I received this book in 2015. The fact that I haven’t read it until now says far more about the depth of my “to be read” pile than it does the quality of this novel. I promise you that.
It is blasphemy to separate oneself from the earth and look down on it like a god. It is more than blasphemy; it is dangerous. We can never be gods, after all – but we can become something less than human with frightening ease. (once again, I don’t have my physical copy and can’t find a page number)
Yeine is born in Darre, a ‘barbarian’ country where the women make the rules and the men are to be protected and are primarily valued for their child-rearing abilities (and their beauty). However, in addition to being Darre she is also of the Ruling Family; although she never expects this to be relevant to her life the book begins with her being called back to the great city-state of Sky by her grandfather, who has named her one of his Heirs.
Of course, he has two full-blood Heirs, so Yeine knows something is up long before she arrives at Sky. She will, however, stop at nothing to find out who murdered her mother.
In the end, she finds out a great deal more than that.
In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way.
In the beginning were the Three, until the Three had a falling out and war raged across all the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. One God, Itempas, was raised above the others, while One of the Three, Enefa was killed and reduced to the Betrayer, and the third of the Three, Nahadoth was bound with all the Three’s Children to forever serve the Ruling Family. In mortal form by day, but himself at Night.
How terrible to be a god of change and endure grief unending.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the story of political machinations, horrifying revelations, unmitigated cruelty, and all-consuming love. It is Yeine’s story, but it is also Enefa’s. It is Itempas’ story, but also Nahadoth’s. But Yeine is our mortal toe-hold into the story of the gods, and it is her with whom we inevitably empathize. Time slips, but then it doesn’t; the story takes place over several months but also in only the blink of an eye.
I recommend the hell out of this, but I’m not really sure quite how to review it in anything like a normal fashion. Just read it. It’s very good.