Saturday, March 27, 2021

11. The Broken Kingdoms: Book 2 of the Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

I felt I needed to dive back into some kind of fantasy after the roughness of No Beast So Fierce.  Because I had brought a big pile with me that I intended to leave here and the other remaining books were also noir or non-fiction, I forced myself to go back to The Inheritance Trilogy, despite my earlier concerns.  I'm glad I did because, though this book still got pretty godly, I found it very absorbing and entertaining.  This book takes place after the revenge of the Gods and Godlings against Bright Itempas which thus overthrows the order and power of the Amaneri and thus making the world much more interesting.

The protagonist here, Oree Shoth, is a blind artist who sells her work to pilgrims at the gate which has the best view of the giant tree that grew to take over the city of Sky when Itempas was felled.  She also has some kind of latent magical ability that allows her to see magic and to paint some kind of magic.  The story begins when she finds a body in the trash near her house, a body which turns out not to be dead.  It's some kind of mute being who seems mortal but is constantly dying and then resurrecting the next day.  In this new world, Godlings live among the humans in Sky (though not outside of the city) and while worshipped and with magical powers are also entwined in their lives and affairs.  One is murdered in an alley and Oree is the one to find it, which brings her to the attention of the Bright Order, who are kind of the local asshole stormtrooopers.  She then gets caught up in an adventure involving figuring out her strange companion and dealing with a new force capable of murdering Godlings.

This one has more action at the human and Godling level compared to the first one which is much more cosmic.  The depth of the history of the gods really shows here. It builds on the mythology of the first in an interesting way that makes you think about themes of power and religion.  Jenisin's notion of good and evil, bright vs. dark is nuanced and satisfyingly non-binary.  A god who is evil in the first book is revealed to have much more complexity to its backstory which changes your perspective on everything else.  I'm glad I pushed through my hesitation after the first one and will complete the trilogy.

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