Monday, January 20, 2014

Read-Along: The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

It's time for part 3 of the read-along of N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Kingdoms!  Questions this time were provided by Violin in a Void.  This week's section includes chapters 11-16, and the book will conclude next week.  Keep in mind that there are spoilers through chapter 16 of The Broken Kingdoms in the following discussion!

1.Oree chooses not to reveal Shiny's identity to Dateh. Did you agree with her decision? What might have happened if she'd chosen otherwise?

Yes, I think that was a good decision.  I don’t know what would have happened, but I don’t think that they would have suddenly decided to listen to Shiny.  I’m guessing they might have decided he was some kind of godling imposter, and they may have tried cutting out his heart and eating it.  I have no idea what that would do to Shiny, but maybe it would have ended up putting Itempas soul into Dateh… that would be truly horrible.

2. Madding's dead :( How do you feel about his death? What do you make of his last words to Oree?

Very, very sad!  I knew this was a possibility, since godlings had been dying and the threat of demon blood had been revealed, but I just hoped somehow that Madding would be okay in the end.  The way he died, in particular, was just devastating.  Not only is he dead, Oree has to deal with the fact that it was her blood and actions that killed him.

As for his last words: “Don’t let him use you, Oree. They never understood… too quick to judge.  You aren’t just a weapon.  I would have loved you… until…”

I wonder if Madding once had demon children of his own, who were killed in the first war.  I don’t know if he understands something special about demons, or if he simply sees them as people who deserve to live and be loved.

3. Itempas has seen what terrible things people do in his name. What do you make of Dateh's interpretation of Itempan faith? Could this help rehabilitate Itempas or will he simply see the New Lights as a delusional sect?

I think this whole situation is helping Itempas change, which, as he says, is not something he’s supposed to be able to do.  Dateh’s interpretation of the Itempan faith is actually a bit stricter than Itempas himself—they interpret everything he did as something he approves of, because why else would he do it?  I think they would be quite shocked to learn how much Itempas regrets some of his actions.

4. After Madding's death, Oree loses the will to live, except to stop the New Lights. Shiny wants to kill her because she's a demon. Do you think she'll survive the events of the novel? Is it safer to wipe out the demons?

I think her reaction to grief and guilt was very believable, and I was actually surprised at how relatively kind Itempas was to her, even though he wanted to kill her.  I think that Oree will survive in the end, somehow.  I’m not sure how just yet. It’s definitely safer for the gods if the demons are wiped out, but much safer for the humans if they are allowed to exist.  What other defense do they have against the whims of the gods?

5. Itempas shares his feelings about his actions in the God's War. Have your feelings about him changed at all?

In some ways, yes, but in others, no.  He’s still an arrogant jerk, despite his regrets.  But in a way, he is trapped by his inflexibility, as Nahadoth is controlled by his changeability, and all the godlings are affected by their affinities.  I don’t know what will happen if Itempas is able to become more compassionate.  Will he become a different person? However, I still hope he and Oree don’t end up together, in a romantic sense.

6. There's something odd about Hado. Shiny says to him "You are not quite yourself. […] Something of him lingers." Oree notes that Hado's shadow is darker than the non-magical things around him. Could he be more than just a spy, and if so, what?

I’m pretty sure I remember the answer to this from the first book, so I’m just going to keep quiet on this one.


  1. !. Now that you mention it, I wonder what would happen if Dateh ate Shiny's heart...

    2. I think Madding just sees demons as people with as much right to life as gods and humans. Another nice thing about him, *sigh* :(

    3. "they interpret everything he did as something he approves of, because why else would he do it?"
    Oh, that's a really good point. I suppose they can't imagine Itempas making a mistake or changing his mind

    5. I wonder if Itempas could stop being so inflexible. He's the god of order, and up until recently this meant he made the whole world worship him through the Arameri, with the same temples, rituals etc. But order could also mean adapting to different situations.

    1. 3. That's what I was thinking-- he's supposed to be inflexible/unchangeable, so that probably ties in to their understanding of his actions.

      5. That is an interesting idea. Maybe instead of actually changing his nature, he can change his perspective on what order is supposed to mean?

  2. An Itempas/Dateh hybrid would be terrifying indeed.

    I loved that Madding continued to see Oree as a person even on his deathbed. I hope that Shiny can reach the same conclusion before he decides to kill her.

    1. Yes, I hope so, too. I would like for Oree to survive this story!

  3. Yech! What if Dateh ate Shiny's heart and then Dateh's soul and Shiny's soul melded! OMG! that would be so messed up. So, I am glad Oree didn't mention anything.

    I think Itempas is learning the folly of 'Do as I say, not as I do' kind of rulership through Dateh's lectures. And, yes, he is changing as he is forced to think about these things and reassess his past actions.

    1. That would be really horrible... a combination of Shiny's arrogance and Dateh's cruelty?

      And yeah, maybe Itempas will make an effort to live in a way he would approve of from here on out.