the Little Red Reviewer

Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read along, part 3!

Posted on: December 16, 2013

Hi Everyone,  we’re up to week three  of our Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read along!  The book hit incredible around page ten, so I bet everyone had as tough a time as I did stopping at the end of this week’s section.   I’m our host this week, so leave your link in the comments, and everyone can hop around and read everyone’s answers.

What everyone else said:

Violin in a Void

All I Am, A Redhead

Books Without Any Pictures

On Starships and Dragonwings

Dab of Darkness

(I will add more as I find them)

Here’s this week’s discussion questions. . .   spoilers abound!

1. T’vril takes Yeine to the servant’s party. What did you think of that party, and of Sieh’s part in it?

Well, we find out a little later how the high nobles amuse themselves, so I’m happy T’vril took her to a more fun type of party. And what a great magic trick by Sieh! It’s sobering that Sieh’s attitude is “we’re all slaves”, but it was neat to see him in a different physical body. I’d like to get more of Sieh’s point of view, he seems so confused by Yeine, he has to constantly remind himself that she’s not Enefa. I think this is the first time Yeine has seen him in anything but his child’s body? I wish Yeine had been able to have more fun at the party.

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2. Yeine presents herself as such a nice, compassionate person. Did your feelings about her change after the meeting she and Nahadoth had with Gemd?
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I suppose I could say that she’d becoming more Arameri?  More ruthless, more cruel?  Or maybe she’s just realized that if you say you’re going to do whatever it takes to get what you want, that you better be serious, you better really be willing to do whatever it takes. She shows up, she makes some demands, some people die horribly thanks to Nahadoth, Gemd is going to remember that!

She does present as nice and compassionate.  But since it’s her telling the story, how do I know she’s a reliable narrator?  that’s one of the many reasons I love first person POV. The narrator tells us what they feel like telling us. Maybe Yeine tortured puppies when she was a kid. We’d never know, because of course she’d never tell us, she’d never want us to know that side of herself.

I don’t think my feelings about her changed at all, she’s still fucking brilliant/awesome in my book. I just got see a different side of her. And now I know I better never piss her off!!
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3. on page 230 we learn about the Darre concept of “esui”, of attraction to danger. Have you ever experienced Esui? did it help you, or hurt you? Do you think it will help Yeine, or hurt her?
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Esui strikes me as a cross between the adrenaline rush of a fight or flight response, and a nihilistic dare.  It’s the point where you’ve looked the fear right in the face and said “that’s all you’ve got?”, and you start laughing, because what else can you do?
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I’ve certainly never, ever been in anything close to the situations imagined in this book, but I’ve had plenty of times where I had to psych myself up to take on a big project at work, or make a sales presentation, or sell myself in a job interview, or talk to a famous author.  And that’s what it is, i think – psyching yourself up for something that would usually be terrifying. Sometimes it’s a situation of “the worst they can say is No”, sometimes it’s a situation of “failure isn’t an option”
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I’m a big fan of psyching myself up, it usually helps me avoid one my body’s more embarrassing  fight or flight responses: my hands shake. for like an hour. I can barely hold a coffee mug sometimes.  Like I said – embarrassing!!
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4. What did you think of the reveal regarding Ygreth’s (Kinneth’s mother) death? Was it something you expected?  How does being forced to do something like that (or knowing you’ll be forced to) shape a person?
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I was not expecting that AT ALL!  No wonder Kinneth ran as far and as fast from her father as she could! She probably hated him!  and what an awful, horrible “custom”!  I think that quick little scene (and Sieh is so damn nonchalant about it!) bothered me more than when we learned about the Darre coming of age ceremony for their young women.  The way Sieh offered the information, it was as if he didn’t even expect Yeine to respond emotionally.
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I imagine being an Arameri heir, and having a clue that something like that might be expected of you, that it would majorly fuck you  up.  Yes, yes, I know, the details of the ceremony are secret, but if T’vril could find out, then other people can find out. is that why Relad and Scimina are they way they are? they don’t *want* to ever care about someone, because they might be forced to kill that person?
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5. If I’m reading it correctly, the ceremony can require a human sacrifice (to show that the heir is strong enough to kill anyone, if asked).  Who might Scimina sacrifice? Who might Yeine sacrifice?
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Well, Scimina would sacrifice Relad.  I’m not sure that she’s capable of really caring about anyone (see answer to #4), but everyone would assume that of everyone around, she cares most for her brother.  Yeine is the tricky one.  Who is still alive that she cares about?  I can’t imagine they’d drag her grandma all the way from Darre just so Yeine can kill her.  T’vril is certainly a close friend of hers, and I think he’s got a little crush on her,  but she’s only known him for a few weeks, so if she had to sacrifice him, she’d probably get over it.  She seems to care the most for Sieh and Nahadoth, and she couldn’t sacrifice one of them. . .  right??
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6.The ball is only a few days away. What do you think will happen?

If the rest of this book is any indication, something very unexpected will happen at the ball. LOL, Maybe Yeine can just throw her grandfather off a balcony, he can fall a half mile to his death, and that would be the end of him.

She’s out of choices, she’s out of time.  She’s made a bargain with the enslaved gods, so she’s just got to hope that no one else has anything up their sleeves.

other thoughts:

If Yeine is successful in freeing the enslaved gods, I wonder how that will change the Arameri? If the gods no longer serve them, it’s not like one of them could take Nahadoth somewhere, and say, have him kill a bunch of people.

I couldn’t help myself. I finished the book. One of my guesses was right – that something very unexpected happens at the ceremony!

