The Broken Kingdom (The Inheritance Trilogy)
It took me a little while to really get into this story. I read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms last year and had the same feeling. It didn’t set its hooks into me immediately, but once I got my bearings within the story, I couldn’t put it down. I love that once again Jemisin gave me a lead character to follow who is placed in a pretty horrible situation, but handles herself with intelligence and honor. Kidnapped by a bloodthirsty cult? Who goes into that situation knowing what to do? It kills me whenever I pick up a book and it’s about a normal person in abnormal circumstances who flails about, failing to see what’s right in front of their eyes. Jemisin’s characters, however, never fall victim to this trope. They stand up and fight when they are able and go on surviving when they aren’t. The story itself is a helter skelter race through dimensions and magic that will keep your eyes glued to the page until the very last word has passed beneath your eyes.
Ten years have passed since Yeine rose to godhood and the Tree was brought to life in Sky. Times have changed in the intervening years. Godlings now run through the streets of the city that has arisen in the shadow of the tree. Magic scents the air. There’s an artist who paints and grows small versions of the Tree who is blind, though perhaps not entirely. She can see the magic of the gods and godlings. On a cheerful morning, Oree finds the broken and dead body of a godling. Caught up in events, Oree must find out who’s killing the godlings before they kill the wrong one and cause the universe itself to unravel.
This story plays out with an incandescent flair. The magic stands out on the page in bright gold, allowing you to see the story through Oree’s eyes. Looking back, I think that’s the most apt way to say it, but it still doesn’t encompass the luminosity of being able to look at a world that I already knew to be colorful and bright through the eyes of someone who can only see the magic of it. She is completely blind to the red of an apple or the green of the leaves of the Tree, but what she does see holds so much more power than the mundane objects of daily life. If I had to pick something of this story that I would point to and say, “There! There is where the genius lies,” it would be this unique view she gives us into the world.
Here’s the thing, in spite of all of that, somehow I didn’t fall in love with this book. I know that I should have and I can’t put a finger on why I didn’t, but something just didn’t quite hit that resonance within me. It has all of the components usually required to do that. I’m giving the book a 3 ink bottle rating, but I want to do it with a caveat because I can’t tell if it’s just something I’m doing. It’s vivid and exciting with believable characters in a world steeped in light and magic. The first book is amazing, especially with that ending. So this is what I’ll leave you with, read the series. Yeah, this book might not be as great as Book 1, but it’s still entertaining as hell, it just didn’t quite pull me in as much as I wanted it to.