cover image The Broken Kingdoms

The Broken Kingdoms

N.K. Jemisin, Orbit, $13.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-04396-0

New authors often falter when following up on a noteworthy debut, but Jemisin proves more than up to the challenge. A decade after the events of March 2010's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, artist Oree, blind to reality but able to see magic, sells trinkets to tourists in Sky, a city filled with supernatural entities and happenings in a world slowly emerging from doctrinaire authoritarianism. After she discovers the corpse of a murdered godling, Oree is pursued both by fanatic religious officials looking for scapegoats and by the ruthless conspirators behind the murder. Hesitant, impoverished Oree is very different from Jemisin's previous heroine, politician–princess Yeine, and she proves just as compelling as she investigates the murder and her own mysterious heritage. Returning fans will especially appreciate certain details, but this novel stands on its own and is worth reading purely for its own strengths. (Nov.)