The Broken Kingdoms

N. K. Jemisin
The Broken Kingdoms Cover

The Broken Kingdoms

Parnassus Reads

As the title suggest, this is the second book of the Inheritance Trilogy (not that Inheritance trilogy). As middle books go, this one is fairly good. There were times where the narrative felt too choppy and things didn't quite seem to mesh well. Working with extended dramatic irony can be difficult, and there were times where my patience with characters' discovery wore thin. This book takes place about 10 years after the events of the first, and those of the ruling class and religious order would have the population believe that not much has really changed since the Gray Lady's rebirth. Godlings now mingle with the general population, having been allowed into the human dimension after Itempas's fall. Only The Three are allowed to kill these godlings, who are their children, and only The Three and other godlings can actually kill them. They are being murdered however, and central to the novel is finding out by whom.

The main character, Oree, is a blind artist who can see magic. Since Shadow is the most magical city in the world, she leaves home at a young age and goes there to make her fortune. You will remember that Shadow is the city beneath Sky, and was mentioned but never visited in the first novel. There is another reason it's called Shadow now, however. A giant tree has grown over and through both Sky and Shadow, cutting off what little light there used to be. I wish more had been done with this, but we are to simply take for granted its creation by the Gray Lady and its existence.

There is a romantic element to this novel, as there was with the first, but it feels less central to the story than it does in the first. Oree and her friends are sympathetic enough, and the plot is, at heart, a mystery novel. having spent so much time in Sky with the horrid back-stabbing, political maneuvering nobility, it was refreshing to see how the rest of the people lived. I think I liked this world, and its protagonists better, and I look forward to the third book (out sometime soon, I believe) as it deals with the last of the three and takes place, to some degree, in the realm of the gods where the Maelstrom looms large. I like Jemsin's writing and world building; it's complete, but it's not as overwhelming with place names, lengthy histories etc. as other fantasy series can be. I'm excited to have discovered her, and I look forward to whatever else she may write.