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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms [Paperback]

N. K. Jemisin
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 25 2010 The Inheritance Trilogy (Book 1)
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 with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together.

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Review

Jemisin's first novel has a wistful, lyrical tone, and the intrigue - both romantic and political - is skillfully handled. Book one in the Inheritance Trilogy is sensitive, restrained high fantasy Guardian A story that manages to be both fantastically grand and very personal. Definitely recommended Waterstones Books Quarterly "A bold and strong new voice in fantasy fiction" Tricia Sullivan, Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

N.K. Jemisin is a career counselor, political blogger, and would-be gourmand living in New York City. She's been writing since the age of 10, although her early works will never see the light of day. Find out more about the author at nkjemisin.com.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written, Needed more Fleshing Out May 6 2010
Format:Paperback
I picked this up on a whim, with no expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. The author weaves an interesting world where three gods once ruled, but only one remains. One was killed, one is enslaved by the head of the world-ruling faction, and the third alone is worshiped by humankind.

The story follows a young girl, Yeine, granddaughter to the head of the faction that rules a conglomeration of kingdoms, who is brought back from her unsophisticated homeland, and made one of three potential heirs to the faction by her ailing grandfather.

As interesting as this sounds, N.K. Jemisin definitely spends more time describing and expanding the relationships between the characters in the book. Though this is fantasy, the "fantastic" nature of the story is a foil to the human drama, and the game of politics that Yeine must navigate. Part murder mystery, part political thriller, part fantasy novel - it needed another 300 pages to do all three well.

I enjoyed the book, but found that the potential of the world created by Ms Jemisin wasn't fully exploited - a human drama overlaying a partially rendered picture; more detail on the background would have made this a much more enjoyable read. Scott R Bakker does this wonderfully.

That said, I am looking forward to the next book in the series, though the ending of this novel makes me curious as to the contents.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of the year Nov. 14 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was actually my favourite book of 2012, but after reading the ebook, I had to have it (and all of N.K. Jemisin's books) on my bookshelf. When it arrived early in 2013, I intended only to skim through to dog ear and highlight all the moments and quotes that had kept me up at nights during my initial read. Instead, I got sucked in all over again. It was even better the second time through, knowing what I did from my first read through. All the little things suddenly had that much more meaning.

Aside from the images and thoughts spilling across Tumblr, one of the things that really attracted me to the book was the author herself who is a woman of colour. It is rare to find people like yourself creating the things that you love so, while I try not to dwell on the paleness of science fiction and fantasy, it increases my enjoyment to be entertained by something that far better reflects life as it could and should be, rather than the reality that sometimes is. It disturbs me that science fiction and fantasy of all things remain bound to our prejudices when the worlds and creatures you can create within these realms should be limitless.

I have not yet written what I would consider a proper review for this book because my thoughts are just too muddled with emotion, speculation and lots of spoilers. I haven't started the next book in the trilogy because I'm not quite ready for the emotional commitment. Both times I read THTK, it encompassed my thoughts for long hours - days afterward, which is enough for me to say that it is most definitely five star book in my eyes. I've recommended it to everyone I know!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Colourful New World Feb. 6 2013
By A. Soares TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the first of three books set in the "Hundred Thousand Kingdoms". I picked up this book on a whim and am thoroughly happy I did. Ms. Jemisin has created a world in which a powerful family has maintained a ruthless rule for centuries with the help of enslaved gods.

In this book, we meet Yeine, the estranged grandaughter of the dying king. Yeine is brought to her grandfather's castle "Sky" after her mother dies as one of three potential heirs. From here Yeine is thrusr into an unfamiliar world of politics, "fallen" gods with plans of their own, all the while trying to stay alive and discover who has killed her mother.

Readers will be enthralled as they learn more about the Gods and how they came to be enslaved.

