I just finished N. K. Jeminson’s 100,000 Kingdoms. I’ve been looking forward to reading this for a while – its description sounds like a book written for me. Having read it, I am now a little concerned about the possibility that I might someday meet N.K. Jeminson. (I actually could, we’re on at least one privateish mailing list together) The reason I worry about this is because depending on how effective my censors are that day, the conversation could very well go like this.
Me: If I eat your liver, will I absorb your powers?
Me: I want your prose. Is your prose-power centered in your liver?
Nora: Are those fava beans?
You see, there are some books where, as I read them, I get completely distracted by how very, very jealous I am of how very, very gorgeous they are. I can cope with this perfectly well for the books where their only redeeming quality is that the prose is pretty. Nice writing isn’t enough to make a book worth reading. But then you run into books where they’ve got everything else going on too, rich characters, a fascinating world, a plot rife with deep conflict and high emotion that doesn’t touch on melodrama, and, well, I get a little jealous. Or a lot jealous. Gone with the Wind took me two months to read, because I kept having to stop and figure out where Margaret Mitchell is buried.
At least with The 100,000 Kingdoms I was so busy loving every bit of it while I was reading that it wasn’t until I stopped reading to do things like brush my teeth or go to work that I realized there really was only one acceptable ending for the book (which it delivered beautifully) and that I’m a deeply, deeply twisted person. Yeah, this was a book so engrossing that the only reason I called any of the reveals was that I was responsible and went to sleep in time to be a coherent person at work. That doesn’t happen very often. I mentioned immersive reader mode when talking about the Vinge stuff – I was still in it a good hour after I finished the book.
And that’s all I’m going to tell you about it. Because I could give you all sorts of details, but I wouldn’t do it nearly as well. And it’s fairly short, so when it eats your soul, at least you’ll get it back soon.