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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Bleu
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 02-02-14

Great Writing, Fantastic Worldbuilding

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.

44 of 45 people found this review helpful

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This is a romance...

Blurb was all about a magic and politics. Book was 90% romance with a political backdrop. Felt misled.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicole
  • MINNEAPOLIS, MN, United States
  • 12-19-14

Read.This.Book. Or listen to it. Or whatever.

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...

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Nathan
  • London, Ontario Canada
  • 01-23-15

Easy and fast read but a LOT of sexual tension

This was a easy, fast and comfortable read but mostly due to the writing style and not the plot.
A girl from a 'savage' tribe is summoned to the capital where the monarchy have gods as their slaves. The story starts off sounding like it will be political but that plays very little. There is a LOT of sexual tension and innuendo in this book which seems to be the main focus as well as relationships..
Explores themes of corruption, desire, and history interpretations. Lot of world building at the start and figuring out how the god system works. The book is enjoyable while I was read but reflecting it afterwards, it seems to lack substance, like junk food.
I'm not sure if I'll read the sequels.

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

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Underdeveloped and Unrelatable

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.

45 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Theresa
  • Memphis, TN, United States
  • 11-25-10

I enjoyed this audiobook.

I love fantasy, but have tired of elves, trolls, and demons plots. This was refreshing and I will listen to the Broken Kingdom next.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Luscious writing &intriguing characters!

The reason I love NK Jemison and am reading her whole catalogue is that she approaches fantasy from a completely different angle than most writers. She's so honest about femininity and so creative in how her female characters evolve. Also her magic systems are completely outside the fantasy norm, in all the best ways. Also, Casaundra Freeman made this book come to life! She was a superb narrator!
This book featured interesting charcters and a magic/religion structure that added a lot of tension to the story because you never knew what surprises were around the corner. The sex scenes were well done, except one really strange one. You'll know it when you hear it...it wasn't bad, just weird. I forgave it because the story was so good.
The reason I gave 4 stars and not five was that too many of Jemisin's descriptions were vague in moments where I wanted more concrete details. Too many things were described as beyond mortal comprehension or language, and after a few of those, I started thinking she was shirking the descriptions rather than developing character. But it wasn't enough to distract me too often...except in that one sex scene (which was probably could have just been summarized).
Otherwise, this book is so worth listening to, and I can't wait to hear the rest of the series!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The first but not the best

Is there anything you would change about this book?

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.

What aspect of Casaundra Freeman’s performance would you have changed?

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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I couldn't stop listening

I keep telling myself that N.K. Jemisin's work is exactly the sort of dark stuff I don't like.

And I keep loving it.

Yeine Darr is the ruler of a small kingdom in the north, a kingdom slowly dying from the hostility of her grandfather. Yet after her mother's mysterious death, her grandfather summons her to the fabulous city of Sky, where to her shock she is named one of his heirs.

This is not the good fortune it appears. It locks her in a death struggle with two cousins she had never met before--and she soon realizes she is supposed to lose, and die in the process.

And this struggle involves not just her unknown relatives, and the customs and traditions of Sky, very different from her homeland, but also the gods. The ruling god, Itempis, and his defeated kin, captives and tools of her grandfather, Dekarta Aramari, will all play a role in determining her future, and her kingdom's.

This is as fully realized a world and culture as The Silence of the Broken Earth trilogy, and much of it is dark and grim, and other things I don't care to read or listen to, except that, as I said, I find it utterly compelling. I need to keep going, and read more. Yeine is just too compelling, and I need to know what happens to her and her world.

Highly recommended

I bought this audiobook.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Must Listen too.....Great new twist on Gods!

What made the experience of listening to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the whole twist on relationships with actual Gods. Even though these Gods are limited and inprisioned in mortal bodies. The power hidden beneath the face of a God.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms?

When Yeine meets for the first time, the God of Darkness and seduction.

Have you listened to any of Casaundra Freeman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

She did an excellent job of voices. The Child voice was unforgettable.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I do not like to read so much all at one time. This is a fairly long book, and to really enjoy it, I read the whole thing in about four days.

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed listening to this story. I received this Audio Book for free from AudioBook Boom in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ubaidu
  • 08-20-16

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-19-17

Brilliantly detailed story.

Great listen and perfect voice acting for the character, kept me listening. On to book 2 now.

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  • midian
  • 08-09-17

A wonderful book, beautifully read

A wonderful book, beautifully read.

It has Intricate and compelling characters facing difficult choices in a moral morass. It contains a look into the mechanisms of power and, the resistances of powerlessness. In this fantasy world the gods walk amongst us and, as in any great mythology, they are as emotionally complex as the rest of us. Wholly recommended.

Jemisin has become my most fav author.

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  • M. J. Curran
  • 12-19-16

dull and a different kind of story than I expected

What would have made The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms better?

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.

Would you ever listen to anything by N. K. Jemisin again?

Unlikely

What three words best describe Casaundra Freeman’s voice?

Perfectly acceptable voice

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The child God was a nice character and if the story had been from his perspective I might have enjoyed it more

Any additional comments?

Could have been really good, was a great concept but disappointingly boring all the way through

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Coz
  • 09-06-17

Potential but doesn't quite get there.

Great concept, interesting world but way too shallow a slice of it. Lacked substance and depth. Seemed like a young adult novel or a dressed up romance. Still interesting enough though.