Monday, November 7, 2011

REVIEW: The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin


OK so firstly I want to talk about The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms predecessor. An extremely easy, fast and ruthless read and some really interesting and original concepts. Plus with me, anything that involves anything religious- or god-orientated is already a winner. Even though I'm an atheist, I have this strange fascination with theology and mythology. But I did find in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms there were some parts of the story that just didn't sit right.

I remember writing after reading it that "even though it's fantasy, you can't just make shit up." By this I mean that even though everything is fictional (and because it's fantasy pretty much anything can happen) but you still need to abide by the rules of your own story/universe. I found that towards the end, the business with the Stone of Earth became a little messy and it sounded like it was being made up as the story went along. There was also a lot of things I felt that were not reasoned properly and it was clear that it was only that way for convenience, rather than being true to the characters or plot.

That being said, I feel like The Broken Kingdoms not only improved dramatically on this but also retrospectively cleared up those issues from The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. This leads onto what I felt was the best part of this novel. I loved how Jemisin continued the series with new protagonists, including one which was able to tell his side of the story from 100K (an abbreviation I picked up from the author's website). However, even with these new characters and setting, it still felt like the perfect sequel and continuation from book one.

Jemisin's writing has definitely improved in this book and she has truly mastered the art of the  seamless, fast-moving plot. I remember reading 100K in just one day and I read this one in just a handful of days. The beginning had me a little frustrated and on edge because as a reader I knew what was going on and who this mysterious man was but it took so long for the plot to acknowledge it and finally satisfy me. This wasn't a total negative though and added some nice suspense. I also think this book solidifies the universe she has created when 100K didn't - it very clearly defines the laws, the reasoning and the motivation of key characters.

I appreciated the originality of the characters and the departure from archetypes (to some degree). I enjoyed how the godlings (and even the Gods) had inherent weaknesses/fallings rather than being all godly and omnipotent. Oree being blind also added a nice touch and allows the reader to view the story and the world in a unique way. 

Cannot wait to read book three The Kingdom of Gods but it will have to wait a bit because a) I'm too poor to buy it at the moment, b) INHERITANCE IS NIGH and c) my Alloy of Law pre-order will be arriving soon and this will obviously take preference.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like yet another series to add to my list :)