You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Broken Kingdoms

N. K. Jemisin's The Broken Kingdoms is the sequel to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. The story takes place a few years after the events of the previous book. Oree is a blind artist in the city of Sky, the large tree where the ruling Arameri live in the top. Oree lives in the lower, poorer, section where she makes a living selling her artwork to the tourists who visit the area. While she is blind, she has the ability to see magic, an ability that she keeps secret.

Oree discovers the body of a dead god in a nearby alley one day. Since the change in Arameri leadership, the minor gods have been free to roam the city and the rest of the country. However there are factions that are not so happy with the new order of society. The formerly dominant religious order resents its loss of power.

Oree makes another discovery when she finds a strange man in her trash bin. When she sees him glowing in the sunlight she names in Shiny. Shiny is dark, quiet, and moody. She suspects he is more than he seems. Her suspicions are confirmed when he is killed but comes back to life. Oree and Shiny have come under the attention of some people in the guard force. Oree has also gained the attention of a secretive group who is against the current power structure. It turns out that Oree is special and may be quite valuable. This makes her quite vulnerable, since she is nearly powerless to escape when she is captured.

The story turns dark when Oree's lover, a lesser god, is murdered. She becomes familiar with the power structure of the city and learns Shiny's true identity, which she must keep a secret. Shiny's plight is tied to the events of the previous book and the history of the world. Oree's goal is not just to survive but to keep herself from being used as a weapon and stop the murders of the gods.

The author describes the story adroitly from Oree's point of view. The reader gets a sense of her vulnerability as a blind woman, yet she also has flashes of sight which are sometimes enjoyable and sometimes troubling. The events of the first book are the background to this book as the story is expanded. There are enough players to make the plot interesting and mysterious, and questions keep popping up. Oree's world is populated by many new godlings, some benevolent, some not, and some just mysterious. The story is fun and interesting, and a nice followup to the first book. A-

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