“Rising from the dead? Glowing at sunrise? What did that make him, the god of cheerful mornings and macabre surprises?” (The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin)
I always worry about second books in trilogies. They frequently disappoint and are more often than not simply a bridge between two complete works, mucking up symmetry by adding pointless characters and un-tied-up plot lines. I should have known to expect more from N. K. Jemisin. Oree is a fully developed female protagonist drawn to the magic of the newly created city of Shadow, a city recently burdened with a large number of Godlings and ‘heretic’ magic. The story from The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is touched on and expanded but it grows only in the background of Oree’s fully fledged story, making this second volume a proper novel in its own right.
As I mentioned before, I love Jemisin’s take on fantasy because it is so utterly feminine. She tells her stories in the first person, which allows her to delve deeply into emotions and to write the world from a more poetic, richly detailed perspective. Instead of having a world explored through actions alone, as in most fantasy, Jemisin uses each sense to describe the taste, feel, and sound of magic and her created environments. Those of you who read it know that sex has always an integral part of the fantasy genre, and Jemisin doesn’t skimp because of any sense of feminine reticence – instead she morphs the traditional brutish talk that passes for sexual tension into richly described, otherworldly sex scenes that resemble those in good romance or erotica. Beyond that, Jemisin’s characters simply have a woman’s humor – they laugh about men and themselves in a way that feels so familiar in life, and so fresh in Fantasy.
Buy – Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Length: 432 pgs (Audiobook: 11 hours, excellent quality)
Ending: Sad, but necessary
Further Reading: Can’t wait to start her new Dreamblood trilogy.