If you are missing the political machinations and betrayals of Game of Thrones and aren’t sure if GRRM is going to finish the last book before he shuffles off his mortal coil, you should definitely check out The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. It has all of that AND it’s a finished series so no waiting for the next installment. This book is the first of a trilogy, plus a novella and a book of short stories. The story follows Yiene, whose mother was the heir to the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms but abdicated to marry Yiene’s father, the ruler of Darr, a far flung nation of matriarchal warriors.
When we first meet our protagonist she is making her way to Sky, the seat of power of her maternal grandfather Dekarta. She has been called back from exile after the mysterious death of her mother. Shortly after her arrival the aging Dekarta makes Yiene one of his heirs. His two other heirs, siblings to one another and cousins to Yiene, have spent their lives plotting and scheming to ensure they get the throne and are none too pleased about this new wrinkle in their plans. Now she finds herself having to games of diplomacy and courtly intrigue not only to save herself but her home country. As an extra added complication, there are actual gods living in the palace with their own plans for the upcoming transfer of power.
I enjoyed this book immensely. The plot moves along quickly and Yiene must always be on her toes in this beautiful and brutal environment in which she finds herself. And it checks in at less than 450 pages which is another advantage it has over the Game of Thrones books. Despite this it is not lacking in plot or world building. You are constantly immersed in the world of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I need to pick up the second two books ASAP.