This is a blog with spoiler free reviews. Most will be Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, but there will be some books in other genres, including the occasional Non-Fiction review. There is an ongoing series of Cover Reveal Round-Ups, and sometimes I'll write an article on something that interests me.

22 August, 2012

REVIEW: THE BROKEN KINGDOMS

Cover art: Cliff Nielsen
Cover design: Lauren Panepinto

THE BROKEN KINGDOMS
BOOK TWO OF THE INHERITANCE TRILOGY
BY
N. K. JEMISIN

ISBN: 978-0-316-043396-0
Pages: 384 (+appendix and extras)
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 3 November 2010

On the cover:

In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homeless man on an impulse. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. And Oree's guest is at the heart of it...

   This is the second book in The Inheritance Trilogy.  Set ten years after the events at the end of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms this novel gives us a very different picture of the world this series is set in. In the previous volume we saw the world through royalty, and were mostly confined to one location, here our horizon is greatly expanded. Location wise we are still not travelling much, but we are in a much more diverse location - the city of Shadow, located underneath the palace of Sky from The Hundred Thousand kingdoms.
   Along with the change of location we also get a different perspective on the world. This time our point of view is through Oree Shoth who apart from being blind lives a completely ordinary existence in Shadow. I am not exactly giving away something when I tell you that the story of Oree here is far from ordinary though.

   Jemisin gives us a story that structurally is a pretty mundane tale, but the depth of the story combined with the worldbuilding transcend any such simplification when describing the novel.
   Gods are an integral part of the story in this volume also. But this time we are introduced to a lot more of them, and we get to learn much more of their history and daily life. It's really fascinating to learn more about the pantheon of gods, and the history behind them is definitely contributing to the depth of this story.
   There's also quite a bit about what those gods mean to the humans they live along, and how they have affected the daily life of humans. This element is very well done, and feels very realistic. Jemisin doesn't just throw the gods into the story, in many ways they are the story.

   We get lots of action in this novel, and it is quite fast paced. But there is also a lot of quieter periods in this book, and I felt that some of them were a bit too slow. Fortunately this was not a huge problem and it is really a very minor niggle. To be honest I don't think it would even be noticeable if not for the contrast to the very fast paced action and revelation sequences.
   Jemisin is great when making revelations that drive the story. There is several "wow moments" that to me came as a surprise, and it's very hard to begin to even guess where the story is going. We get some twists that are really surprising when it seems that the story is on a familiar track.

   The second book in a trilogy can often be somewhat on a let down, but that is not the case here. Jemisin follows up her debut with a novel that in my opinion is even better than the first, and once again shows she is a great writer.
   I'd really recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but I'd advice against starting here. Reading this without having read the first volume will make you loose a lot of the depth of the story. But this is a Fantasy trilogy you really shouldn't miss, so I will highly recommend you get the books if you haven't already.

REVIEW: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

LINKS: N. K. Jemisin  Orbit

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