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.
©2010 N.K. Jemisin (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
“Jemisin’s engaging debut grabs readers right from the start…a complex, edge-of-your-seat story with plenty of funny, scary, and bittersweet twists.” (Publishers Weekly)
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I thought this book was well-written with some fantastic world-building, and I liked it (I'd give it a half star more if I could), but I didn't love it. The main character felt a little underdeveloped and I didn't completely connect with her, but I thought the personalities of the Enefadeh were really well done. If you like your Fantasy a little heavier on the philosophical overtones and political intrigue, you'll probably enjoy this. There is also an overarching romantic theme, but the romance (and the sexy times) are fairly abstract. It was a little bit hard to follow on audiobook, but it was very well done.
I loved this book. Loved. I am a fantasy fan in general, but have been a little frustrated with the quality of the writing in my last few reads. Sometimes I think that the driving plots I so enjoy force good writing to a distant second priority. I did not find that to be this case with this surprising novel (is this her first novel? astonishing), which called to my mind old favorites by Ursula K LeGuin.
And the reader cannot be neglected: she is amazing. Although her pace is a little quick, and it took a while to get used to, I honestly can't imagine reading this book without the benefit of Freeman's voice to add dimension to the characters. Sieh in particular was just as irresistible to me as he was to Yeine herself, and I can still hear his childlike voice in my head.
I'm going to read it again. And I never do that!
I hope the other two in the trilogy are half as good...
I love fantasy, but have tired of elves, trolls, and demons plots. This was refreshing and I will listen to the Broken Kingdom next.
I'm not even sure this story had potential. I tried so hard to get into the audiobook because I like to keep an open mind about variation in readers and literature, but after the first few chapters I became convinced that either the book just didn't have substance or the narrator was making it seem that way. Freeman's performance was over-exaggerated, unnecessarily angsty, and made me hate the protagonist more quickly than I would have liked. The only realistic performance I enjoyed was her portrayal of Sieh. Other than that, the other characters seemed shallow, trite, melodramatic, and inauthentic. I chose to continue giving it a chance until halfway through the audiobook. It was then that I decided to switch to the physical book to asses if it was merely the performance or the writing too that was at fault. Reading this book instead of listening to it helped remedy the annoying qualities of the audiobook, but unfortunately there was little redeeming quality about the writing itself. The protagonist and the relationships she establishes lack substance. The plot is extremely underdeveloped as far as a science fiction/fantasy novel usually goes. This book felt like a medium for portraying shallow relationships rather than focusing on fleshing out the poorly matured strife of the people outside of the palace walls and the rules and history by which the gods live. The rules of the gods was unconvincing and improperly ambiguous. All of these issues culminated in an inability to suspend disbelief in the reality within the story. It simply was not captivating and left me relieved to read the last page of the last chapter. I will not be reading the sequels.
Yes. This story is rich characters and world-building.
The world-building was unique and interesting. There was a lot more depth to this book than I was expecting.
This is the only book I've listened to that was narrated by Casaundra Freeman. She was FANTASTIC. I hope to encounter more audio books narrated by her.
I have no idea.
I don't usually bother with reviews, but I found this book to out and out excellent, and the performance to be of equal quality. Jemisin has a great voice, and, not to be too literal here, so does Freeman. Going to start the next in the series tonight.
My only 2 qualms about this book are that the ending was identified too far in advance and that the main character had very little agency throughout the book. Besides those, this book was excellent.
N. K. Jemisin has quickly reached placement on my favorite contemporary authors list (alongside Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Clive Barker, Kameron Hurley (also newly placed), and Iain (+ or - M.) Banks). Her stories are original and absolutely grab you from the first sentence. Much like Hurley (and, honestly, I don't care if this is intentional or not - it's THERE), regardless of the fictional situation, they embody the idea of feminism. It may not seem like it, but each individual (I'm intentional leaving out the gender construct) is equal, in their own mind and decision(s). I can't explain enough (without gushing and raving and making people what to duct tape my fingers together so I stop typing) how much I appreciate this, as it is a challenge to find in my preferred genres (sci-fi, dark fic, horror...).
I tend not to leave the usual review - I don't recoup the story, I don't cite lines that mean(t) something to me, I don't throw out descriptions I believe have some metaphorical or allegorical relation or meaning to my world (unless, of course, the psychotic orange actually wins the election, he has his way, and I'm forced to become a handmaiden or somesuch - YES, homage to Atwood, LOL) as I feel this is very personal. I like to focus on the writing and story, which, in my opinion, is one of the most difficult things a person can do. As an example: I can and could not imagine shaping a world or enviroment that is not so far-fetched that the reader breaks down laughing because their main source of gas exchange for their body is cyanide yet they are able to visit earth and eat chicken (allow me to explain: CRAZY to me because EVERYTHING (but perhaps bacteria and archaea) on this planet would die if their source of gas exchange was cyanide gas, therefore no chickens).
The gush/love-fest over is currently over. I would and do recommend giving Jemisin's books a go and I can't wait to read more of her work.
The vividness of the environment. I feel like I can recall it from first-person memory.
The leaps and twists as you come to understand the protagonists plight as she herself begins to understand it.
Her clarity and distinction between character voices.
No; that would be exhausting. This should be consumed in parts.
Lots of interesting ideas and a fresh perspective in what is otherwise a very predictable, run of the mill kind of fantasy. The set up for book two is a lot more exciting than the end of this story. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
The narration is pretty good.
"fantastic story made better by the performance"
just a terrific tale with great characters made even better by the amazing performance can't recommend enough
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