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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Read-a-long {Week 2}

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin Read-a-long

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin Read-a-long!

And we’re back with another week of Yeine awesomeness :D. I’m hosting this week so please do leave links to your responses or just paste your responses into the comments! Remember that there will be SPOILERS for those of you who haven’t read up to Chapter 16.

1) We’ve started to learn about a side of Yeine’s mother that Yeine can barely believe existed. No one in this story seems all that capable of telling the objective truth, however, so who do you think Kinneth really was? A devoted mother? A traitorous schemer? Evil and cruel?

I really didn’t want to believe that Kinneth was so cruel as so many people have been alluding to. It seems unlikely that a person truly that evil could show kindness to their daughter, so Yeine would have known. I’m thinking that Kinneth was very calculating and realized what she needed to seem like in order to survive, but at her core truly did want to do what was right. I’m hoping she ran away in order to escape the evil of the palace >.>.

2) Wow major plot reveal Batman! Finding out about Yeine’s second soul was not something I saw coming at all. Did you suspect? Have any other theories? What do you think of this major plot development? What do you think Yeine should do?

I freaking LOVED that plot twist :D. I definitely didn’t see it coming and while I said last week that I hoped that Yeine wasn’t the chosen one, this totally works. She wasn’t anything all that special until the gods put the second soul into her, she just happened to be the fetus that they could access at the time! But now of course she is special and apparently going a bit mad, woot. Gah, I have no idea what I would do in her situation. It seems likely that she’s going to die no matter what (except for the whole two more books thing), so I guess sacrificing yourself for the good of the world is best option?

3) We’ve gotten to know a lot more about Darr in this section and their traditions have both good and bad sides it seems to me. What do you think of their coming-of-age ritual for the women? What about women soldiers and men being left to protect the children? Any other traditions that struck you?

Whoa, I just didn’t know what to think about this…. At first I was all, yey strong women! Then I was all, omg rape is not cool no matter what, WTF! And now I’m happy that Jemisin put varied traditions into the Darre culture since no culture is perfect in the real world right? Too often authors use the matriarchal society thing as a beacon of pure goodness, so I like a more realistic society that is matriarchal but also has some backward problems as well. The women soldiers thing is interesting, since it’s a good point that men’s strength is good for defending the most important thing to the city, but I feel like not using that strength on the battlefield is a tactical error as well. Why can’t we all just be treated equally????

4) The Walking Death played a pretty big role in the past given none of this would have happened if Yeine’s father hadn’t gotten sick. There was discussion in the previous section about how the Death only infects commoners and those of high-birth aren’t affected. What do you think the Death really is? Any theories on why it infects only certain people?

I am so intrigued by this! I’m also hoping that I remembered it right, I’m bad at remembering things D: (like Yeine :D). But I do definitely remember a character mentioning that when Yeine’s father got sick, it was a sign that Kinneth had married way below herself. In any case, I hope there is a good explanation for this one (I suppose god curse could work, but I’d be disappointed!), since it doesn’t make any sense for a sickness to literally only infect low borns. Even with hygiene, etc, EVENTUALLY nobles are bound to get sick.

5) Finally, we’ve learned a lot more about our enslaved gods between getting to know Nahadoth better, finding out what is up with Sieh, and seeing a rather bitter side of Kurue. What do you think of all these revelations? Has your favorite god changed?

I was so amusingly wrong about Nahadoth not being hypersexual! Touche! Nahadoth is majorly creeping me out at this point with all the sexual innuendo mixed with violence, definitely not something I’m into. I’m glad to know why Sieh was all snuggly, since I was worried that was sexual too, but now it’s obvious that he just really freaking misses his mom and wants to be close to her, which is just sweet :D. I’m hoping we get to see more of the other gods since I don’t have much of an impression of them beyond Kurue being all prissy about mortals in that one conversation ;-).

That’s it for this week! Remember to post your responses and leave links in the comments so that we can all visit each other and discuss :D.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. 2. Such a great plot twist! What a great way to make someone a chosen one :)

    3. I could not work out what to answer for this question, but you’ve hit a few nails on the head there! :) It is so nice to have variation!

    5. Nahadoth does not creep me out nearly as much as Naha does, I’m seeing them as two separate entities and I don’t know whether I should be? Nahadoth is just chaos, which is of course dangerous, but not inherently evil. Naha though…. *shudder* I have to add that I quite like how the two original gods in this are of Order and Chaos, so neither is inherently evil or god, they just are. I think I have a bit of a soft spot for books that throw that kind of dynamic in. ;)

    http://manyatruenerd.com/2013/12/09/the-hundred-thousand-kingdoms-read-along-part-2/

    • Agreed! I was all, I don’t want a chosen one, but damn I’m totally good with that :D

      5. I think you are supposed to see Nahadoth and Naha as different, but I have trouble separating them for some reason >.>

      I freaking love grey characters, so I 100% agree with you :D

  2. I’m not going to spoil anything, just know that this trilogy is one of those fractured trilogies – meaning that each book follows a different character. And this means that we as the readers don’t really know Yeine’s fate just because there are 2 more books. :)

    Jemisin was brilliant to give the Darre culture flaws. It is one of the things about this book that earned it a permanent place on my shelf.