My complaint: the book was too short for the content and I felt that the transitions were somewhat rushed.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Debut Feb. 16 2011
By Jessica Strider TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Pros: a lot of good interpersonal relationships, unique mythology, excellent worldbuilding, interesting characters (particularly Sieh), some romance

Cons: the political maneuverings of the potential heirs takes a back seat to other affairs (which is only a con in that I was expecting the book to deal more with the politics of the Kingdoms)

The Hundred Thousands Kingdoms is a fantasy novel that grabbed my interest from page one and didn't let it go. Yeine Darr is narrating 2 very interesting weeks of her life. At times she interrupts her own story to mention something she forgot to say earlier or something about the world and its people she thinks you should know. This makes for an engaging read as it's almost like being around a camp fire and hearing a live storyteller (in the way that dialogue feels real even though people don't speak the way dialogue is presented).

Yeine is a leader among her 'barbarian' people. She is also the half-blood granddaughter of the current ruler of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. And he has called her to Sky for reasons she does not know.

While there, she plans to force her grandfather to admit to her mother's murder.

But once in Sky Yeine meets Nahadoth, Sieh, Kurue and Zhakkarn, one of the Three Gods and his children. They were defeated by Bright Itempas and made slaves to and weapons for the Kingdoms' Arameri rulers. And they have their own plans for Yeine.

Jemisin has developed a distinctive voice, which was a pleasure to read. Her characters are engaging and sympathetic - even when they're doing things you otherwise wouldn't agree with. The plot is deceptively simple, gaining in complexity as the story progresses. You'll think you know what the ending is going to be. You don't.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  230 reviews
256 of 290 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great New Name in Fantasy Feb. 1 2010
By Brent Weeks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
[This review is based on an Advanced Reading Copy]

What if gods were real...and walked among us...enslaved...and were used as weapons...and were really pissed off about it?

N.K. Jemisin is a gifted storyteller and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a satisfying tale built on intriguing ideas. Buy this book if you love the flights of imagination only possible in fantasy. Buy it if you love stories of betrayal, murder, hard truths, and being in way over your head.

The book is written in the first person. I usually hate this. Here, it works. There are scattered, apparent digressions: snippets of history, backstory. This may bother you. I thought it fit, and the digressions served a purpose. Though the story deals with politics at the highest level, the cast is small. For those who get lost and frustrated in a George R. R. Martin-sized cast, this is a boon. Jemisin's characters are clearly differentiated and easy to remember. Those who love additional complexity may wish the cast were larger and the book longer. This IS the first book in a trilogy, so I'm sure we'll get to see more in later books. The world is fascinating, but we spend most of this book inside the central palace of Sky. The visuals are clear and cool.

[Full disclosure: I have met Ms. Jemisin once, and she is published by the same company I am. However, neither she nor Orbit asked me to do this review.]

N.K. Jemisin is a debut novelist who deserves the chance to write many more novels. But you don't care about that, and you shouldn't. The only question that matters to you is, "Among all my other options, is THIS book worth my money and my time?" Yes, and yes. Emphatically.

-Brent Weeks
NYT Best-selling Author of The Night Angel Trilogy
43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enthralling debut from an author to watch Feb. 18 2010
By Aidan Moher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Hype. A powerful tool in the publishing industry. It's an impressive achievement when a yet-to-be-published author can create and maintain buzz about their debut novel, with readers going gaga over something that hasn't even hit store shelves. It's exciting for those readers, but dangerous as well. For every time an author lives up to that hype (Patrick Rothfuss) several others fail to take advantage, to prove they were worth it (Robert Newcomb, anyone?). As a reviewer, I try to separate myself from the hype, to choose my books based on what I find interesting, not what the publishers are pushing hardest. Sometimes, though, it's unavoidable. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin is one of those cases.

As with any highly-anticipated novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms had predefined itself in my mind, based on nothing more than the blurb on the back of the book and the beautiful cover. Before it even arrived on my doorstep, it was a victim of preconceptions and expectations. I opened The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms expecting one book and found a very different beast within. Expectations are often dangerous, but in this case, the smashing of them was a very good thing indeed, for I expected a familiar story, only to find a wonderfully original one in its place.

