The Broken Kingdoms read-along part 2

The Broken KingdomsI’m really enjoying this book, and I find myself completely invested in Oree and Madding’s relationship, while getting quite anxious about the fates of the characters. So let me get on with today’s section, so I can get back to reading. Part 2 covers chapters 5-10 and our host is Susan from Dab of Darkness. Head over to her blog to leave your link and hop through the other posts.

Once again, I’ve put spoilers for book 1 in white text. However, since we’re halfway through the book now, spoilers for The Broken Kingdoms will be plentiful.


1) We learned some tidbits about Oree’s father in this section. Who, or what, do you think he was and what do you think of the suspicions about mob madness that Lady Serymn brought up?
Oree’s father says that she uses paint to open a way to the power within her. I assume that his singing does the same for him with sound. I think he and Oree are probably part demon (see question 5).

Damn Serymn. I know she’s trying to manipulate Oree, but her argument about Nahadoth influencing the chaos and anger of a mob makes sense. It fits in perfectly with Jemisin’s complex characters and the Nahadoth we met in book 1. I liked him a lot, but he was – and probably still is – very dangerous.

Oree only knows him as an evil being, so I hope she’s not persuaded that killing him would be right or acceptable. But she knows that Shiny loves him. And at least it’s common knowledge that the destruction of Maroland was the Arameri’s fault. Anyway, Madding told her that the world would be destroyed if one of the Three died; I hope she hasn’t forgotten this.


2) Shiny has some stern views about the relationship between Oree and Madding. What do you think of him testing her love for Madding? Do you think she said yes to Madding for the right reasons?
Shiny’s attitude makes perfect sense in terms of [his feelings about Nahadoth, as described in book 1. In that read-along I mentioned that Itempas was so insanely jealous and monogamous that he chose to murder Enefa, start the God’s War, and then enslave Nahadoth and the other Enefadeh for thousands of years rather than share Nahadoth. His idea of a perfect world is to be alone in the universe with Nahadoth].

Clearly, he can’t even fathom the idea of loving and lusting after more than one person, and this is a major part of what makes him so dangerous and dysfunctional. I was worried for a moment that Oree would take his criticisms to heart, but she’s not some small-minded Itempan – she’s strong-willed, she can think for herself, and understands the complexities of love. Unlike Itempas.

Did Oree choose to stay with Madding for the right reasons? Well I don’t think she has the luxury of acting according to the right reasons at the moment, or if she can think in terms of right and wrong reasons at all. I don’t see anything wrong with her reasons – caring about Madding, wanting to protect him, wanting to protect herself, wanting to be free and independent, wanting to be safe. The problem is that she can’t have all of those things at once.

I think Shiny’s behaviour makes her feel more resolute about her love for Madding, rather than guilt-tripping her into staying. She stays because she cares about him and the anguish he’s suffering. And since they’re both in danger anyway, being together will bring them some comfort. Oree is sacrificing her independence, but it’s her choice, and she believes Madding understands the significance of that choice.  At any rate, I was happy that she made that decision because I just love them as a couple, and I wanted them to be able to stay together.

Of course, having the holes open up shortly after changed everything.


3) The House of the Risen Sun has some followers with skills. What do you think of the holes, The Empty, and what has happened to Oree’s friends, both mortal and immortal? Shiny?
Have any of you ever experienced sleep paralysis? It’s happened to me a few times in my life. I sleep too much and then find myself awake, but unable to move or speak. It’s horrible, like having your mind trapped in a dead body, so I make what feels like a huge mental and physical effort to move or make a sound. It’s extremely difficult and quite scary; I’d going insane if stuck like that (although it’s very effective at making me get my lazy ass out of bed once the paralysis is over).

I imagine that the Empty is an even more torturous version of that, and Oree’s attempt to resist by creating a space she can perceive requires the same kind of mental effort it takes to throw yourself out of sleep paralysis.

It’s scary to know that Dateh has such power and that the godlings are trapped in The Empty; I hope they have the fortitude to withstand it. I’m particularly concerned about Madding. Is Shiny in there too? The New Lights don’t know he’s Itempas do they? In which case they’re torturing their own god. I’m still enjoying the irony rather than feeling sorry for him.


4) Are the ambitious plans of the House of the Risen Sun justified? Noble? Or is there a particular follower you already want to see tossed into The Empty for a spell?
I can understand why they see Nahadoth as a threat. They’re don’t have all the information (like the fact that killing one of the Three would destroy the world), Nahadoth has a frightening reputation, and reasons to be very very angry. But I don’t think murdering him is a good idea. If they fail, he’ll be even angrier. If they kill him, the Gray Lady might take revenge. It seems like an overambitious plan where success might be just as bad or even worse than failure.

