The Broken Kingdoms
The Inheritance Trilogy #2
Published 2010 by Orbit
The Broken Kingdoms is even better than the first book, with more exciting events and characters and the wonderful voice of Oree as the narrator. A great read for anyone interested in more personal, emotional epic fantasy.
Ten years after the events of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which are still unknown to most of the population, a dead man appears in Oree’s yard. Although he never speaks, she gives him a place in her house while she goes out to the market daily to sell her statues and carvings – unique for being the work of a blind woman. But all this is normal for Oree, until someone starts murdering godlings.
The Broken Kingdoms was faster-paced and more exciting than The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Shadow is much more vivid and alive than the Arameri upper city, Sky, that was the setting of the previous book, and it most definitely showed in the writing. The Broken Kingdoms had no long stretches where nothing happened or slow introductions to the political system, which made it much more action-packed than The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.
Aside from a few really awkward transitions (which did make a little bit of sense at the end but still bothered me), Oree’s voice was completely compelling. The perspective of a blind woman was unusual, and her magic was truly fascinating, particularly because it was a secret she didn't entirely understand herself. The magic system in The Inheritance Trilogy doesn't have the carefully planned structure of that of The Wheel of Time or The Kingkiller Chronicle, but that adds a bit of mystery to the story, and there is no deus ex machina to ruin the beauty of the uncertainty.
The Inheritance Trilogy is different from your average epic fantasy in that, while its events have a huge impact on its world, the story has a much more personal feel and limited locations. There are no great quests or really much traveling at all. What changes Yeine and Oree make seem to happen almost by accident, as a byproduct of what they're actually trying to do, but in the end they always make a clear choice. This sort of style makes for an extremely absorbing read, and I'm really looking forward to the last book.
The Broken Kingdoms is similar to:
Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder