Summary Jemisin

What we liked:

  • World building and setting “amazing”, well crafted
  • Idea of mere mortals controlling Gods a nice change, biggest amount of power in the hands of mere mortals
  • Different take on fantasy, cool
  • Take on the Gods great, Sieh the best character
  • Gods can change their shapes, Sieh could be a small child or a grown man, interesting, Gods more of an idea we have in our heads, no fixed shape
  • World building: not an info-dump, vastness of world becomes palpable
  • Yeine’s mind-set cool, very human, especially in comparison to the Gods
  • Gods as the creators of the world in contact with mere humans, ‘enslaved’
  • Language-point of view: Yeine as a focal point to understand this new society she has joined, see everything “through her eyes” à language very straight-forward and to the point, great to understand the elaborate world building, ploy to help us readers
  • Murder mystery aspect of it was cool, strong in the beginning, died down, and came again
  • Level of detail can feel overwhelming as well as the amount of politics, but it was very well done, and it kind of Jemisin’s style – breaks it down
  • Memories / visions cool
  • Imagine of the War Goddess: Warrior Woman
  • Othering well done
  • Feminist take cool
  • Postcolonial / Colonial issues
  • “The barbaric North”; Scimina others Yeine a lot, Yeine does not do it herself (we’d love to know more about her upbringing), Yeine refuses to join the conflict, “they think we are barbaric”, but she knows she isn’t and think the others barbaric but doesn’t tell them
  • Yeine uses the clichés that are wielded against her, using against the perpetrators their own arguments
  • Partly funny / light-hearted, very dark setting
  • Enslavement of the Gods very strong, touching (Gods powerful need to be controlled in the beginning, but then you can see that the High Family enslaves them)
  • Blood idea interesting: High Bloods have power over the Gods
  • Gods want to be set free, time for the Gods is nothing, cool
  • Pacifist themes vs. War-makers
  • Slavery is outlawed, but there are different names for it (also in our primary world)
  • Ending: Gods are gone, Sky will have to take charge without their otherworldly powers
  • Empire-metaphor great, how will the countries cope?
  • Nahadoth not romanticised, complex character, ambiguity well done
  • Nahadoth’s perspective interesting, tragic backstory
  • Yeine very self-aware when she is falling for her; “thrill of danger”, doing something reckless, Nahadoth not a good guy, but that he is ambitious; linguistic concept for it in her mother tongue great
  • Enough closure in the novel, no need to pick up the sequels, but Fifth Season was picked up
  • Some of us might pick up the sequels but they’re not on top of the tbr pile because the story has closure; tempted to buy sequels

What we did not like // what we discussed:

  • Many parts of the story aren’t that original despite the fantastic world building: outsider girl with special abilities going to hostile place, fighting rivals
  • Many Gods inspired by other mythologies: Sieh Loki-esque; deities inspired by Christian mythology
  • Relationship with Yeine and Nahadoth was a bit cliché: dark supernatural evil dude and the good, innocent girl? YA-ish even?
  • Hunger Games-ish? Darr as District 12?
  • Loads of references to other novels
  • Confusing bits: relationship between Nahadoth and Yeine unclear; side that comes out at night in a relationship with Yeine; daytime Nahadoth a different person
  • Nahadoth = Darkling from the Grishaverse, very YA cliché, not too much, but it’s predictable and obvious
  • Details lacking in the great world building, psychological depth missing?
  • Confusing names, depth in world building partly lacking
  • The 100k Kingdoms as title, but no King and we also do not see much of the world
  • Nahadoth’s two personalities confusing
  • Fighting for the Throne, Game of Throne-ish; no challenges or anything like that, more like intrigue and sabotage; how was this contest working? Yeine’s role became clear later, but contest a bit pointless?
  • Contest: “I lost the contest” – where, when, what?
  • Political dimension a bit confusing, Arameri: head of Empire, imperial ancient Rome, Renaissance mafia-clan (Grandfather = the Godfather), Baroque in parts; maybe even inconsistent? Intrigue / games vs. order and control; hard to fill gaps; Gods as the heavies / captains in the Mafia, kingdoms need to pay tribute
  • Second half: Y. knows she’s going to die and that her kingdom is under attack (she’s a figurehead for that kingdom) à why didn’t she protect her kingdom? She would be dragged kicking and screaming from the battle; fell away; wasn’t their leader anymore? She just kind accepted it?
  • Contest is all for show; striving for power is useless; it’s about keeping power; how should they prove of being worthy of leading the family?
  • Contest also full of gaps: what is the point of it? Or is this the point? That this doesn’t make any sense
  • Succession and being the heir super important when it isn’t in the end
  • If the contest was made more clear, point could’ve been more easily understood; were they even checking?
  • Stewart T’Vril: role could’ve been used more effectively to explain the contest better; previously it has been done like this etc.; Yeine even visited the library!
  • Dark sexy villain always a bit weird, here it is okay-ish; why are the innocent girls drawn to someone dark, older, manipulative?
  • Weird incest-ish thing in the God’s relationship? Polytheist idea, Cosmic dimension; Gods beyond our ken

Interesting things to check out:

Magic system: http://nkjemisin.com/2012/06/but-but-but-why-does-magic-have-to-make-sense/

How to pronounce the names: http://nkjemisin.com/2010/02/a-name-pronunciation-guide-for-100k/

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