The Broken Kingdoms: N K Jemisin

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Having enjoyed the first book in Jemisin’s debut trilogy, I was eager to pick up the next book, to learn more about the world, and see what happened to the characters.

Oree Shoth, a blind artist in the city of Shadows, has the gift of ‘seeing’ magic, a gift she hides to avoid undue attention. She takes in a stranger she finds in her trash, a man who doesn’t speak but has the gift of glowing in the morning sun. One day, Oree discovers a murdered godling in the city streets, and finds herself pursued by everyone – gods, godmen.

With her second novel, Jemisin moves into mature territory, both with her protagonist and the story, and I must say, I liked this novel better than A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. By bringing the plot from the sky to the ground, the characters become more relatable and likeable, and the story moves strongly from one beat to the next, revealing more about the world without becoming confusing. The romance also moves out of the teen drama category into something more mature. The book stands well on its own as well as a part of the trilogy, and I breezed through it in a couple of sittings. If I have a quibble, it’s that the book didn’t provide any motivation to pick up the third book in the series – its standalone self-contained nature might work against it.

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