The synopsis hints at a traditional novel - young, naive protagonist, whisked into adventure and intrigue, shouldered with the responsibility of saving the world and navigating the bloody politics of her land. Even the tittle, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms suggests the novel is an expansive struggle of lands and kingdoms, typical of Epic Fantasy (or Secondary World Fantasy, take your pick of sub-genre). For a truer impression of the novel, one has to consider its history, or, more aptly, the history of its title.

Originally, the novel was titled The Sky-God's Lover, a title much more accurate to the tone and plot of the novel. Jemisin's novel is very much a character-driven narrative, delving deep into the politics and relationships between its small cast of characters, rather than the kingdom-encompassing politics that its published title may suggest. Now, there is some true politicking included, but only a handful of the `Hundred Thousand Kingdoms' are involved, and the disputes are more a display of power and coercion in the bitter relationship between protagonist Yeine and antagonist Scimina. For a novel titled The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms there is little world building or world-ranging conflict. The true heart of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms lies in Yeine's relationship to the characters (human and god) around her, most importantly the fallen Sky God, Nahadoth. The Sky-God's Lover hints at the complexity of this relationship as it winds through its labyrinthine twists and turns through the slim novel.

Many novels written in first person perspective are done so for stylistic reasons only. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms embraces the that style and weaves a story that could only be told directly from Yeine's mouth (or pen, I suppose). There is a subtle dichotomy between and Yeine-the-girl, whom the story is about, and Yeine-the-woman, who narrates the story. Jemisin often breaks the fourth wall, with Yeine-the-narrator gathering her thoughts, throwing doubt on her recollections of events or characters and leaving the constant feeling that much is left unsaid, that the truths of the story are between the words, just out of reach.

Those characters surrounding Yeine are a mixed bag. The gods Nahadoth and Sieh are tragic and compelling, the relationship between them and Yeine growing organically through the novel. In contrast, Scimina, who stands in as the antagonist for the novel (for lack of a better term) is shallow and cliched - mean for the meanness sake, never as intelligent as the reader is told she is, and lacking in depth or motivation beyond desiring to rule the kingdoms. Her brother Relad, the other contender to the throne alongside Scimina and Yeine, is even shallower - a drunkard who sees very little screen time and serves more as a plot device than a character. Jemisin chose to focus on the gods, who are admittedly more interesting than the humans, and so the politicking for the throne is less compelling than it could have been.

Magic is central to the story - from the subtle magic used to reconstruct a trashed bedroom, to the earth shattering magic of a mad god - but there is little in the way of rules to contain the magic, beyond deciding which higher-ranking noble outranks the other and can control the whims of the chained gods. It does anything needed, no questions asked. But, then, these are gods we're talking about, so perhaps that's fitting. Certainly the spectacle is there and Jemisin's imagery of the magic is astute and often astounding.

Jemisin's novel is tonally reminiscent of Daniel Abraham's The Long Price Quartet, a quiet reflection on the important themes of love, prejudice, rule and family. Yeine explores and fights with these facets of relationship and shows remarkable growth through the story. The relationships can often be brash and heavy-handed, but, like any that develop quickly and in times of duress, they are realistically bold and whimsical. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is marketed as the first volume of a trilogy but stands entirely on its own, with all major plot strings tied up at the end, the premise of future volumes hinted at only in the final pages of the satisfying climax.

Oftentimes, hype can be a dangerous thing, but in the case of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, I fell for the trap - hook, line and sinker. In the end, the few shortcomings of the novel were easily overlooked as Jemisin took my expectations and tossed them away, giving me a novel I never knew I wanted, but ended up needing so badly. A confident debut, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms promises of great things to come from this bright new voice in Fantasy fiction.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining; Could Be Better Oct. 19 2010
By Sansom O'Reilly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the first book in the Inheritance Trilogy, written by first time author N.K. Jemisin, a new voice in the fantasy genre. The book is far from perfect, but as far as debut novels go, it's pretty good. The story follows the adventures of Yeine, leader of a somewhat barbarian tribe who happens to be the granddaughter of the most powerful man in the world. Her grandfather, seemingly out of the blue, names her one of three potential heirs. Yeine finds herself in a whole new world of intrigue and danger, as she realizes that her rivals will stop at nothing to take the throne. And even more dangerous, perhaps, is the fact that Yeine's grandfather and his progeny control a God and his offspring who, bitter after years of abuse and confinement, have their own deadly agendas.

