's also gods, enslaved by Sky's residents because they lost a war 2000 years ago against the new ultimate ruler god Itempus. They (sorta) help Yeine out.

I love this book because:
a) it has super-dangerous political intrigue set in a fantasy world that gives Game of Thrones a run for its money
b) there's a ton of amazing women characters (Darr itself is a matriarchal society, Yeine is badass, her mom was badass, everyone here is badass)
c) it talks about how the winners write history and the disastrous consequences of that happening
d) it talks about racism and how Yeine has to handle it
e) LGBT characters! (The original 3 gods were two guys and a gal in this weird threesome relationship before one of the guys snapped, killed the gal, and enslaved the other guy, but they still love each other even though they hate each other.)

There's also mystery. Not the fake "It's this person you met in the first five minutes, this writer isn't nearly as subtle as they think they are" kind of mystery, an actual "what the f*** is going on" kind of mystery. Yeine's trying to figure out who killed her mom, and we have absolutely no idea who it is (though we get plenty of suspects) until the very, very end.

The romance between Yeine and the night god was a bit cliché, but it wasn't a page-filler or something to put in there just to get an excuse to see some action. It actually had a purpose (albeit a trite one).

I can't even do a full, sarcastic review of this book (and not just because it's sitting in my house 2000 miles away because I didn't pack it). So much crap goes on it would take an age and a half. So I'm going to give you a super watered-down version of it (oh, by the way, SPOILERS):

Grandpa (a.k.a. the king of the world): "Yeine, you're now in a life-and-death political struggle with your two cousins as contestants for the throne. Good luck!"

Yeine: "Oh, shit."

Evil Cousin: "I'm going to psychologically torture you for the next 500 pages by attacking your homeland."

Yeine: "Fuck you, bitch."

Yeine (to other characters): "So, who killed my mom?"

Characters *pointing to everyone else*: "They did!"

Gods: "Hey, Yeine, you know that goddess who died 2000 years ago and we went to war over to avenge her and lost and are now enslaved? Yeah, her soul is inside your body. Your mom made a deal with us to save your father's life right before you were born. So when you were cooking in her oven, we put the goddess's soul in you. So now you have two souls and we need you to do this thing so we can all be free and start a new Gods' War that won't necessarily destroy the entire world, but it'll come close to it."

Yeine: "You jerks!"

Gods: "If you do as we say, we'll protect your homeland."

Yeine: "Fine. You're still jerks."

Characters: "BTW, you're not actually contesting for the throne. The ritual of succession requires a human sacrifice who chooses who's going to be the next ruler, and you're the sacrifice. Enjoy your last week of life!"

Yeine: "Fine. I'm going to start a love affair with a super dangerous (slightly clichéd) god. Oh, and does anyone in this stupid city know who killed my mom?"

Characters: "No."

Yeine: "You're all useless."

One week later, at the big fancy sacrificial ceremony...

Yeine: "Okay, so I'm gonna die and release the gods to start a new war, and I'm gonna choose the not-evil cousin."

Other character stabs and kills Yeine.

Other characters: "--the fuck, dude?!"

One of the gods (not the lover): "BTW, I killed her mom."

Goddess's soul (still chilling in Yeine's body): "So, Yeine, while they're fighting over your corpse, you wanna be a goddess?"

Yeine: "Okay."

Yeine becomes a goddess, punishes evildoers, and runs off with her godly boyfriend.

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Yup. That's it. Thanks for reading! :)
You can get Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on Amazon here for cheap!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns that you don't feel comfortable writing in the handy comment box below, then please contact me directly. Thank you!



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