The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read-along: THE END

And so ends our read-along of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I’m so glad I took part in this and I’m particularly glad to be your host for the last part, because it was EPIC and so much of it took me completely by surprise. This last section covers everything from chapter 23 onward and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did 🙂 If you have a post, be sure to leave your link in the comments so I can add it to the blog-hop list and check out what you had to say.

Since I have a ton of things to say, I’ll jump right into the discussion:
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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read-along part 3

Things are getting really twisted and tense in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and as usual there are a ton of things to talk about. Our host this week is Andrea, the Little Red Reviewer, and I’m going to get straight into her questions without further ado. SPOILERS everywhere, obviously.

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

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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read-along part 2

After flying in from Paris overnight and sleeping away most of the day, I’ve just managed to finish writing this for an evening post. Part 2 covers chapters 10-16, and things are moving very quickly and dramatically! 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 answers.

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? Continue reading

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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read-along part 1

I’ve had a fantastic start to this read-along. Although I don’t often read epic fantasy, this book had me instantly intrigued with the complexity of its worldbuilding, its female POC protagonist, the enslaved gods at the core of the plot, and the way it seethes with secrets and danger.

Part 1 of the read-along covers chapters 1-9, and our host is Susan from Dab of Darkness. Head over there to start the blog hop and feel free to leave your link in the comments here as well. You’ll find the full schedule here, and if you want to join in leave a comment on one of the host’s blogs, and we’ll add you to the list to get the discussion questions. Continue reading

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Intro to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read-along

I had such a blast with The Republic of Thieves read-along that I’m jumping straight into a new one 🙂 Susan from Dab of Darkness and Andrea, the Little Red Reviewer have set up a read-along of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. They will be joined by Anya at On Starships & Dragonwings, and invited me to be the fourth host.

Published in February 2010, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the first book in The Inheritance Trilogy, followed by The Broken Kingdoms and The Kingdom of Gods. It won the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and was nominated for the Hugo, the Nebula, the World Fantasy Award, and the James Tiptree jr. Award. Continue reading

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Best novels of 2014

Happy New Year everyone! 2014 was a great year for reading, especially after a somewhat lacklustre 2013. As I think back, it seems that this was a year for making much-needed changes, challenging myself, and trying new things. That made it a tough year, at times, but also an exciting one that sets the stage for an even better year in 2015 🙂

I can only hope that there’ll be just as many great books as I read in 2014. Here are my favourites, in the order that I read them: Continue reading

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Some basics of polytheism in The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

You can find an absolutely amazing academic resource in Open Yale Courses, where you can download video or audio recordings of all the lectures for some of Yale University’s introductory courses, as well as the transcripts and reading lists of those lectures.

My favourite is RLST145: Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), by Professor Christine Hayes. I’m not religious, but I am interested in the bible as a literary, cultural and social text, and that’s exactly how this course approaches it (as opposed to treating it as scripture). I haven’t listened to all the lectures, but I’ve listened to the first few a couple of times, and they offer a fascinating perspective on the bible, with a ton of surprises. A lot of what I’ve learned from priests, Sunday-school teachers, and the well of Christian common-knowledge turned out to be wildly inaccurate if not completely false, like the idea that Adam was created before Eve and is therefore superior.

Anyway, as some of you will remember, I recently did several fantastic read-alongs for The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. In this trilogy, the gods, their histories, and ongoing lives play a major role. The other day I started listening to the Hebrew-Bible lectures again, and the second lecture kept reminding me of the novels. This lecture – The Hebrew Bible in Its Ancient Near Eastern Setting: Biblical Religion in Context – compares polytheism to monotheism, using the writings of Yehezkel Kaufmann. Kaufman’s theory was that the move from polytheism to monotheism was revolutionary rather than evolutionary because the two belief systems involve fundamentally different ideas about god(s) and the universe, rather than simply having a different number of gods.

This relates very strongly to fantasy, mythology, and the nature of god(s), which is why I kept linking it to Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy. It no doubt has relevance for other epic fantasy or other fiction where gods or their mythologies play a role; it’s just that this trilogy was foremost in my mind. In Jemisin’s world, the gods are real. Not only do they exist, some of them live among humans. For the reader, they’re major characters. Kaufmann’s theory isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t fit Jemisin’s world exactly, but it still provides an interesting framework for understanding her worldbuilding and characters.

It’s worth watching/listening to/reading the lecture in full, but I’ve picked out the main points about how polytheism differs from monotheism, and explained how they relate to The Inheritance Trilogy. I’ve kept it SPOILER-FREE, but please forgive any inaccuracies or lack of information as I didn’t re-read the books for this article, since I’d only just read them a few months ago. If you spot anything that needs to be corrected, let me know in the comments. Continue reading

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