I thought it was fascinating that Nahadoth is shaped by the people around him. If they are sick and twisted and violent (why, hello Scimina! I didn’t see you standing there!) then he is.  If the person he’s with is compassionate and kind and curious, then he is.  He reflects them.  That gave me something interesting to think about.  I’m so used to the “God made us in his image” line, that it is fascinating to run into godly creatures who are made and remade in our image. It’s a sobering thought to realize we can shape our own deities. I think in real life people shape their deities and don’t even realize it.

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12 Responses to "Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read along, part 3!"

3. I’m curious as to why Kinneth didn’t tell Yeine about her mother. She didn’t even tell Yeine her name, and presumably Yeine didn’t ask. Was it just too dangerous to let anyone know she knew? Would it have put her revenge plans in jeopardy?

5. I think T’vril would be the mostly likely choice for Yeine, and even thought she’s only known him a short while, she’d feel awful about it. He’s a nice guy, they both hate the Arameri, and he’s done his best to help her.
I also wondered about sacrificing the gods though. Yeine cares about Sieh and Nahadoth more than anyone else, but surely the others wouldn’t allow that? Because they’d be one of the Three for a moment, and have all their powers restored, which would no doubt lead to some extremely bloody revenge.

“I thought it was fascinating that Nahadoth is shaped by the people around him.”
That’s interesting, I hadn’t thought of it that way. I just assumed he took on different forms for his own reasons.

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3. maybe Kinneth wanted that whole part of her life be to completely over, so she never talked about it? I totally need a prequel that’s completely from her point of view!!! It’s amazing that Fantasy novels like this have reinvigorated my interest in history – all i want to know is what came before. :)

5. I was bad. I finished the book. and I know a secret about T’vril. Even though he and Yeine haven’t know each other very long, he’d be the #1 person for her to be forced to sacrifice, which sucks.

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3. Me too! I’d love to see Kinneth on the page, her transformation from the ruthless, devout heir to the mother Yeine knew.

5. I couldn’t wait either and finished it on Monday. Decided to send out the questions for those who were just as impatient :)

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[…] Welcome to week three of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms readalong.  This week’s host is Andrea from The Little Red Reviewer. […]

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1. It was really interesting to see another aspect of Sky, because it seems like whenever Yeine thinks she has things figured out, something comes along to change her perceptions.

2. I don’t necessarily think she does present herself as nice and compassionate, actually. That she clearly feels conflict and remorse for the actions she feels she has to take shows, to me at least, that she is a good person at heart, but I don’t think she’s particularly arguing for that fact. Anyway, I’m banking on her being a reliable if confused/disoriented narrator, if only because I feel like I can’t trust a single other character.

4./5. I feel like this part would have had more impact if we had gotten to know either Kinneth or her mother through the text, instead of through Yeine’s recollections and second hand gossip. I’m still a bit confused as to why there’s the tortured man being sacrificed and then also another sacrifice. I guess I don’t quite get the mechanics of the whole ceremony, and right now I’m more focused on that than what it means for the characters.

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1. She’s only been there a few weeks, she doesn’t have a lot of frriends there, and it’s not like she can just pull up Sky on Wikipedia (although that would be hilarious!), so i can see that she doesn’t really know all the nuances.

2. that’s for sure, that we can’t trust anyone but her. . . and she’s not all that reliable in the first place. i have such a weakness for unreliable narrators!!

4/5 totally agreed. I wish we had more info about Kinneth, and I too am confused about the mechanics of the ceremony. I need to reread some of those portions again.

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Yeine is a good leader. She made a comment at one point in this section about good leaders not having the luxury of being soft, which is especially true because she has to go up against Arameri to save her people. When she gets her hands dirty, she does it to win, and she has no respect for established rules. She’s not lawful good, and she’s not supposed to be. She’s like her people’s watchdog; you cross her, and you get bit.

I wonder about the relationship between Kinneth and Yeine’s father. From all everyone said, it seemed like they loved each other very much, so it’s interesting to see a different perspective and to think that she might have been using him just like she used Viraine. I think that might have been her intention starting out, but her actions when the Walking Death hit made me think that she really did care about him, and that perhaps she had learned to love him far more than she had intended.

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“she has no respect for established rules. . . She’s like her people’s watchdog; you cross her, and you get bit.”

yes, yes, THAT!!!

i hope Kinneth didn’t just use Yeine’s father. That would really crush me. I want a prequel even MORE now. Imagine Kinneth’s struggle with the choice the enslaved gods gave her: let us have your daughter and we’ll save your husband. Well, if she let them have her daughter she’d be able to screw her father over. . .

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I was also thinking about that revelation about Nahadoth. That was very interesting.
Oh well, soon I’ll know what happens at the ceremony too. ;)

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i was a bad girl and read ahead! and need to re-read because it was so awesome!!

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[…] what others had to say: Little Red Reviewer On Starships and Dragonwings Dab of Darkness All I Am, A Redhead Books Without Any […]

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1. Yes I wish Yeine could have had more fun too, understandable why she couldn’t and I think it relieved a bit of tension for her but she couldn’t completely forget.

2. I don’t think she’s lost any of her compassionate nature, but there are times when you have to ignore that, and I think that’s one of the signs of a good leader. It makes you wonder what she could have done for Darr if she’d be able to continue in that life. But then here’s so much damn politics back in Sky that she might not have been able to do a lot.

A prequal (or even a short story) would be awesome to find out more about Kinneth, there are just so many questions about her.

A bit late but here are my responses:

http://manyatruenerd.com/2013/12/18/the-hundred-thousand-kingdoms-read-along-part-3/

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