The Broken Kingdoms Read Along Part IV

Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.
Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.

Welcome Everyone! this week begins the read along for Book 2 in N. K. Jemisin’s The Inheritance Trilogy. Anyone is welcome to join us and this trilogy lends easily to popping in when you like as each book is a stand alone story set in the same world, a mosaic trilogy I think is the term. So here is the Schedule if you want to play!

Grace from Books Without Any Pictures  is our host this week, so make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone else thought. This week we covered Chapter 17 to the End.

The End! I so enjoyed this book and the read along. A big thanks to all those who joined it. I loved revisiting this book and am looking forward to Book 3.

Spoilers run free below!

1.  We finally meet T’vril in his new role as Lord Arameri.  Is he what you expected?

I expected T’vril to be a strong ruler. How could he not be and still be in power all these years later, even with the Grey Lady’s blessing on him? I was hoping he would be fair. And I guess he was, brutally. He came up with a solution to the demon quandary he was handed, even though the solution was not an agreeable one to Oree. He was also brutal, but fair, to Lady Serymn.

The only thing that struck me as sneaky was not being up front about the demon blood they recovered from tearing about the House of the Risen Sun. Still, he might have felt he was under no obligation to tell Oree this if it wasn’t very apparent whose blood (Dateh’s or Oree’s) it was originally. Every ruler needs their secrets.

2.  Oree is given a choice, to live as the Arameri’s weapon, or to die.  What would you do in that position?

While there is life, there is still hope. If she died, she could not affect the Arameri or godlings any more. Alive, she could influence one or both, maybe find a way to taint her own blood so it was no longer usable. Perhaps destroy the cache of blood the Arameri held, counter the sigil, and disappear forever. So, yeah, I would go for life at that point.

3.  Do you think that Oree made the right decision by sending Shiny away?  How do you feel about Yeine’s role here?

Yes, Oree made the tough, right decision. This way, all 3 get to live (Oree, her little surprise, and Shiny). If she had chosen to die, it would have been 2 deaths and Shiny would have known that Nahadoth and Yeine had killed not only his lover, but his child. I think that might have broken open another Gods’ War.

But Yeine had to keep Nahadoth in check, and I think that was tough. Nahadoth went there for blood. Yeine had to change Nahadoth’s mind in small degrees instead of just giving him a slap and saying, ‘No, we aren’t killing Shiny’s lover today. go find your chew toy!’. So I think Yeine did a great job of keeping that all balanced and everyone alive.

And Shiny knows. He knows Yeine and Nahadoth were there and that he has to leave to keep Oree and her little bun alive. He’s protecting them by leaving and walking the Earth, usually alone, occasionally not.

4.  What did you think of the ending of the book?  Were you satisfied?

Yes, I was happy with the ending. Dateh was defeated. Lady Serymn made a God’s chew toy. T’vril still in power. The godlings freed to wander the Earth, not just Shadow. Oree and Shiny had their year together and a night of love. Nice, hot love. 🙂

So, yeah, I liked the ending and what it may portend for Book 3.

5.  How did The Broken Kingdoms compare to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms?  Which did you like better?

Such a tough question! I think I will go with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, because it introduced me to the world. I have strong feelings for it because it wowed me. Book 2, I already know the world so I have to rely on the characters and plot to wow me (which they did). But Book1 wowed me with all 3 (plot, characters, & setting).

Don’t get me wrong, I love Book 2 also. Both books (and I suspect Book 3 will too) have a permanent place on my book shelf.

I really like that such an in-depth story was told by a blind character. With so many of the characters, their features can be imagined any way I wish, which I think let’s the reader have a more personal relationship with the book. How do you picture the features of Oree’s friends? Do they look a little like some of your friends? And how did you picture the features of the Dateh? Lady Serymn? Do they look a little like your enemies?

Oree’s ‘handicap’ wasn’t the only handicap in the story. Shiny’s lack of compassion handicapped him. Book 2 was clever in that way and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Other Tidbits:

Wow! Hado is more power-hungry than I thought. On the other hand, he spent the first 2000 years of his life (it was 2000 right?) without any control of his life, his body. So, I can see how he has a deep need for power ever since Yeine set him free.

Shiny had an opportunity to kill Oree, to remove her demon blood threat. Instead, he held onto her and told her one of his deepest shames. That was a very moving scenes.

Dateh! I think we finally know why Oree always saw the extra arms on him when he moved. They were shadows of the godlings’ souls he had ingested. So glad Oree and Itempas could put an end to him.

The Broken Kingdoms Read Along Part III

Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.
Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.

Welcome Everyone! this week begins the read along for Book 2 in N. K. Jemisin’s The Inheritance Trilogy. Anyone is welcome to join us and this trilogy lends easily to popping in when you like as each book is a stand alone story set in the same world, a mosaic trilogy I think is the term. So here is the Schedule if you want to play!

Lauren from Violin in a Void is our host this week, so make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone else thought. This week we covered Chapters 11-16.

Spoilers run free below!

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? 

