The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
First edition cover
|Author||N. K. Jemisin|
|Cover artist||Cliff Nielsen for US version|
|Series||The Inheritance Trilogy|
|25 February 2010|
|Media type||Print(Paperback & Hardcover)
|Followed by||The Broken Kingdoms|
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was N. K. Jemisin's debut novel, the first book of The Inheritance Trilogy. The fantasy novel was published 2010 by Orbit. It is a winner of the 2011 Locus Award for Best First Novel,  the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, and it has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Crawford, Gemmell, Tiptree and World Fantasy awards. The sequel is The Broken Kingdoms, also released in 2010.
Yeine Darr, mourning the murder of her mother, is summoned to the magnificent floating city of Sky by her grandfather Dekarta, the ruler of the world and head of the Arameri family. As Yeine is also Arameri (though estranged due to the circumstances of her birth), he names her his heir but has already assigned that role to both his niece and his nephew, resulting in a thorny three-way power struggle. Yeine must quickly master the intricacies of the cruel Arameri society to have any hope of winning. She is also drawn into the intrigues of the gods, four of whom dwell in Sky as the Arameri's powerful, enslaved weapons. With only a few days until the ceremony of the Arameri succession, Yeine struggles to solve her mother's murder while surviving the machinations of her relatives and the gods.
Yeine Darr was born to Kinneth Arameri, who was heir to the Arameri throne but abdicated twenty years before the start of the story to marry Yeine's father, a Darre man. Kinneth was disowned by Dekarta, and Darr blacklisted by the Arameri (throwing the country into a crippling economic crisis) as a result.
The day she arrives, she meets T'vril, the palace steward, who is also an Arameri (although lower-ranked); the entire palace staff down to the floor cleaning servants is Arameri. This is because only Arameri are permitted to pass a night in Sky, for reasons that T'vril does not immediately explain. T'vril attempts to get Yeine to Viraine—the palace scrivener—to be "marked" as an Arameri before nightfall. However, Scimina, one of the other potential heirs, finds them first. Because Yeine lacks the mark, she unleashes Nahadoth, one of the Arameri's captive gods, on Yeine.
Yeine flees and is assisted by Sieh, another of the captive gods. Before they can escape, Nahadoth catches up and attacks Sieh, whereupon Yeine stabs Nahadoth to apparent death with her knife. Nahadoth kisses her before he falls, saying he has been waiting for her, much to Yeine's confusion. Being a god, Nahadoth returns to life shortly afterward. Yeine then meets the other gods—and quickly realizes that they, like the Arameri, have frightening plans for her.
Yeine, however, has her own agenda: still in mourning, she has come to Sky to determine who may have killed her mother before the start of the story. While attempting to forge an alliance with Relad, her cousin and the other potential heir, she also seeks out answers to the mystery of her mother's past. This leads Yeine to terrifying revelations about herself, her world's history, and the gods themselves.
As the day of the succession ceremony approaches and Yeine finds herself left with few options, she chooses to ally with the Enefadeh—even though Nahadoth warns her that they want her life in exchange for their assistance. Determined to learn the truth about her mother even if she dies in the process, she agrees to the gods' bargain. She also begins brief liaisons with first T'vril, then Nahadoth himself, the latter of whom seems equally drawn to her, though his motives are unclear.
The story culminates with the Arameri Ceremony of the Succession, at which Itempas himself—the Skyfather, ruler of the universe—appears, and Yeine makes a fateful choice.
Yeine is half Arameri and half Darre. Her mother, formerly the Arameri heir, has been murdered when the story opens, and part of Yeine’s goal in the city of Sky is to avenge her death. Yeine is the chieftain, or ennu, of the Darre—an hereditary/figurehead role, though with some representative power. She is considered a barbarian by the Arameri.
The Nightlord, otherwise known as the god of night, chaos, and change, is the most powerful of the Enefadeh, and the most dangerous. He appears in different guises.
The god of law, order, and light, Itempas is worshipped as the Skyfather the world over.
The goddess of twilight, dawn, balance, life, and death, she was murdered several thousand years before the start of the tale.
The Trickster, a godling who chooses to take the form of a nine-year-old boy. In reality he is the eldest of all the godlings, several billion years old. He befriends Yeine for inexplicable reasons.
Another godling, the goddess of wisdom, and the apparent leader of the enslaved gods.
Another godling, the goddess of war and battle.
As the head of the Arameri family, Dekarta is the "uncrowned" ruler of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Yeine’s grandfather. He summons Yeine to Sky at the beginning of the story, and names her one of his heirs.
One of Yeine's cousins, a fellow heir. The apparent primary antagonist of the story.
Scimina’s younger twin brother and the other potential heir. He is a bitter drunkard, but Yeine's best chance for an alliance in order to survive the contest of heirs.
A half-blood like Yeine, he is the palace steward. He quickly becomes one of Yeine's allies.
Kinneth was Dekarta’s only child, Yeine's mother.
He is the palace scrivener, (a scholar who studies the gods' language; this language permits him to work limited magic). He too helps Yeine, though his motives are unclear.
With relatively positive reviews, the book received
- Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2011)
- Nebula Award Nominee for Novel (2010)
- Locus Award for Best First Novel (2011)
- World Fantasy Award (2011)
- Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fantasy (2010) where it currently holds a rating of 3.84/5
- First unabridged audiobook edition of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on WorldCat
- "Locus Awards Winners". Science Fiction Awards Watch. June 25, 2011.
- "Roundtable: N. K. Jemisin". Locus Online. June 29, 2011.
- "2011 Hugo Award Winner and Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- "2010 Nebula Award Winners and Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- "2011 World Fantasy Award Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on Goodreads