Reviewed by Jenny Barber
Oree is a blind artist who sells her work in the streets of Shadow, where the newly freed godlings make their home â€¦ a home thatâ€™s become all the more interesting as someone is killing godlings. And Shiny, a strange man she gave shelter to, has caught the interest of dangerous people who wonâ€™t be turned from their hunt. But Shinyâ€™s not the only one to have caught their interest and Oreeâ€™s going to have to dig deep to survive what theyâ€™ve got lined up for her.
Oree is a great character â€“ resourceful and compassionate, and adapts quickly to each new surprise that gets thrown at her (and the surprises do keep on coming). And as for Shiny, well, readers of Jemisinâ€™s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms wonâ€™t be surprised by the identity of Shiny, but what is a surprise is how sympathetic he becomes, to the point where some of the nicer characters from The Broken Kingdoms become unlikeable due to their treatment of him (which is totally understandable given previous events, but stillâ€¦).Â Very well played there.
On the whole, this is a lovely story, with prose that draws you in and keeps you hooked until the beautifully heartbreaking ending â€“ except thereâ€™s that last final twist. Itâ€™s a personal thing, I think, and I do understand the need to add in some vague up-note after everything that went before, but that particular thing is the kind of end-twist Iâ€™ve read too many times before and it feels a bit clichÃ© here. But donâ€™t let that put you off, as otherwise The Broken Kingdoms is gorgeous.