The Broken Kingdoms (N. K. Jemisin)

The Broken Kingdoms is the second book in The Inheritance Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin. [Here’s my review of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.]

Plot:
It’s 10 years after the events of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and the city of Sky has changed a lot. Oree Shoth s a young, blind street artist with a knack for seeing magic. Shortly after the break-up with her godling lover Madding, she finds a man in the trash who she can see because he glows with magic and takes him in. And then godlings start dying or go missing and somehow, Oree finds herself right in the middle of it all.

I reacted pretty lukewarmly to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and I did like The Broken Kingdoms much more. That is, right until the end that I pretty much hated.

[SPOILERs]

There are two issues that had with the book. One was the ending, as I just said. I was perfectly alright with Oree and Itempas splitting up and not getting the usual happy end. But that he impregnates her without asking her (that at least is shortly acknowledged, but her only concern is that she might die giving birth, not that he used her body as incubator and didn’t even bother asking whether she as ok with that) and she taking the child as at least something of him that she gets to keep (which I find an incredibly icky notion) and then this (she’s talking to her unborn child):

And I think that if I wait long enough and listen carefully, one day I’ll hear footsteps on the road outside. Maybe a knock at the door. He’ll have learned basic courtesy by then from someone. We can hope for that, can’t we? Either way, he’ll come inside. He’ll wipe his feet, at least. He’ll hang his coat.
And then you and I, together, will welcome him home.

All of that makes me want to scream. We’re talking about a character here who was so worried that she might lose her freedom that she hesitated to move in with the man she loved and had been seeing for quite a while. Then she gets stuck with a child, given no choice about it and her reaction to that is that she’s now going to patiently wait and see whether the father will ever come back again.

Hell no. That is not romantic or beautiful, that is ridiculous and sad. And I hated it. Especially because I did love the story and Oree up till then so much.

The second thing I took issue with was the whole “blind but can see magic” thing. I was really excited to read a book with a blind protagonist. That Oree can see magic felt like a cop out. I would have preferred that she could smell magic or hear magic or feel magic or whatever.

But I managed to look past that most of the time and I was otherwise really very engaged witht he book and the story and the characters. It was a good read.

Summarising: cool book with a crappy ending.

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One thought on “The Broken Kingdoms (N. K. Jemisin)

  1. Pingback: The Kingdom of Gods (N. K. Jemisin) « Stuff

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