the Little Red Reviewer

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read along, part 1

Posted on: December 2, 2013

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.

Wow is that some gorgeous cover art!

Wow is that some gorgeous cover art!

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”

“The Enewhat?”

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.

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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.

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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.

What I imagine Nahadoth looks like

What I imagine Nahadoth looks like

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.

Other thoughts:

aang on airball

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?

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18 Responses to "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read along, part 1"

Man. I read this book once a couple of years ago, and I’m planning to follow along with this readalong if not take part (bloody overtime!), but now I already suspect I’ll be reading it again before long. Maybe it’ll be another case like Firebrand and I’ll love it more on a second read. ;-)

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you’re going to be inundated with read along posts, so you might as well just pick the book up. come on, who needs sleep! ;)

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LOL Damn it woman, I have enough on my plate!

…*Eyes her TBR*

*Eyes Amazon*

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Ha! You and I described Scimita in exactly the same words. She is the very embodiment of a psycho bitch. Anyone who thinks she can keep Naha on a leash like that has serious issues.

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LOL, I like that we were on the same brainwave as Scimina. I barely know her, and I just want Naha to punch her.

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Yes. And I think the Nightlord should be much more creative than just punching her. Scimina is pure evil. :P

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3. “The stories they must have, the bitterness they must hold deep inside. If freed, imagine the destruction they could unleash.”
I think this is one of the most exciting, dangerous things about the Enefadeh. I really want to see what happens if (or when) the Arameri lose control.

5. Yeah, I’d also like to know more about Dekarta and the twins. Why did he choose them?

“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.”
Me too! I also like that she’s kept up a strong pace even while giving us a ton of information. Usually authors offer one at the expense of the other.

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yeah, the Arameri kinda painted themselves into a corner, didn’t they? it’s like “sweet! we have enslaved gods who will do our bidding!” and then “shit! we have enslaved gods who hate our fucking guts”

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1. I am completely with you on reading into her voice! I love it when she breaks the fourth wall and I’m adoring these random asides as she tried to explain everything. I’m really hoping that we find out the context in which she is telling this story because it could be awesome.

“what orders Lady Scimina gives to Nahadoth, he wouldn’t hurt her” I’m not sure that’s true though. I thought that since Scimina is full-blood, her orders supersede Yeine’s and Naha can’t really resist his orders can he? I mean, he might be able to find a loophole, but I’m sure Scimina is quite practiced at ordering him effectively after all this time. I agree that allying with the gods would be a great plan, if she can figure out how to get them free (and not go crazy!), that would be even better :D.

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that is true, that Naha has to obey orders from a fullblood. so even if Nahadoth comes to an arrangement with Yeine, that evil bitch Scimina could wreck everything? grrr, i dislike her even more now!

if you could free gods that had been enslaved for like, ever, isn’t giving up some sanity worth it? good of the many outweighing the good of the few type of thing?

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Yep, Yeine is stuck between two cultures, neither of which is particularly accepting of the other. I like that Jemisin didn’t make one the total evil (Arameri) and the other the complete good, if downtrodden, culture (Darre). No, both have issues.

Simply treating everyone around her with some basic respect is going to be one of Yeine’s strengths, and hopefully win some supporters in her coming Arameri Throne Deathmatch.

I can’t recall if we run into more twins or not…hmmm….that would make an interesting twist in the plot.

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with all the backstabbing that seems to be the norm at Sky, just the act of speaking plainly and being respectful could catch all those people off guard. Scimina wouldn’t even know how to react if someone was friendly to her. Yeine just needs to watch her back, all the time.

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2. I didn’t even think about the bi-racial side of things. I was thinking more about her moral standing and how growing up in Darre and her parents at least seem to have kept her quite down to earth and sensible. Whereas the Arameri are going to be quite tricksy, backstabbing and enjoy the power they have – and I can’t see Yeine ever doing that. Though i think she will need to learn to be a bit tricksy.

5. Heh i also mentioned GoT and the Lannister twins when talking about these two, albeit for slightly different reasons. I guess Scimina is a little bit like Cersie, though i suspect she’s a lot smarter.

Ahh Sieh is a bit like Ang! :D

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Reading a little further, and learning more about her Mom, her Mom was a totally different person at Sky than out in Darr! This woman went through a complete transformatioin when she left the palace. hmm… I wonder if it had anything do with losing the mark on her forehead?

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I can’t wait to read more and learn where that jealousy came from. :)
I’m with you on Relad, it would be too easy to dismiss him and I think he’d like that. Better to stick you one in the back…

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I am enjoying the conversational tone of the narration (at least in the early chapters that is). It feels like as the novel goes along, that Yeine is settling in to telling us the story and not having to provide asides or details to help us understand things.

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