Welcome everyone to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Read Along! I read this book a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I am thoroughly enjoying rereading it and am so glad that so many folks could joins us to dissect it! My cohosts for this madness are On Starships & Dragonwings, Little Red Reviewer, and Violin in a Void. You can catch the schedule over HERE if you are just joining us. This book reads pretty quickly, so feel free to pop into the read along anytime you like.
This week we covered Chapters 1-9. Spoilers lurk in dark corners waiting to perform dark deeds on the unwary!
1) We’ve met our narrator, Yeine. What are your first impressions? Do you like the chosen form of story telling so far?
Yeine strikes me as a no-nonsense kind of woman who just got thrown into a ridiculous situation. While I like her, I do have my worries that she will not prosper in Sky City among her Arameri family. She’s very straight forward, while most around her are adept at deception.
The first few pages threw me a little, both the first time I read it, and this reread. But the story itself is so compelling that I am quickly sucked into it. As the story progresses, I then feel like Yeine is telling me this long, intense story of her life over hot tea on a cold night by candle light. Simply put, I am enchanted by this book once again.
2) Yeine essentially has two families – the Darre (her father’s people) and the Arameri (her mother’s people). What do you think of her two halves? Do you think one will win out over the other within Yeine?
The Darre appear to live much closer to the land (consider her clothing) and Darr is also a poor nation, which indicates that self-sufficiency is held in high regard. Yeine has also made one or two comments about women speaking and acting for themselves and not hiding behind a man. I also remember a few other things about the Darr from my previous reading, but I won’t spoil anything here. Basically, a straight forward kind of people, but with their hang ups (like the racist remarks towards Yeine’s mother).
Meanwhile, we have seen some pretty homicidal behaviors from her Arameri family….and I am hard put to name a good characteristic that could label most of the Arameri. Yvraine and Tivril seem helpful, but that could be some deception….or they were ordered to be helpful and friendly.
As for which side will win out in Yeine? Well, I want her to hold fast to that straightforward Darre side but I also think she needs to learn to be a bit deceptive if she is to survive the inheritance game her grandfather plopped her down into.
3) We meet the Enefa, the enslaved gods. Which do you wish to know the backstory to the most? What do you think of their enslavement?
Zhakka, the large grey lady, the Yeine meets briefly when the Nightlord both attacks and kisses. So far, we know very little about her. Why is she so much taller? What is her main function in the pantheon? Where are her allegiances? So many questions for her.
The idea of enslaved gods is not unique, perhaps uncommon, but not unique. But the manner of their enslavement is fascinating. They fought, their side lost, and not they are doomed for eternity to be enslaved in mortal bodies. Ugh. Who would want a body that needs constant attention and care? That sweats and defecates? That requires grooming? Yeah, I could see how that would be majorly annoying to the gods. But then to be used by the Arameri as they are, to be treated as less than human, never mind less than heavenly grace. I have to say the most disturbing use so far is that of Sieh, ordered younger, to be a bed warmer. Yeah. Some of those Arameri are going down and I can’t wait for Yeine to make it happen.
4) Nahadoth finally catches up to Yeine and his first words and actions are mysteries to her. Gibbering or meaning?
Well, I think it is pretty obvious that Nahadoth, Sieh, and Zhakka have a use for Yeine and I don’t think it is some petty revenge ploy on a handful of nobles either. Towards the end of this section, Nahadoth explains that he is a little insane during transition time – dusk and sunrise – so him throttling Sieh probably wasn’t the first time that had happened. I was a bit surprised he kissed her. Perhaps he is naturally a hypersexual god and he would kiss a hamster if he had one in hand at the end of his little twice-daily insane periods.
5) We’ve met the competition for the unspoken throne – Lady Scimina and Lord Relad. How do you think they will complicate Yeine’s life?
Lady Scimina seems willing and able, even looking forward to it, to toy with Yeine before crushing her. Lord Relad seems to simply want it over and he is making it easy for anyone to off him at their convenience – through poison, drowning, slipping and breaking his neck, etc. I actually forget what these two competitors do….perhaps they will join forces against Yeine or perhaps Relad will be dead soon. Either way, it is Lady Scimina that I will have my eye on at all the dinner parties and who I don’t wish to bump into in dark corners of the palace.
6) The Enefa obviously want something from Yeine. What do you think that is and how do you think Yeine will react to their wants?
I’ve totally forgotten the specifics of what the Enefa want. I am guessing they want some temporary alliance with Yeine. Sieh perhaps wants a temporary mother figure. Perhaps Yeine could bake him cookies and tuck him into bed with stories for a week? It is tempting, and I am merely the reader and yes I was paying attention to all the warnings about Sieh. But seriously, if I was the Enefa, I would be constantly seeking any possibility, no matter how remote, of freedom. So, whatever they are up to, I would say that is part of it.
That was a pretty intense dream memory Yeine had – and now we have some idea of what Nahadoth can do. If the Arameri don’t control him, keep him from leveling cities and leaving craters everywhere, then who will? Can Nahadoth self-regulate?
The Enefadeh (forehead symbol) seems a kind of enslavement in itself. Yeine will never be able to remove it while at Sky City. If she ever does leave, she could remove it, but there would be a little scar, as her mom had. And of course, the symbols automatically set up a hierarchy, which seems to be a bit unhealthy and too rigid. *cough* inbreeding *cough*.
My Fellow Readers: