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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True to the author's unique voice
N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was one of the first books I bought due to reading a review blog and in fact it was one of my top ten books for 2010 (even if I only gave my top five on the blog). I adored Yeine and the world Jemisin created, and I even had a slight book crush on Nahadoth. So I was excited to get my hands on The Broken Kingdoms as soon as it...
Published on 29 Oct. 2011 by W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves....
This book had a more promising start than its predecessor and a more sympathetic character, and up to the halfway point I would have said it was the better book. Jemesin creates a world dominated by a holy trinity, a dark lord, a lord of light, and a grey lady who mediates between them. In the first book the central character falls in loves with the dark lord, and if I...
Published on 13 July 2011 by Irish reader


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True to the author's unique voice, 29 Oct. 2011
N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was one of the first books I bought due to reading a review blog and in fact it was one of my top ten books for 2010 (even if I only gave my top five on the blog). I adored Yeine and the world Jemisin created, and I even had a slight book crush on Nahadoth. So I was excited to get my hands on The Broken Kingdoms as soon as it was published. And then... I've no clue what happened, but for some reason it stayed on the to read-pile instead of me snapping it up and reading it immediately. So when the publication date for the final book in the trilogy, Kingdom of Gods, neared I thought it would be a good idea to read The Broken Kingdoms and get some attention for it and the Inheritance trilogy, especially as the author had said that The Broken Kingdoms only had about a third of the reviews the The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms did. So here we are. Did I love The Broken Kingdoms as much as I did its predecessor? Yes, yes I did.

I love Jemisin's voice, it's very recognisable, not just in her books, but in her short stories as well. I've read or listened to a number of them and they all have that voice, even though their subjects are wildly dissimilar. It's hard to pinpoint what it is exactly, this voice, but to me it's a feeling of warmth, of being there in the now with the protagonists, even if the subject of the story is an unhappy one, such as Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Beneath the Still Waters - I heard it as a Podcastle episode - which deals with a man living in New Orleans in the midst of Hurricane Katrina. Whatever it is exactly, it is uniquely Jemisin and it completely works for me.

The Broken Kingdoms has this voice in spades and it's delivered through the mouth of its protagonist and narrator Oree. She is a superb main character, giving a unique point of view, or maybe point of perception is a more apt term as Oree is blind. She doesn't let her blindness hamper her in any way though and is fiercely independent. Jemisin succeeds in giving us a rich world, coloured by smell and textures instead of colours. Oree can only 'see' colours when she perceives magic, which allows Jemisin to both show Oree (and the reader) some events and objects clearly and accentuate how much the godlings and their magic permeate Shadow, the city beneath the World Tree and the palace of Sky.

Oree is surrounded by a great cast of friends and enemies. The godling cast, Oree's former lover Madding and some of his siblings, Lil, Paitya, Kitra and Dump, was stellar. I really enjoyed their personalities and the way their given aspect influenced them. Not just influenced, but it compels them, as we see when Oree manages to summon Lil with a completely different appetite than we've seen Lil, whose aspect is Hunger, react to up till then. Oree's main companion throughout the novel, Shiny, is awesome. While his true identity is hinted at, and for those who've read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms it's not as big of a mystery, it does take a while before Oree realises who he really is. This discovery and her processing of this revelation and her consequent acceptance of Shiny's identity are very well done. I realise the previous is a bit vague, but I don't want to spoil Shiny's true identity for those who don't already know.

The strife between the Three is reflected among mortals by a split between the Order of Bright Itempas, the traditional Arameri religion and the New Lights, an off-shoot Itempan order, and the revelation about demons (half divine/half human) still in existence. These two factors are some of the main catalysts of the narrative. The plot is very exciting, a combination of murder mystery and political/religious conspiracies, and I like that it shows us glimpses of Sky and beyond. The ending is superb, with love and loss all balled up into one. While I was sad at the losses, both physical and emotional, the ending left me quite hopeful for Oree's future.

The Broken Kingdoms is a worthy successor to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and it's one of my top reads for this year. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the concluding volume in the Inheritance cycle, Kingdom of Gods, which just came out and to the Dreamblood duology which is to be published in May and June of next year. Until then, make sure to catch up by reading the entirety of the Inheritance trilogy, because Jemisin's unique voice and style deserves to be widely read and appreciated!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, brilliant, gritty, tragic and entertaining, 20 Oct. 2011
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As far as sequels go they are usually hit or miss, I fell in love with The Hundred-Thousand Kingdoms and I wanted more, more of that world and more of those characters so of course I bought the sequel but I was apprehensive at first because the sequel focused on different characters instead and I was not sure if I would enjoy it as much. Of course I was wrong, as with the first I just could not put this book down I had to keep going and going until I had finally finished it, I was hooked with every page, each new development and twist was an excellent addition and I never found it too grating or forced and though I did predict the ending it was only over halfway through the book and I would not call any of the rest of the plot predictable.

This sequel is told from the eyes of blind commoner Oree, a painter who is more than a little extraordinary, she can see magic whilst others can not and she can see godlings as they are, in fact in many ways Oree is the only one who is not blind. She is an amusing, tough lead, less naive than Yeine with a lot of admirable determination and toughness. Yet she has her weaknesses and that is what makes her character believable and likeable, she is a realistic heroine, she has strengths and flaws and yet she always manages to deal with everything thrown her way.

Oree's life goes from mundane to dangerous with the arrival of Shiny, a strange silent man with an odd talent, his strange gifts draw unwarranted attention to him and to Oree and in turn her own strangeness starts to become exposed but it's hard to tell who is the real enemy here in a world of characters that wear many guises.

I don't want to spoil too much but it's an interesting contrast to the first novel, which told of Nahadoth and his children's slavery and plight, this novel is almost in reverse and it's great to see the comparison, also for fans of characters in the first novel they do make cameos here, which was fantastic to see.

This novel is a rare sort and I suggest you definitely seek it and its predecessor and sequel out, the author has a flair for words and never leaves you wanting, all the characters are unique and fun to read about, and the city of Shadow is easy to picture certainly something different and gripping.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended!, 7 Jun. 2011
By 
jen7waters (Porto, Portugal) - See all my reviews
I was lucky enough to win an autographed copy of this book, in a second drawing of a giveaway (I'm very sorry for you, but thanks for not claiming your prize, first winner! *evil laughter*) and I'm so glad I did, not just because I was presented with a book (always an outstanding event), but also because I would probably never read a book from this series otherwise. (The shame!) I'll explain: I love fantasy, but high fantasy scares me a bit...I have this feeling I won't understand what's happening most of the time, so I tend to stay away from it, which now I see it's nonsense, for I loved this book! It tells such a good and yes, complex story, yet it was all clear to me, which was surprising. (YAY, I'm not an idiot after all! )
The heroine, Oree, who is now on my Favorite Heroines of All Time pile, is such a great character, and really The Reason why I think The Broken Kingdoms is an excellent reading suggestion even for readers who don't like fantasy that much. She's so bright, witty, bold -even in the most extreme situations, and a wonderful narrator and storyteller, because she's telling the events of this book as a story to someone else (I can't say who, major spoiler); and, oh, yes, she's blind, which at times would make me cringe in fear that someone, something, would take advantage of that to do her harm in some way, but I soon realized Oree is not one to be fooled around easily.
The worldbuilding in this is a bit overwhelming at first, but as the story progressed I got used to it; also, it's rather easy to be confused about something in a story if the heroine feels the same way, and admits it. The only thing I would change in this book, is the end, but I see why that had to happen, even if I don't agree. :(

So, yes, thank you my Giveaway Fairy for presenting me with such a great book, and for introducing me to yet another remarkable author and fantasy series. Recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it on so many levels, 19 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I am a dedicated fantasy addict. And am addicted to (and probably overdosing on) Jemisin. I'm not a literary buff; I don't understand how the magic of a book works or even how to eloquently explain the power they have and I most certainly am not a literature critic. I just know what I like and I know what works for me. And every single one of Jemisin's books has worked for me. She'll break your heart (she did mine at least once in every book), she'll deliver tragedy mercilessly (I screamed at her for that) and she'll leave you wanting more (I most definitely do).

If you try this book for nothing else, try it for Jemisin's imagination. It is, without a doubt, out of this world. And I know that this is what any decent fantasy reader wants, but, honestly, it's like nothing I've ever come across before. It's close to so much, and then so far removed. It's weird beyond explanation, but so familiar. I loved it.

If you need another reason, then read it because of HOW it is written. Jemisin is a genius; the story is intricate and subtle and then so blindingly obvious that you wonder how you missed it. She doesn't give you more than you need to work it out yourself, but she keeps you guessing and pulls you along. Sometimes it's confusing, but that's the fun of it. It's only confusing because you're not thinking right.

A third reason (if you're not convinced or at least curious enough already) is that this book, in my opinion, is her best. Not because her other books aren't as good, or because this one has anything more than they do, but because, for some unknown reason, I stopped eating and sleeping for this book. It consumed me. Luckily, I'm just a hapless student so it didn't ruin my life or anything ridiculous like that. But this is what I do; if I love a book, I fall in. It's been a while since I have found a book that is good enough for that. These days I've found it very difficult to find a fantasy book that is truly different. A lot of the newer books that I have come across have just been convoluted attempts to rehash what is already out there, or they are written so badly that it doesn't matter how good their ideas are, it's impossible to read. This is nothing like those.

So my advice: try this book, try all the Inheritence Trilogy books, try the Dreamblood books too (they're completely different in worlds but Jemisin through and through). N. K. Jemisin is something new and worth it on so many levels.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great second instalment, 3 Feb. 2011
By 
At the end of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Jemisin's world was turned upside down, as the truth about their gods was revealed to the Arameri elite. In The Broken Kingdoms, set a decade later, the author takes us into a different level of society - in this second volume she takes us into the lower classes.

The new perspective allows Jemisin to further flesh out the world she has created, and the `commoner' perception of the changes to the social order are interesting, giving the novel a very different feel to Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Thankfully, however, the author doesn't spend too long world-building. In some ways, this was strange - the lives of the commoners living beneath the World Tree are entirely different from those who formed the sole focal point of the first novel. But then again, Oree's blindness allows for a more interesting approach to the world: descriptions are different for starters, focusing more on smell and touch, and also the impressions these sensations bring to Oree's mind.

Certain aspects of life in the city are changing, particularly the religious core that formed around the worship of Itempas, the `Bright Lord'. After the godly coup of Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, religious uncertainty reigns. As Oree says at one point, "For centuries, millennia, the world has danced to a single flute. In some ways, this has been our most sacred and inviolable law: thou shalt do whatever the hells the Arameri say. For this to change... well, that's more frightening to most of us than any shenanigans the gods might pull."

The changing edicts from the Arameri have left many confused and adrift, no longer trusting the change in their daily routines (Itempas, after all, was also god of order). Another major change to life in the city is the return of the `godlings' - children of the Three. Their interactions with humans is a central part of the novel, and through Oree we get a sense of their lives among the mortals - their whims and desires, their follies and fantasies. They're a fascinating addition to the world, and each has their own aspect or affinity that dictates, in part, what their lives are. There were a handful of godlings in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but in the time that has passed since then, the godlings have been allowed back into the world, where before they were restricted to higher plains.

Once again, I love what Jemisin has done with the `gods-walk-among-us' theme, the different levels of god-hood, and how they interact with human society. The `godlings', the children of the Three primary gods, each have a characteristic or affinity based around their nature. For example, in one of Oree's flashbacks to her early years in the city, she is followed by a mercy godling, because she was drawn to the potential of Oree's death that day. Madding, Oree's godling friend has an affinity for checks and balances, which makes him a surprisingly successful businessman.

Oree's guest, who she christens `Shiny', is a complete puzzle to her - one she tolerates and has more-or-less given up trying to understand. Her strange gift allows her to see magic, but nothing else, and Shiny has unusual qualities that are only slowly revealed to her. When this revelation comes, I must say she takes it surprisingly well (just as she does a revelation about herself). As mentioned in the book's synopsis, Shiny glows magically at dawn and sometimes during the day - he is not a godling, but neither is he human. He is something so much more, and throughout the novel he struggles with his nature and the curse he suffers. He very slowly opens up to Oree, as she gets sucked deeper into conspiracy that surrounds the dead godlings, and eventually develops a wary affection for her.

It took only a short while to sink back into Jemisin's world, and the pacing of the plot grabbed my attention almost immediately. Once again, the novel starts rather choppily, hopping about a little before settling down into the narrative and plot (although, this happens far quicker than in the previous novel). We are quickly introduced to Oree, her life, and her friends, and we feel at home with this cast of interesting, well-rounded and, in many cases, unique characters after just a few pages. She is a blind artist who came to the city after Itempas's fall, making a meagre living from a stall on a street frequented by pilgrims and staffed by other street artists. Her innate kindness caused her to take Shiny in to her home, care for him and tolerate his mute, fatally clumsy existence. She doesn't know what or who he is, and frequently finds his taciturn nature frustrating.

The story of The Broken Kingdoms reveals itself within a couple of short paragraphs, quicker than Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and this makes for a more streamlined (though no-less-satisfying) plot. I don't think it's necessary to read Hundred Thousand Kingdoms before reading this, but you would certainly get far more out of this novel (not to mention a whole other enjoyable novel) if you read them both. Oree's navigation of the conspiracy she gets dragged into, and Shiny's attempts to come to grips with his new nature and life are brilliantly brought to life on the page, and while Jemisin can sometimes wander into some pretty weird magic, the novel never feels too alien to relate to.

The Broken Kingdoms is not quite as complex as Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but this can be expected from a second novel in a series. I do wish there had been a little more world-building, or perhaps an alternative perspective to fill in gaps that Oree's blindness could not, to round out our picture of the lower levels of society. That being said, I think this could seriously have ruined the brisk pace of the novel if it hadn't been executed properly - so it's a mixed blessing, I suppose. The author's style is great: never getting bogged down in exposition, frequently dropping tantalising hints of what is to come, and populating her world with varied and three-dimensional people and creatures.

A novel of compassion, revenge, dislocation and remorse, written on a background of momentous change, Oree's journey is tough yet she manages to not only survive but grow stronger for it.

Jemisin has once again produced an excellent, layered fantasy novel that stands out from contemporary peers, and deserves your full, undivided attention.

A highly recommended series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it. Tore my heart a bit, 28 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
At first I was confused by this blind girl who could see. then it made sense. I enjoyed the mix of characters and how I wanted to abhor some although relishing the honesty of their nature. It tore at my heart in places and I don't doubt a few would weep over the same bits. But it had me hooked. I love the mix of sexual tension, gore, ruthless imagination and contradictions. Very much looking forward to more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best one yet!, 28 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I think this might be my favourite book in the trilogy. It follows Sieh, my favourite character from the series, and really had me in the 'just one more chapter' phase night after night.

I won't go into detail, as it will probably contain spoilers, but this book is unique, well written, and has a good, flowing structure that makes it easy and engaging.

5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really good book, 11 April 2013
By 
M. Greenland (London, England) - See all my reviews
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I was really impressed with this book. It definitely lived up to the first. You are introduced to a completely different part of the world and yet the world still feels cohesive. Definitely worth the time if you liked the first one.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Continues to build upon the original, 7 Nov. 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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Readers may well remember our review of the authors first title, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. This title builds upon the success of the first and whilst a lot of the groundwork was already laid down for the reader to understand the world and how it functions, this title continues to educate as well as expand the reality for the viewer.

Back this up with almost human gods with precarious tempers and choices as well as a great overall arc and the author really does do the world justice. Finally, if you've not read the original you probably won't get everything out of this title as many of the readers will as this Young Adult/Adult Fantasy really does have something for everyone from a great sense of pace to deliciously delightful conflict and dialogue. Great stuff.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Broken Kingdoms, 9 Mar. 2011
By 
Rob'z World (Yorkshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
The second book of 2 which I really enjoyed - would obviously recommend reading the first to get to know the story but I really enjoyed it, like the first it took a bit of reading to get in to but after a few chapters I was HOOKED and couldn't put it down until I finished - I honestly read it over 2 straight days because I really wanted to read the full story!!!
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