And here we are at the end of The Broken Kingdoms read-along! Our host is Grace from Books Without Any Pictures, so head over there to see what everyone else had to say. Also feel free to leave your link in my comments and I’ll put you on a blog-hop list 🙂
If you’re interested, the read-along for the final book, The Kingdom of Gods, begins on 10 February, but I’ll post the full schedule later this week.
There will, of course, be SPOILERS below.
1. We finally meet T’vril in his new role as Lord Arameri. Is he what you expected?
Yes. T’vril’s a smart, organised man and I thought he deserved to be on the throne. He seems to be a good ruler, not crazy, lazy or tyrannical (like Scimina or Relad would have been) I found him a bit harsh in the way he treated Oree and when he cut out Serymn’s tongue, but it’s understandable.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was almost exclusively between gods and the world’s highest-ranking aristocrats, and the society of both books is based on hierarchy. This book is told from there perspective of a commoner. Naturally, T’vril would not treat Oree the same way he’d treat Yeine, and Oree would also perceive T’vril very differently. And of course T’vril sees her primarily as a weapon, given that demon blood has just been used to kill a bunch of godlings and almost brought the wrath of Nahadoth down on Sky/Shadow. At this point Oree presents a danger and an opportunity that needs to be dealt with so I can understand why T’vril is being so severe about it. I thought it was cruel of him to cut out Serymn’s tongue until it became clear that this prevented her from identifying Oree as a demon.
I imagine T’vril hasn’t had the easiest time as Lord Arameri either. He’s not a full blood, he was never in line for the throne, and he only got it because Yeine commanded it after overthrowing Itempas. Obviously the highest-ranking Arameri would not welcome him with open arms, and it’s probably only the magic of his sigil that prevents him from being killed by one of them. He can’t afford to be a nice guy; he has to be strict and ruthless. However, he seems to have some underlying kindness, and is very rational.
2. Oree is given a choice, to live as the Arameri’s weapon, or to die. What would you do in that position?
Erm… I don’t think I have an answer for that. The weapon choice seemed ok at first – the idea of getting a salary and living in Sky or somewhere comfortable without having to work certainly appeals. I could study, paint, work on my magic skills, and every now and then someone would take a blood sample. And I’d be easy to rescue if kidnapped or wounded.
But it’s a leash, as T’vril admits, or a “Golden Chain”, as Oree named the chapter. Being unable to leave with the possibility of being murdered remotely? No thanks. Plus, it would mean living amongst snooty Arameri, or living in relative solitude in some safe location. I’m not the most sociable person, but that sounds like a very lonely life.
It seemed like an impossible situation for Oree, so I was relieved when Itempas came up with a solution that satisfied T’vril.
3. Do you think that Oree made the right decision by sending Shiny away? How do you feel about Yeine’s role here?
As much as I didn’t want Oree and Shiny to become a couple, I liked them together. Perhaps because they didn’t suddenly jump into bed while still in Sky but gradually became intimate friends. Oree had time to come to terms with Madding’s death, and eventually having sex with Shiny just seemed like the natural thing to do.
So I was upset when Yeine came in and ruined everything to appease Nahadoth. Nahadoth seems overly cruel, acting too much, as Yeine suggests, like the evil god people believe him to be. Shiny may still be human for hundreds or thousands of years – can’t he spend a few years with Oree?
But Yeine has to balance rehabilitation with punishment. Ten years would be like a few minutes to a god as old as Nahadoth to it would seem like Itempas has hardly been punished at all yet. Leaving Oree seems a small thing compared to, for example, the way Sieh and Nahadoth were tortured and used as sex slaves. And according to book 1, Itempas can shorten his punishment if he learns “to love truly”. I just hope that forcing him to lose a chance at love and be alone again will not be detrimental to his rehabilitation. After all, the God’s War was started because of his loneliness. And as Oree says, it’s natural for humans to love, and mortal lovers may be what Itempas needs.
I think Oree made the right choice. Naturally I’d prefer her to live, and I think she’s right in her concerns about how her death might affect Shiny. I was also relieved that he understood that she sent him away only because Yeine and Nahadoth had forced her to; it eases the pain for them both.
4. What did you think of the ending of the book? Were you satisfied?
Bittersweet; every good thing has a tragic counterpart. Dateh’s defeated by the dead godlings are lost forever. I was upset that Oree lost her magic, but at least she gets to live on in freedom, even though T’vril and Yeine know she’s a demon. Yeine is content to let Oree live and might even know about the baby, but she also has to keep punishing Itempas for Nahadoth’s sake. I was sad that she had to send Shiny away, but I’m glad he realised why she was sending her away. Also, the prospect of the child is exciting – what will come from a demon/god union? Very promising for the final book. I’m not sure that forcing Oree and Shiny to part was a good idea though. So, not entirely satisfied with the ending, but I don’t think it’s meant to be that satisfying.
It was good to hear the rest of Shiny’s side of the God’s War story. His actions were still contemptible, but it gives a completely different view of his madness, and once again it’s very relatable in human terms. I also liked that his tale provides the link to Shahar Arameri. She was the child who asked Itempas to kill her father and got a knife from him instead (this story was also told in the Appendix of book 1). And then she grew up and became his mad, manipulative, murderous lover. I’d like to read a story about her actually; she sounds really fucked up and she basically created the Itempas we saw in book 1. Fitting origin for the Arameri family.
5. How did The Broken Kingdoms compare to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms? Which did you like better?
I think I prefer book 1. Several of the characters I liked in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms were quite harsh and less likeable in The Broken Kingdoms – Sieh, T’vril, Nahadoth and Yeine. I can understand the difference in the portrayal though – this book is narrated by a commoner and I know the characters would be more relatable if we saw more of them and got their stories. But I miss the ones I got to know in book 1. The Broken Kingdoms puts a bit of a damper on my nostalgia.
The first book also had a much more triumphant, satisfyingly happy ending. This one was partly happy, but also quite sad – lots of dead godlings including Madding, Oree loses her magic, and Shiny has to leave. It’s not really a fair way to judge the book, I know, but I will add that it doesn’t make the book any less good, just a bit less enjoyable.
That said, I found Oree to be a slightly more interesting character than Yeine, and I like her relationship with Madding more than Yeine’s relationship with Nahadoth. I also like learning more about the godlings and their different affinities, and the magic in general is more dynamic. Overall this is a more colourful book. Looking forward to the read-along for the final book!
– Wouldn’t there be some New Lights who know Oree is a demon? The ones who helped take her blood, for example.
– Lol, I love how Oree’s joke about saving money on firewood by sleeping with Itempas comes true.