Why not try appealing to the Gray Lady? They don’t have to worship her, just call to her and discuss the issue. On the other hand, I guess killing Nahadoth is also their attempt to help Itempas reclaim power, making them more powerful in the process. Oh, the irony. Nahadoth is the only thing Itempas loves, and his worshippers want to murder him. Will this help Itempas understand what he’s done? How he’s spread hatred and intolerance throughout the world?

I can’t stand the New Lights. I’d toss them all into the Empty, including that snotty little initiate Jont. Some people deserve a taste of the religious beliefs they force on others.


5) Lord Dateh, the Nypri, requested a bit of Oree’s blood for study. What do think he will do with it and what part do you think the House of the Risen Sun hopes Oree to play in their plans?
Oree explained that humans acquired through the demons – the children of gods and mortals, who then mated with humans. The flip side is that mortal blood brought death – all the demons were mortal. And [the blood of demons was fatal to the gods, which is why they were all hunted down and killed, and why Itempas kept one aside to poison Enefa. But a few probably survived, or at least their bloodlines trickled through the general human population.] Since Oree has such powerful magical abilities, she’s probably part demon. [Which means her blood could be used to poison gods and godlings, and the New Lights could use it to kill Nahadoth.]



 – I absolutely love Oree and Madding. That one scene in his house was even hotter than the scenes with [Yeine and Nahadoth, especially since the sex can just be fun, casual and loving rather than being potentially fatal and destroying all the furniture]. They also have quite an unusual interracial relationship, not just because it’s between a human and a godling, but because Oree’s black and, in her magical sight, Madding is a kind of greenish sapphire colour.

– I thought it was funny that Madding complained that Oree’s bed gives him a bad back. Can an immortal godling have a bad back? Mind you, he’d probably let himself have a bad back as part of his way of playing at being human.


“[…]they follow the creed of the Bright: that which disturbs the order of society must be eliminated, regardless of whether it caused the disturbance.” She rolled her eyes. “You’d think they’d get tired of parroting Itempas and start thinking for themselves after two thousand years.”
I love this assessment of the Itempan’s rigid, narrow-minded faith. I think it also functions as a criticism of the monotheisms in our world. There are plenty of parallels between Itempas and the Christian/Muslim/Jewish god – he’s very jealous, very petty worshipping any other god was often met with persecution. And today, loads of people stick blindly to ancient rules made up by people from societies that we can barely even conceive of any more.


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9 thoughts on “The Broken Kingdoms read-along part 2

  1. Pingback: N.K. Jemisin: The Broken Kingdoms read-along #2 | All I am - a redhead

  2. 2. I love them as a couple, too! I thought of it in terms of Oree prioritizing what she wanted, and sharing her life with Madding won out. I mean, in a relationship, both people have to compromise, and Madding can’t leave Shadow.

    5. I completely forgot that 1st book spoiler detail about demons. That seems to make some things more clear.

  3. I agree with you, I think they are seriously underestimating the Gray Lady – she has a lot of vengeance to spare for people trying to hurt any of her children or Nahadoth. Even Shiny.

    I’m glad we’re agreed that the whole order should be tossed into the Empty. 😉

    • They probably think that Itempas will just be able to control everyone once Nahadoth is out of the way. They don’t know he’s powerless in a mortal body. Still, it seems stupid to have a bunch of gods and godlings wanting revenge.

  4. I get sleep paralysis rather frequently (generally at least once a month), and it scares me senseless every time. If the Empty is anything like it, then that’s even more incentive to toss the whole order there. 😛

    • Once a month? That’s rough 😦 I imagine the Empty is like that because you can’t feel any part of your body, and all your other senses are useless because there’s nothing to feel. It must be disturbing not to have any sensory input at all.

  5. Good points about Itempas and his idea of love – alone in the universe with a certain someone. He probably doesn’t even contemplate the myriad ways to love someone – platonic, sexual, etc. So how could he understand love and lust intertwining for more than 1 being, at the same time.

    I haven’t experienced sleep paralysis. Wow! I will have to keep that in mind should I ever find myself in that situation. And I totally agree with you – if Itempas is stuck in the Empty courtesy of The Risen Sun, it is funny. And I look forward to the cultists finding this out right before Itempas turns them into ash.

    I also love Madding and Oree enjoying each other. Relaxed, playful, healing. The love scenes from last book were great, but for different reasons. Oree and Madding are friends, not just one time lovers and sort of allies (at least temporary).

    • Sleep paralysis is horrible! I hope you never have to experience it.Even though it doesn’t last that long, it’s very disturbing.

      I’d love to know what Itempas would do to the cultists if he had the power.

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