Jemisin writes from the limited first person perspective of Yeine. So a lot of the action occurs off the page and is related by Yeine some time later. Yeine is an entertaining narrator. She is intelligent, funny, and likeable. She is also pretty ignorant at first, which leaves the reader equally ignorant. If you like that style of writing, you should like Jemisin's style. The prose is nothing fancy. Jemisin can write some pretty good descriptive narration when she wants to, but it doesn't really fit with Yeine's style of addressing the reader. The dialogue is generally sound but can be a little wooden and unrealistic at times. The result of the narrative, too, is that some plot elements and action sequences are poorly explained. The novel can be confusing at times, not because of any internal complexity, but simply from poor explanation. But for the most part, the reader can understand what is going on pretty easily.

As far as the plot goes, the story reminded me of a combination of Neil Gaiman's Stardust and Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker, which is, in my opinion, no bad thing. Behind-the-scenes political maneuvering plays an important role, but give way pretty early on to the imprisoned Gods, who really come to dominate the novel as it progresses. The Gods' are varied and interesting, albeit somewhat archetypical (obvious analogs, for example, to Athena and Ares, any number of trickster Gods, etc.). The plot has a bit of a romance novel feel to it. The leader of the Gods is, apparently, immensely beautiful, deeply sensual, incredibly dangerous, and ridiculously good in bed. Basically, he comes off like the male lead in countless romance novels. But that aside, the romantic aspects were reasonably well done and don't hinder the story.

The main reason why The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms gets only 3 stars is that it just isn't that exciting. Jemisin has a lot of potential and can do a lot with the Inheritance Trilogy. But this one leaves a lot to be desired. She does everything well, but she does very little exceptionally well. The characters are interesting but unmemorable. The plot is good but not gripping. The twists are clever but somewhat predictable. The magic is okay but not very well described or explained. Basically, the novel is okay (especially for a debut novel), but it could have been great. The pieces are there and Jemisin, I think, has the talent. But I'm interested enough to pick up the sequel.

So if you're looking for an entertaining and quick read, you could do worse than picking up Jemisin's the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. It isn't spectacular. It's not going to change the fantasy genre. But it's fun. And Jemisin certainly has the potential to become one of the great young voices in the genre.
155 of 200 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly bland and depthless April 17 2010
By A. D. MacFarlane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There's a lot of hype about this book, coming even from people whose opinions I respect, so when I found a cheap copy I snatched it up. The back cover copy suggests political intrigue, fascinating worldbuilding, a good romance. The book offers none of these things.

The worldbuilding is, in brief places, quite interesting. I drank up little details about Yeine's culture, matrilineal and female-dominant, yet more complex than the "man-eating bitches" variant I've seen elsewhere. Do we get a full exploration of this society? Sadly not. Is Yeine a complicated product of it, struggling with her mixed heritage and, now, the transition from leader of her tribe to the token barbarian girl in a patrilineal white society? No. As with the other hints - distant lands, the division between Naha and Nahadoth - we are given too little, in favour of Sky and the relationships within it. I suspect we are meant to find Sky boring - it's entirely white and smooth and sterile - but intention hardly distracts from how terribly, terribly boring it is to read about Sky. Surely it could have merited a few pretty lines of description, but Jemisin's prose is bare and simple. Description seems low on the book's priorities. (One glimmer is the old temple with two boarded-up windows - a great detail - but soon we're back to white, plain Sky. The good bits are only glimmers.)

