The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Read Along Part I

Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.
Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.

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.

Other Tidbits:

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:

On Starships & Dragonwings

Little Red Reviewer

Violin in a Void

Books Without Any Pictures

All I Am – A Redhead

Many A True Nerd

Nashville Book Worm

23 thoughts on “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Read Along Part I”

  1. Waaaaay too much inbreeding. You’ve got an entire culture of Joffrey Baratheons running around trying to grasp at power no matter who they step on, and unleashing their sadistic tendencies on Naha and Sieh.

    Naha is my favorite, of course. His divided nature fascinates me. To be one person during the day and another at night must be rough for him, and based on how the Arameri treat him, I don’t blame him for destroying continents when the opportunity presents itself. 😉

    1. Haha! Yes, even though Naha is a deadly force of nature, chaos made flesh, I can not blame him for destroying continents when he gets the opportunity.

      Inbreeding and the alterskirt rose are kind of linked in my head for this tale. For every single great beauty created, there are how many monsters that must be destroyed? Yeah. Don’t bed your brother, aunt, parent, close cousin, etc.

  2. So glad you chose this for a read-along! I probably wouldn’t have picked it up for ages otherwise.

    2. I like the contrast between the Darra and the Arameri in their proximity to the land. Yeine speaks about how the Darre consider Sky palace to be a kind of abomination, because humans should not raise themselves so high above the earth and look down on it as if they were gods. But having gods on a leash would naturally lead to that kind of arrogance.
    Darre as self-sufficient – also contrasts nicely when considering Yeine’s altarskirt rose metaphor for Sky – the rose is the opposite of self-sufficient in that it can’t reproduce by itself.

    “Can Nahadoth self-regulate?”
    That’s a good question. I’d like to see what happens if he breaks free but… ummm… shit. There might not even be a world for the story to take place in!

    1. Yes, the Darre and Arameri obviously have very different ideas about the land and how humans should relate to it. As an avid veggie gardener, I definitely side with the Darre on this one.

      Haha! Yes, shit. If Nahadoth ever does slip his leash, ‘shit’ might be all that is left of the world.

      1. I sort of wonder whether Nahadoth might be more dangerous bound in human form. He has so much power so that when he gets to use it he goes a bit power crazy, if you aren’t careful with how you phrase a command. Maybe when he was a god he wasn’t quite so dangerous, the power was there all the time so he didn’t revel in it in quite the same way.

        1. That’s a really good point. about Naha. He gets to show off his true might so rarely that when he gets to, like once a millennium or so, he goes a little nuts. Perhaps if he could use it daily, he wouldn’t feel the need to use all his power in one massive display.

  3. Woot 😀

    1. I was thrown by her narration at the beginning as well, but I’m so freaking excited for this non-traditional narration, I really feel like I’m getting to know Yeine better, like you said, chatting over tea :D.

    Agreed about Zhakka, I’ve been getting a little confused about which are the main three gods and which are their children since we haven’t heard much about the children.

    4. Hehe, I don’t see Naha as hypersexual, but perhaps! I’m wondering if it was a way for him to find out more about her, like he has spidey senses activated by touch or something weird ;-).

    I loved Naha’s power demonstration in the dream sequence, he can make blackholes 😀 Freaking best evil super power ever!

    Here are my responses!

    1. I like the idea that Naha may have spidey senses and was checking Yeine out through a kiss. It would be wicked cool if all the gods had this ability, but some choose to use it and those that do, do so in different ways (like Sieh’s cuddling).

      Absolutely! Black hole creation is the badass of evil super powers.

  4. Add my thanks to the stack, I’d been meaning to get to this book forever, but without your nudging who knows how long it would have taken me to pick it up?

    Gah, i never even hit on the inbreeding thing. And family members serve, and everyone is related. . . yuck. The Enefadeh marks seem to me like tribal tattoos? not so much enslaved, but locked into your slot in the world. guess this isn’t a good time to be a square peg, eh?

    Zhakka hasn’t been in the story very much so far, I feel bad that i sorta glossed right over her. Maybe she doesn’t play these silly reindeer games with the silly humans?

    “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.”

    they help Yeine secure the crown, and in exchange she frees them? It couldn’t possibly be that simple, as their enslavement is part of the culture of Sky.

    1. Tribal tattoos is a great way to think of the Enefa marks – and depending on your station in the hierarchy, clans within the tribe, easily noted by the forehead mark.

      Which then makes me wonder if any of the Arameri ever try to alter their mark, or add decorations to it. But there are probably pretty hefty punishments for impersonating another rank of the family.

  5. 1) I like Yiene’s straightforward nature to, it could be that she’ll make a few friends that way because they appreciate this fact. It makes a change to how members of the Aremeri family usually act. But she will need to be so careful as to who she trusts and works with.

    3) Zhakka is really interesting, because she’s so gentle the first time we meet her and then full dressed for war the second time. I mean she could have just been dressed that way because they were at war, but it was a bit of a surprise. Oh I can’t wait to find out. 😀

    My responses:

    1. All the gods fascinate me, and I loved that dream sequence that let us see some of them in a different light – at war. It also served to warn Yeine of their immense power. Even Sieh, if left to his own devices, might very well curse an entire family for one man’s passing slight.

  6. Yes, I would be hard-pressed to find a complimentary word for Anameri as well. 🙂 But I do believe Yeine will have to learn to live and utilize both her sides in order to prosper (or just stay alive).
    And quite possibly help the Enefa get free – I’m with you that freedom must play a large part in what they want with her.

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