The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am and always will be a huge fan of Godpunk fiction.
There's a bit of it floating around out there, but most of it is hidden behind the cloudy minds and bodies of mere mortals, only occasionally poking its bright sunny head out to dazzle and amaze.
Sometimes it's the sun. Sometimes it's not. At the moment, I'm feeling the blaze.
Fortunately for us, we've also got authors with great and deep understanding of the greater and lesser mysteries, the writing chops to pull off an entirely new mythos that can turn those mysteries into something brand new again, even if they've been so very, very old. Jemisin has taken us right back to our very beginnings, with the worship of the sun and the void and the great life goddess and given us a truly fantastic tale of revenge, freedom, and most importantly, of love.
I sit in awe. I've been fortunate to read a number of really fantastic novels recently, and this one stands tall and proud among them, like a worldtree within a shining forest of worlds.
The opening of the novel was unfortunately the weakest part for me, but I was able to feel our heroine's hopeless plight pretty much right away, enjoying her progression of defiance to acceptance as it all became so clear that her life was forfeit no matter what happened. Did I say enjoy? Actually, that part made me squirm quite a bit, but the fact that she was able to come to grips, retain her sanity, and even lose a little more of it in the process, was, in fact, truly enjoyable. I can't believe how tight the romance was, or how cleverly it managed to pull on my heartstrings. (I'm generally not that susceptible to romance on the page. So much of it is unbelievable crap.) In this case, I sank right into it and rooted for them both with all my heart.
After finishing the novel, I can't quite see where else it might go except far away from the characters I've just enjoyed, but I've got the entire omnibus sitting right here. I was very satisfied by the end and truly floored by it. I almost want to leave it be and enjoy everything that this novel will eventually become to me.
Can anything truly top this ride?
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