This books is called a hundred thousand kingdoms despite the fact that it takes place solely in Yeines head. And not in the intimate epic kind of way. In the “I looked into X’s eyes and I could see why Z loved him” replace X, Z with random God/Godess.
Yeine is the ruler of Darr, at 19 years old, when her mother dies, mysteriously. Suddenly Yeine is called upon by her grandfather to be one of the potential heirs to the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. In a world where Gods are enslaved in mortal flesh as a result of an ancient battle between the three main gods. There is strange mythology, weird power struggles and the ever looming question of her mother’s death.
So much potential squandered on a boring, bland protagonist. I felt no connection to Yeine. She frequently reminds us that she is strong and used to be a ruler of her home lands, but she never does anything other than letting people take her places and then talk to them. I was expecting an older protagonist, or at least that someone, who was raised to be the ruler of her people, reacts slightly less Bella-Swan like. For all the strength, she claims she has, things happen TO Yeine rather than through her.
Also lots of sex in this one, at random moments and always with a weird detached language
“I remembered Nahadoth’s lips on my throat and fought to suppress a shudder, only half succeeding. Death as a consequence of lying with a god wasn’t something I had considered, but it did not surprise me. A mortal man’s strength had its limits. He spent himself and slept. He could be a good lover, but even his best skills were only guesswork – for every caress that sent a woman’s head into the clouds, he might try ten that brought her back to earth.”
I loved the mythology of this world, but the storytelling felt choppy and superficial. It was emotionally distant and further muddied by random jumps that seemed gimmicky rather than essential. There where too many jump cuts and flash backs and “the priests told me..” I don’t find real religion all that interesting, let alone the same regurgitated snippets of a fake one.
With all the intrigue present the story stood on its own and the shifts in the timeline felt completely unnecessary.
Finally (mildly spoilerish) Yeine promises the ultimate sacrifice for the gods; she agrees to give her life to reunite the three gods that once were. In return she asks that her homeland be kept safe. Still with mere days left to live she starts trying to meddle with her cruel family in politics that she clearly knows nothing about. She makes everything worse and contributes to hurrying the war against her country. Despite the fact that the God’s promised safekeeping for her sacrifice?
Then she had weird sex with a god and something vaguely disturbing about a child being used as a sexslave that never quite got comfortable.
Also I had trouble telling people apart. There are two gods – or demi gods? – that made regular appearances to just stand and look at the proceedings, for most of the book they were completely unimportant and it made me totally not care when finally were.
So great premise, wonderful world-building, but the storytelling just wasn’t for me. Maybe a 19-year-old girl would love this a lot, but for now I’m just going to stop here.