Jun. 9th, 2010

opusculus: Black hole (Default)
So I read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin last night! And...idk, I really enjoyed it, but I really enjoyed it in that way where some things really bug me.

It's an unusual book with an interesting style. The style reminds me a bit of Lies of Locke Lamora, and I think it really does suit the book well. A lot of the book's about gods and divinity in general, and it's one of the few books in fantasy I can recall that genuinely managed to convey a holy sort of feeling when dealing with gods, and I think that jumping around had a lot to do with it. And I really enjoy well-done inhumanity and humanity, especially where they're very close to human but they never quite work off the same underlying assumptions, and I thought the book handled that very well.

But there were a lot of things I didn't like about it, to be honest. Even the well-developed characters never quite caught me. Her dialogue isn't all that good, and I can see frustrating amounts of potential in there, but they never quite drew me in. I enjoyed Sieh and Nahadoth and Itempas, but they never quite...felt real? I mean, for me a lot of liking characters is getting into their heads and seeing what makes them tick. And I can do that with them, but it feels....flat and shallow.

And the main character just doesn't work for me. I don't dislike her, but I don't have any real opinion on her. I think the problem here is in the very tight focus. The book takes place in two weeks, after she's arrived in the palace that rules the world. Even when she was focusing on dealing with the things that she grew up loving...I never really got a sense of her outside the situation she was placed in, and since she was so lost and overwhelmed by the situation, I just never really got a good idea of who she was. I guess I never found a good way to place her in her context, and I need that to get a good understanding of characters. And so reading the book with that giant gap in the characterization when it's written from her perspective just kind of frustrated me the entire time.

Also, I realized reading it that I am starting to get really sick of hot guy/in between girl/cold guy threesomes. I mean, I still enjoy them? But I'm somehow simultaneously really sick of them while enjoying them idek. I think what bugs me is always putting the girl in between the two guys as a sort of bridge, rather than letting her be her own sort of extreme. And not all of them do that, but I really don't like this underlying expectation in a lot of these kinds of threesomes that of course it's the girl's job in a threesome to make sure that the boys are getting along, and girls are never allowed to be the extremes.

I mean, overall I really enjoyed the book! It has a really interesting mythological feel and I really enjoyed the ending and a lot of the subtle touches and I do plan on rereading and getting the second one. But I think the author got so caught up in the mythology that she neglected the world, and that kept bugging me the entire time.


opusculus: Black hole (Default)

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