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.
The author writes in a way that enlightens any reader. She provides such vivid descriptions of the characters and the scene. The narrator also does a fine job of changing her voice to help listeners experience the wonders of this science fiction masterpiece.
I will read anything that NK Jemisin writes. I love her work. Her writing has gotten better and better with every book. The Broken Earth books, in particular, are smart and powerful. This is her first book though. It is interesting to see some of the themes of the later books find their beginning here. This book has some awkward elements and writing that are not an issue with her later work. In her later books I find myself completely drawn into her worlds and her worldview. In this one she spends a lot of time explaining the backstory of the world and characters that feels forced. The first three chapters in particular are heavy with exposition.
There is a character in this book that is supposed to be nine years old (and in truth turns out to be much older). Casaundra Freeman uses a silly baby voice for this character that makes him sound like he was barely more than a toddler, or an animated teddy bear. I found this to be super irritating. It distracted from an otherwise good performance.
"dull and a different kind of story than I expected"
From the description and title and book cover I thought this would be a book about many kingdoms possibly different worlds as well as political intrigue and a woman trying to adjust to a different way of life. Instead you only hear about a few countries and only experience 2 which lack description and so instead of being able to visualise these places they're just bland rooms in a bland house full of bland people. It's like the writer watched a movie of the book but hasn't realised that nobody else saw the movie so doesn't bother describing key elements of the world, more description would definitely have helped. The protagonist has been trained in the culture of the this palace and so knows how to fit in but gives up fairly quickly, the contest for the throne isn't really a contest and no one really does anything apart from making petty threats, the politics is almost none existent. I didn't care about the main character at all and cared even less about all he other characters apart from the child God. Apart from him the characters were very flat, maybe if it hadn't been written in the first person there would have been more opportunities for depth but you only get a very narrow view of this world from the main characters perspective. Also the fact that it's first person narrative means you don't really believe that she's going to die as it's the first of a trilogy. I found the pointless focus on sex boring and had no interest if it turned into a love story of was just lust I just didn't care. I'm not a romantic maybe others enjoyed that but not me.
Perfectly acceptable voice
The child God was a nice character and if the story had been from his perspective I might have enjoyed it more
Could have been really good, was a great concept but disappointingly boring all the way through
"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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