If Sky is intentionally bland, the characterisation and plot should compensate, yes? Sadly not. The plot focuses on relationships more than political scheming; when it switches to the latter, it's a politics without the layers and difficult-to-penetrate intentions of a book that pitches itself as being about politics. In some places, the politics seems a distraction before we get back to the important business of Yeine talking to gods and fretting a bit. I did like the chapter called "Diamonds" (all the chapters are named as straightforwardly and pointlessly as this, as if numbers alone are too naked); I can believe in Yeine's need to take a blunt approach in her limited time scale, and the method is fun to read. Little else impressed me.

A relationship-focused story requires great characters to succeed. This story offers little. I adored Sieh, a layered and pleasant-to-read character, and found Nahadoth sometimes interesting - especially the underexplored Naha/Nahadoth aspect of him. Sometimes he reminded me too much of the melodramatic hero in manga or fanfiction. - SPOILERS - In fact, a lot of the relationship between Yeine and Nahadoth reminded me of fanfiction, which is not a slight on the entire genre; rather, I thought of the overwrought and silly relationships depicted in some stories, with kisses at unexpected moments, proclamations of lost tenderness, assurances that it is not lost, no, merely hidden in the terrible present, and a truly ridiculous sex scene. (They fly through the universe and see whales with the faces of long-lost friends.)
- END SPOILERS -

Yeine herself had so much potential. The young leader of her tribe, uprooted to a distant and deeply different seat of power, where she is quickly expected to know enough to survive. And there are glimpses of her background affecting the present: the world's equivalent of coloured contact lenses freaks her out, she's blunter than her Arameri relations, she makes an effort to research various things. Yet never did I believe in her ability to lead a tribe, to act with more than her bluntness, to plan in the long-term, to participate in any kind of culture - because she, like Sky, is so bland. Certainly she lacks agency for much of the novel, through no fault of her own, but in her frustration and confusion and attempts to act I got no good glimpse of the woman she is said to be. She finds the cold-hearted culture incomprehensible, but little else of the Arameri surprises her; perhaps her Arameri mother prepared her for its differences, but fundamental things like the role of men and women never seem to trouble her. Never even draw a remark. There's one moment when she's condescending towards men. One, that I recall, in 398 pages narrated by a woman from a female-dominated society. Even if her mother schooled her into a more equal-handed attitude - though I wonder what her tribe would have thought - it didn't ring true.

Other characters, besides Sieh, impressed me just as little. I'd have liked more of Relad, her male cousin, but he's sidelined in favour of evil Scimina. The author admits to intentionally writing Scimina as two-dimensional "Just Because" a fantasy story needs a big Evil and if Scimina had been otherwise, Yeine might have sympathised with her and found it difficult to act against her. (I am not lying: [...]) This refusal to give Yeine a moral quandary is indicative of how little Yeine pays for the entire core plot. Her god-friends are tortured but heal immediately, and at least externally brush off the psychological wounds. She is taken from her homeland but, as with much else of Yeine's character, I didn't actually feel convinced by her moments of homesickness. By the end, she has gained a lot, yet she's not especially struggled. If she'd sat on her hands for two weeks, the ending in Sky would essentially have been the same (though the side-plot of her homeland's military situation would probably have turned out worse for them). Dekarta, T'vril and Viraine never excited me, nor did the other trapped gods - none of whom, besides Sieh, read believably like gods.

Everything about this book had such potential. By the end, I thought forlornly of it written differently, with a denser plot and complicated characters, and wish I'd read that book instead. This one just disappoints with its all-round blandness.
123 of 160 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A triumph of style over legibility Oct. 14 2010
By J. Shurin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
he Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (2010) is a somewhat convoluted tale of politics and deities. A young, rural noble, Yeine, is whisked away to the world's capital city, where she learns that she's one of three competing heirs to the throne. In the short time she has before her inevitable death by the hands of her competing cousins, Yeine has to unravel her family's secret history, understand the true nature of the land's strange gods and, most difficult at all, wade through a field of asterisms.

