Title: The Broken Kingdoms
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Series: The Inheritance Triology #2
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2010
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. . .(from Goodreads)
Earlier this year I read the first book in this series called The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (review) and loved it. Jemisin is back with the second book which follows the story of Oree, a new character in the same world but 10 years after the events of the first. I was so excited to read this that I picked it up right away and I have to say I wasn't disappointed.
After really falling for the characters of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, I wasn't sure if I would like the new focus of the second book. I remained skeptical going into it but was quickly won over. Oree is a great protagonist. She's a blind artist, which may make you think you're supposed to just sympathize with her for her disability, but it really doesn't work that way. She's competent, confident (mostly), and feisty. Most importantly she's not perfect; she makes mistakes. I think Jemisin reached a good balance because she could have easily become a Mary Sue. I think I preferred Yeine as a protagonist but Oree still made a good main character.
The other main character is the homeless man Oree takes in who's name I won't reveal for the sake of spoilers. For about the duration of the whole book, I didn't really like him. Not because he was a bad character or badly developed, it's because he's a jerk. A well-written jerk. Near the end I found myself liking him a lot more as he changed and grew as a person.
As I mentioned in my review of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, I love this type of fantasy: gods, magic, original setting (a city built in a giant tree!) and political intrigue. These aspects all return in this book but in different ways. I felt there was more exposure to the gods and godlings that made it a lot more delightful for me. We also got to see more of the life of the people outside of the nobles and highborns which made the world more distinct and fascinating. The main story is somewhat of a mystery and I found myself definitely surprised by some twists and turns.
I was really impressed and amazed by the storytelling. Jemisin's writing flows so well I breezed through this book like it was nothing. I've also come to think that she's a master at creating tension between characters and injecting those subtle emotions that really bring the characters to life.
Overall I highly recommend The Broken Kingdoms and highly recommend reading the first book, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. If your interest align with any of mine, then you'll be sure to enjoy this series. Jemisin is surely becoming one of my most anticipated authors. The next book in the series, The Kingdom of Gods will be out next year.