The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read along, part 1
Posted December 2, 2013on:
Welcome to the first part of our read along of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, part 1! This week’s discussion questions were provided by Susan from Dab of Darkness, so head over to her blog for links to everyone who is participating.
This week’s discussion covers chapters 1 through 9. Just joining us? Click here for the schedule, and if you’d like to be added to the discussion e-mail list, let me know in the comments. :D
Let’s get started with our first conversation!
1) We’ve met our narrator, Yeine. What are your first impressions? Do you like the chosen form of story telling so far?
I’m usually a fan of first person POV, so I’m enjoying the way the story is presented. Sometimes I feel like Yeine is whispering to the reader, breaking the fourth wall a little bit, especially when she seems so concerned about her own method of storytelling. This whole thing is a giant flashback, isn’t it? She seems so sad, like this is the last story she’ll ever tell. I know i’m reading way more into her “voice” than I should be, but I like it when authors give me those tendrils of characterization, that i can’t help but follow them, even if I’m going in the wrong direction.
That was a really long winded way of saying I really really like the chosen form of storytelling!
And I like Yeine. This scene gave her some major brownie points:
He stared at me for a moment. “Your mother did not tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“Of the Enefadeh”
That scene alone told me I could completely relate to Yeine, that she’d respond to a comment like that in the same way I would. Also, I just really like the writing style.
2) Yeine essentially has two families – the Darre (her father’s people) and the Arameri (her mother’s people). What do you think of her two halves? Do you think one will win out over the other within Yeine?
Like any bi-racial kid, she’s in a tough spot. She’s not Darre enough for the Darre, and not Arameri enough for the Arameri. She kinda stuck being an Arameri for the time being, even though she’s helping her Darre homeland as much as politics will let her. While she may end up living fully as either Arameri or Darre (this culture doesn’t seem very accepting of intermarriage), I thing privately for her, neither one will win. It would be like saying she only loves one of her parents, or one part of what she grew up with.
I’m hoping we run into the lady from after the Consortium meeting, she says if Yeine isn’t Arameri, they’d talk again.
3) We meet the Enefa, the enslaved gods. Which do you wish to know the backstory to the most? What do you think of their enslavement?
I am intensely intrigued by the Enefa. They are gods, but they are enslaved. The stories they must have, the bitterness they must hold deep inside. If freed, imagine the destruction they could unleash. Nahadoth is freaky disturbing, but I want to know most about him. He seems like such a tragic, trapped figure. that scene at the end of chapter nine, where Yiene and Sieh spend the evening cuddling like little kids (Sieh really does like living the life of a child. it’s cute), and Nahadoth is jealous!
I want to know more about how their enslavement works. They’re obviously used to nobles bossing them around, and treated them as monsters, toys, slaves, tools, weapons, whatever. And then Yeine comes along, and she’s willing to have rather normal conversations with them. To ask rather than command, to request, rather than demand. She speaks honestly with them, no double meanings. When was the last time someone treated Nahadoth as a regular person? Because of what he is, maybe never. Certainly she’s scared of them, but I think she’s curious too. And other than T’vril, the Enefadeh are the only people who have shown her any warmth.
4) Nahadoth finally catches up to Yeine and his first words and actions are mysteries to her. Gibbering or meaning?
Certainly meaning. but of what? Sure surprised the shit of her! And then Nahadoth seems very protective of Yeine after this scene.
5) We’ve met the competition for the unspoken throne – Lady Scimina and Lord Relad. How do you think they will complicate Yeine’s life?
Scimina is a psycho bitch, and Relad seems a bit of a playboy. I think Scimina will be the toughest competitor, and I say that hardly knowing a thing about her. She seems vicious, vindictive, ambitious, a bit like Cersei Lannister, in fact. She practically tried to kill Yeine on her first day at the castle for goodness sake! And Relad? I haven’t formed much of an opinion about him yet, other than that Yeine shouldn’t underestimate him.
I’d like to know more about the relationship between Dekarta and Scimina and Relad. Does Dekarta have respect for them? Would he like to see one of them take the throne? Or does Dekarta see his niece and nephew as spoiled brats who need to be put in their place?
6) The Enefa obviously want something from Yeine. What do you think that is and how do you think Yeine will react to their wants?
I don’t know what they want from her, but wouldn’t it be smart, on her part, to ally with them? If she gives them what they want, if she partners with them, I wouldn’t matter what orders Lady Scimina gives to Nahadoth, he wouldn’t hurt her. Nahadoth already seems pretty protective of her, seems like it would be in his best interest for her to not get killed.
I’m appreciating that Jemisin got the story rolling very, very fast. Barely a hundred pages in, and I’m immersed, I’m interested, I’m intrigued, I want to know more about all of these characters.
Sieh reminds me a little of Aang from Avatar: the Last Airbender. He knows he can unleash huge amounts of power, but he’d prefer to live the life of a child.
When T’vril is telling Yeine about Relad and Scimina, he offhandedly mentions that twins run in the family. So . . . that means we’ll be running into other sets of twins, right?