* * *

An asterism is a series of three punctuation marks (usually periods or asterisks) that is used to denote subchapters. You may have seen it used. Perhaps if you're a 19th century printer. Or in a freshman poetry class.

* * *

Interestingly, the author litters nearly every single page with these landmines of punctuation. This makes for a distinctive writing style. And by distinctive, I mean "frustrating". I can only guess at the intention. Perhaps they were meant to offset the near-stream of conscious (rivulet of consciousness?) style of the protagonist's first-person prose? But any advantage to doing that was swiftly lost when

* * *

You're getting annoyed now right? Not just having the bloody things interrupt mid-sentence, but, if you're paying attention, you may have noticed that you're now reading in the second person, instead of the first.

* * *

The book does toy with some interesting concepts - at least in passing. In the setting of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the good guys have won. The evil night-god is imprisoned and forced to do construction work. The good sky-god and his kinfolk are ruling the world. Peace reigns. War is strictly controlled - and mostly bloodless. Yet, as the author constantly recites, there's something wrong about this. The ruling class is decadent, the succession schemes are bloody and some of the outlying barbarian cultures aren't getting equal representation in the Council of Nobles. (This is, interestingly, a topic raised in Robert Graves' I, Claudius - in which he talks about the excesses of Tiberius and the omnipresent fear of his close kin, but then also points out that, for the millions of people in the Roman Empire, life had never been better.)

* * *

You'd probably want to know more about this interesting take on a fantasy civilisation, wouldn't you? Me too.

* * *

Most of the book focuses with Yeine and her family problems. Not to trivialize them - her family is composed of gods and emperors - but they're actually not that interesting.

In fact, by the halfway point, the entire plot of the book has been established and the author has already underlined the moral conclusions (this world = WRONG). Yeine has five days to live, let's follow her around and see how she spends them... The answer, of course, being "in bed" - with her "thousand-mouthed, god-phallused" lover. Much to my distress, the only lengthy-un-asterismed passages are those in which Yeine is being taken to the great heights of pleasure (literally) and subsumed by the forbidden pleasures of her primordial lover. I'm not so prudish that I don't mind a good sex scene, but, for about half the book, that's all that happens. Should Yeine sleep with the captive-god? Ok, again? What about again? Oooh. Ok, it was reeeally good that time - but maybe she should... nope, happened again. ENOUGH.

* * *

Asterisms do make writing a review a lot easier. You don't need to actually complete arguments. I'm starting to understand

* * *

Beyond the now-thoroughly-irritating asterisms, the book commits another horrific stylistic flaw. Italics are for emphasis. See? That stood out, didn't it? That's because, typographically, italics are different

* * *

But your eyes get a little tired if you read paragraph after paragraph in italicised text. It isn't really meant to be read for a long period of time. Think about it, if it were legible, all text would be italics. But, waaaay too often, especially in genre fiction, authors use italics to convey the difference or the importance of an entire bloody scene. Perhaps the most overused convention is to have a particular character or method of communication always take place in italics. For example, any time a god speaks, or a character does some sort of psychic chit-chat. That's annoying, but almost (not quite) forgivable - as long as said character doesn't mind-link for a page at a time. But to have entire scenes in italics? That's completely illegible. And it is particularly annoying when it is, say, the entire climax of the book. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms actually wraps up the entire fate of the book, its protagonist, the empire and its holy pantheon... in a italicised wonderfest that turns the entire thing into eye-aching gibberish. If the entire climax is so important that it needs to be emphasised, isn't it more important that it can actually be read?

* * *

Here's a question: where was the editor in all this? Here's another: was it their fault?

* * *

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is an exercise in style over substance. I find this a particular shame, as the style is atrocious and the substance is quite promising. I say this fully aware that style is a personal decision, and I applaud the author's daring-do in pushing the typographic and punctuated boundaries of genre fiction. I applaud, however, with one hand, as I need the other to pour myself some aspirin.
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