    Oh yeah, Nahadoth and his sexual urges. There’s his night side, all into Yeine, and that’s a little twisted, but I can go with it. But then there is his day side, all collared and Scimina’s pet. I do NOT like that sexual side at all. Messed up.

    Here’s my link: http://dabofdarkness.com/2013/12/09/the-hundred-thousand-kingdoms-read-along-part-ii/

    • Mwahaha, wonderful!

      Yeah, Naha (day side) really freaking creeps me out, I want Yeine to overcome the mind trick and slap him!

  3. 1. Kinneth’s ruthless side actually intrigues me, and since she doesn’t appear on the page I have no sentimental attachment to her. So if she has this frustrating combination of good, evil and grey areas, I’m all for it! Very keen to learn more about her.

    2. From Yeine’s narration I’m pretty sure she’s going to die. At some point she mentions “being here, dead” (quoting from memory). It’s obviously not a normal death though, more like she’s stuck in some kind of limbo? Maybe she’s with the people who got eaten by the Sky palace? She also suggests that she’s no longer mortal…

    3. I also liked the imperfect matriarchy. Making women dominant doesn’t mean society will be perfect. The attitude to strength is interesting too – I think Yeine says something about brute strength being a last resort, and i guess if children are in danger, then it’d definitely be a time for turning to last resorts. I suppose that they want a more nuanced form of fighting on the battlefield? But yeah, that’s a kind of prejudice too, assuming men can only fight with brute strength, rather than agility, strategy, etc.

    http://violininavoid.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/the-hundred-thousand-kingdoms-read-along-part-2/

    • 1. Oo that’s a good point! I just feel bad for Yeine D:

      2. Yup, I remember that quote as well, she’s definitely dead D: I’m also wondering if she is going through this while fighting for her life in that exact moment of splitting the souls or something

  4. 1. I think she is proving to be cruel and a schemer AND a devoted, loving mother, which is what makes her so interesting. So often with characters like her that predecease the narrative, it’s easy to make them just revered or just reviled. That she can be both things, and that she can come across as a full character without ever having “seen” her, is just fantastic.

    2. The plot twist was quite unexpected, and for the moment I’m reserving judgement because I’m not sure how I feel about it.

    3. I like the way Darr is developed in the same way I like that Kinneth is developed. It’s a lot more real and complex than you often see in novels like this. There’s good and there’s bad, but I can actually see specific reasons for why the culture developed as it did given it’s place among the other countries.

    5. I actually wish for a little more development from the gods, because outside of Nahadoth and Sieh I can’t really tell them apart/see why they’re there yet (there’s one more female besides Kurue, right? Outside of the original triad I mean.). I am really enjoying the sort of creation myth unfolding with Nahadoth, Itempas, and Enefa though. Gorgeous writing in those sections.

    • 1. Very much agreed! I love grey characters and reflecting that through other characters’ perspectives is just so cool.

      5. I hear ya on the other gods, I have a hard time remembering each of the lower ones as well.

  5. 1. Kinneth definitely changed when she left Sky. was it just getting away from all those ruthless horrible people? or did some physical or mental change come over her? We need some major flashbacks from someone who knew Kinneth when she was younger. hmmm… Nahadoth maybe?
    2. “chosen one” is a total cliche, but “chosen one because you were convenient, and then you die” has some nice/awful innovation to it. and damn is she smart about it! Ok, sure, she’ll carry the extra soul. but if they want her help, they have to help her win, or even survive the ordeal. She’ll have a few seconds of godlike power. I imagine she can do a LOT in those few seconds.
    5. I didn’t think about that with Sieh, that he’s so cuddly because he doesn’t get much healthy cuddly cudding at “home”. it’s almost as if he has some PSTD from losing his mother, that he chose to halt his development. Yes, he was created as a child, but he can take whatever form he wants, look like a kid, look like a grown up, whichever. I am loving all the mythology type storytelling we’re getting!

    here’s my link
    http://littleredreviewer.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/the-hundred-thousand-kingdoms-read-along-part-two/

  6. With Kinneth, I really think that it’s not so much that she was good or evil, but that she was complex. Yeine needs to come to terms with the fact that her memory of her mother is a construct based on her own experiences, and she has to realize that her parents were people. That means they have flaws as well as strengths, and it’s hard for her to accept that because she’s still grieving.

    I didn’t think of this when writing my post, but the Darre’s coming of age ceremony seems like a way of introducing a culture of warriors to the realities of war, but within the “safety” of their home society. The circumcision freaked me out way more than the rape though. Ouch!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Naturally, there will be plenty of SPOILERS AHEAD. Our host for this week is Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings, and here are her questions and my […]

  2. […] The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. This week’s discussion questions were provided by Anya of On Starships and Dragonwings. Head over to her blog to link around to everyone who is […]

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