In the eighteenth chapter of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.
Chapter Eighteen: The Oubliette
- I AM NOT OKAY
- THIS CHAPTER IS NOT OKAY
- EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY
I just… how? How does this keep getting more fucked up than it was before? HOW????
At least things start off with this neat factoid:
Yet in the process, completely by accident, they created many things. To the formless void that Nahadoth birthed, Itempas added gravity, motion, function, and time. For every great star killed in the cross fire, each god used the ashes to create something new – more stars, more planets, sparkling colored clouds, marvels that spiraled and pulsed. Gradually, between the two of them, the universe took shape. And as the dust of their battling cleared, both gods found that they were pleased.
I LOVE THIS IDEA. Plus, we know that this war isn’t over, as it has influenced the Enefadeh’s actions in the book. I do admit that I am nervous for the moment when we’ll actually meet Itempas in person because he scares the pants off of me. It’s going to happen, isn’t it?
Okay, I’ll freak out about that when it happens. For now, it’s time for me to be completely fucking not okay with Viraine and Dekarta and everything here. I have to remind myself that Yeine attempts to find a way to send a secret message to Darr to help them with the inevitable Mencheyev invasion AND INSTEAD DISCOVERS THE WORST THING IT IS THE WORST THING AND I HATE IT AND I CAN’T UNSEE IT HELP ME. I already didn’t trust Viraine. I already knew that the oubliette was fucked up. I suspected that whatever was below the grate would make me feel terrible things inside. This doesn’t matter because N.K. Jemisin was about a trillion steps ahead of me and I am so done with this book. I mean, yeah, if this oubliette had something to do with the highblood celebration from the day before, clearly it wasn’t a cage of overjoyed puppies.
“Highbloods are difficult to entertain, you see – you being the natural exception. The rest…” He shrugged. “A lifetime of indulging all manner of whims sets the bar for entertainment rather high. Or low.”
From the grate at his feet, and the chamber beyond, I heard a hollow, strained moan that chilled both my souls.
Of course. Of course. But see, it’s not just what’s behind the grate that ruins me. Viraine himself is so relentlessly unsettling because… well, Yeine later spells it out for the reader. He has no loyalties. He does what pleases and serves himself, even if that means he’s feigning loyalty to others. What worries me is that he is man’s ego left unchecked, and he seems to derive a particularly repulsive pleasure from being who he is. (Though his like about Dekarta answering to a higher power confuses the fuck out of me, not just because it doesn’t fit the context of the conversation, but because it doesn’t seem to fit Viraine’s concern. Why would he care about such a thing?) He is pleased to torment Yeine with the revelation of what’s in the oubliette under the grate and then uses the opportunity to taunt her about his perception of her. It’s gross, and I’ll reiterate that Viraine has this “aura of gross” to him that I despise. I don’t trust him! And what the hell did he trade his soul for? I admit that I’m not terribly interested in a sympathetic view of the man because ew, but I’m intrigued a bit. What did he mean by that line?
Oh, right, by the way, Viraine, on order of Dekarta, rewrote a heretic’s body so that he was horribly mutated just for the entertainment of the nobility. AND THAT IS BAD ENOUGH IN ITSELF (can’t unsee can’t unsee CAN’T UNSEE), and then N.K. Jemisin has to go do this:
Death would be a relief to the unknown man in the pit, but the Stone somehow prevented that. To earn release from that twisted prison of flesh, the man would have to collaborate in his own execution.
I just can’t. I cannot. When Yeine calls on Nahadoth to kill the man out of mercy, this is what he reveals to her. The succession ceremony cannot happen without this man. HOW? HOW COULD YOU MAKE THIS ANY WORSE?
“He could send the Stone away. Wish it into a volcano, or some frozen waste.”
“Then one of us would simply be sent to retrieve it. But he won’t defy Dekarta. Unless he sends the Stone properly, his lover will share his fate.”
YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY THINK IT IS OKAY TO DO THIS. YOU CAN’T. OH MY GOD.
“Shhh,” Nahadoth said. I looked at him in surprise, but he was still gazing into the pit. “Shhh. It will not be long. I’m sorry.”
What are you doing???
When Nahadoth saw my confusion, he gave me another of those strange smiles that I did not understand, or did not want to understand. But that was blindness on my part. I kept thinking that I knew him.
“I always hear their prayers,” said the Nightlord, “even if I’m not allowed to answer.”
THIS IS TOO MUCH. OH MY GOD. It’s so relentlessly brutal and heartbreaking, and I have never wanted all of the antagonists to burn forever more than this. I’m just mad and disgusted and done with this book.
Okay, maybe I’m not done yet. That “look” that Yeine keeps observing is finally explained, and I admit that I’m interested to see if Nahadoth will change as a character by the end of this book. There are numerous reason why he could be “understanding” Yeine. Perhaps he is impressed by her compassion or her desire to break the rules to protect her people. But he is certainly affected by her, even going so far as to compare her to Enefa’s strength. This sort of affection from Nahadoth is surprising, and I’m curious to see where it’s going to go. Well, I also want to know how Yeine is going to use her power. Ugh, why can’t I read more? I did this to myself.
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