The gods have broken free after centuries of slavery, and the world holds its breath, fearing their vengeance. The saga of mortals and immortals continues in The Broken Kingdoms. 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 homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight.
This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy.
Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. Oree's peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger - but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the Lord of Night himself?
©2010 N.K. Jemisin (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
This series is set in an invented world in which gods and their offspring walk or live among human beings, something like Greek mythology. There is something very fresh about Jemisin's approach to the genre. In this book, the narrator is a blind street artist who is only able to see magic, which she perceives as glowing light, or her own paintings. A narrator who can't see most of the action makes for a challenging portal through which to explore a strange world, but the author makes it work, playing off the tension between what Ori can't perceive and the heightened perceptions of her other senses. Also she's vulnerable, a very humble, down-to-earth person, so she also "sees" the social order of the novel from a perspective that all the more powerful characters cannot. This one is not in the least predictable. The narrator occasionally seems to be in over her head, but mostly does fine. I frequently found myself lingering over chores and even extending my gym workouts because I was so eager to hear what happened next.
I enjoyed this more than the first book of the trilogy, Looking forward to the third book!
I skipped the first book in this trilogy, and as an introduction to the world and overall plot, the second book works just fine. The viewpoint character and narrator, Oree Shoth, doesn't know much about the gods and godlings, so the reader gets to follow along with her discoveries. And the discoveries are worth making. The Broken Kingdoms not only has one of the more original fantasy worlds, but one of the most culturally complex and magically interesting.
And Jemisin uses the world. One of the most outstanding qualities of this book is its exploration of how power differences affect relationships, for better or for worse, and for how those are negotiated. In order to demonstrate those effects (rather than preaching them), Jemisin had to create a world with plausible depth, and she pulled it off. The theme of power in relationships is everywhere in this book--in the opening scene, in the interaction between Oree, a street artist, and a worried and entitled tourist, in how the police force treat Oree and her fellow artists, in how the godlings treat mortals, and how mortals view godlings, and so on.
Moreover, Jemisin handles all of these relationships with remarkable deftness, showing even unsympathetic characters' motivations in such a manner that they are understandable and highly individual. If you are bored by puppy-kicking, sociopathic evil, then Jemisin is a great read. She shows how people can do awful, insensitive, cruel things for what they consider excellent reasons, given their contexts. In a similar vein, she does not pull her punches in terms of the consequences of her characters' actions, and I love that kind of follow through. Highly recommend.
I have no regrets for reading this book. The author does a good job (as far as I, a non blind person can tell) of portraying a set of experiences from a blind person's perspective. You have to read it after the first book, but that's not such a bad thing. I'll probably listen to it again down the road. Another thing: the narrator adds a lot to the book. I highly suggest you pick this up.
I would recommend this audiobook to a friend. The world-building within the novel is excellent. It is a standalone book within the series (as all three of the novels are, I have heard) so you don't have to read its predecessor to know what's going on. The romance is subtle most of the time, but it's believable and enjoyable.
The plot is intricately woven at parts. The characters grow and change in believable ways. I began the novel heavily disliking one character for many reasons, but two-thirds of the way through, I learned to understand him and he became one of my favorite characters. There's such a depth to the story that you feel like you need time between listens to unravel what's going on.
I highly enjoyed the voices that Casaundra Freeman gave the characters. Some male characters had similar voices to each other, but every important character had an easily distinguishable, believable voice. Her narration style perfectly fits the first person narration style of the main character Oree.
My one recommendation to future listeners is to look up the names of the most important characters within the novel while listening to the audiobook. A few names were difficult to understand because of their fantasy nature until I saw them in writing.
This book is full of action, interesting ideas, and further explores the world first shown to us in the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. In that book a lot of things changed, and here is a view from outside of the noble houses.
Yes, I would. I think the story is complex enough to warrant re-reading. The world is interesting as an extension of the previous: Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.
The characters and their changes.
not to my knowledge.
No, I felt a quiet enjoyment as the story unfolded. And I appreciated the ending.
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