I think she was right to withhold this info. Even though it was a big unknown whether Shiny could and would help her, she needed every possible out available. And there is also the fact that Dateh and crew would have demanded proof. How would they get that proof? Would Oree have shared that he can only act up for save a mortal? If Dateh wanted to test that, would he have had Oree tortured to observe Shiny and see if glowed? Also, would Dateh hold to the scripture, the scripture that says Itempas cannot lie…..and we know that Shiny can. So, too many unknowns. I don’t think Dateh would have believed Oree but he might have enjoyed testing the ‘delusion’ just to break Oree’s spirit a little more.

 

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

Ah! NK Jemisin pulled at my heart strings with this one. Madding had pushed Oree away int he past because he didn’t want to experience the pain of her aging and dying. Now he is the one to die in her arms…..by her poisonous blood. I think his last words, said without hate and with love, became a source of strength to Oree. He did not blame her for his ending. I hope he got to take out a few Lights before he passed, though since Oree cannot see, it was unclear if he did or not.

 

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?

Dateh compares the choice of the Gods to kill off some of their offspring (the demons) in order to secure their lives to his own plans. I think he wants a godhood and he sees this as the closest thing he’ll ever get to it. He also chatted about how Itempas himself banished the godlings from this realm and now that Itempas is ‘indisposed’ the godlings has acted up like naughty children and encroached on this realm. Of course, Dateh wants to punish them by banishing them or killing them off. Once again comparing himself to a god and making god-like decisions that affect a whole world.

I think Shiny paying witness to that discussion, especially after his lengthy stay in the Empty, definitely gave him something to think about. He has been one of those parents to the world that says, do as I tell you, not as I do. Now he is seeing that people see him as the most efficient killer and they want to emulate him, not merely serve him.

 

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?

Well, I remember the ending, so I won’t give away how it does end. I will say that Oree has a pair of brass balls. Not only is she willing to die if it reduces the forthcoming destruction by the Lights, but she was also willing to give up an arm to Lil just to get word to the Grey Lady. That takes guts. But it also means that Oree may sooner or later give up her life to end the Lights.

Well, the Big Three tried to wipe out all the demons ages ago and obviously that didn’t last. Hopefully, they will see that and try something else this time. Also, even if they got every single demon, who’s to say the godlings wouldn’t make more? No, the Big 3, Godlings, and Demons all need to sit down over raspberry tea and chat this all out and hammer out some simple rules, like not making blood popsicles and leaving them in the freezer without proper markings to indicate Demon’s Blood or Godling’s Blood, etc.

 

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

Itempas says that he is incapable of change, but in just the 3/4 of the book we have seen him, he has changed a little. He’s taken on menial chores like cooking for Oree, lived in a crate from time to time, asked Oree for her company, and also helped with her little suicidal nose-dive plan even when he didn’t like it because it was running away from combat instead of starting it.

If Itempas can change, then I guess my feelings can change too. These little things do not make up for all the thousands of years of torment he put others through, all the hundreds (thousands?) of demons he destroyed. But perhaps his regret, coupled with long-term change and effort will earn him a place back in the pantheon eventually.

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?

‘Something of him lingers’ and Oree sees him as a dark shape. I think this is Naha, the Naha who was separated by Yeine and given a real life, free of Nahadoth. Very interesting that he chooses to spy for T’vril Arameri. I forget how things turn out in this, as it’s been too long since I read the book last, but I think Oree and Shiny are going to be OK with Hado and T’vril.

Other Tidbits:

Painting on the wood floor with cheese….It’s something you can do when you are a little kid and when you are a delinquent oldster. But try it when you are fully functioning grownup and all hell breaks loose!

Dateh and his little sneaky listening holes of Empty! That asshole!

Did anyone else have to ponder that scene where Shiny is finally returned to Oree and he wakes up. He needs her, first ordering her to stay, and then asking? I think the Empty was incredibly hard on him and perhaps he realized just how much even he needs some sort of daily contact with people and the world.

I love Lil! Daughter of Nahadoth and Itempas. Complete badass!

The Broken Kingdoms Read Along Part II

Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.
Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.

Welcome Everyone! this week begins the read along for Book 2 in N. K. Jemisin’s The Inheritance Trilogy. Anyone is welcome to join us and this trilogy lends easily to popping in when you like as each book is a stand alone story set in the same world, a mosaic trilogy I think is the term. So here is the Schedule if you want to play!

This week we covered Chapters 5-10. This week I am your host, so please leave a link in the comments to your post so we can all visit one another.

Spoilers run free below!

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?

I think Oree’s father was either a godling in hiding (since godlings weren’t allowed in the mortal realm at that time, or the offspring of a godling and mortal – a demon. Of course, either way, it makes Oree a demon. I don’t think she has put that all together yet.

As to the mob madness, well, even if Nahadoth tipped the scale, the underlying suspicions and fears and lack of control and open-mindedness was already there. I would still look towards all those people that Oree grew up knowing, and how they killed a peaceful man.

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, Shiny, Shiny….Dork. This guy really doesn’t get mortals and all the convoluted feelings we can have other living beings. Maybe because we live such short lives, we have to cram all those feelings into too short a span of years. And the immortals have all this time to explore each feeling in depth and rarely have to experience more than 2 or 3 at a time.

Oh, and I didn’t like him being forceful about it. He’s a god, and even without that, he’s a formidable man in strength of limb and character. If she had fought him from the start, how many injuries would she have suffered? But he probably didn’t figure in her natural mortal fragility, which is something Oree definitely calculated.

And with that, no, I don’t think she said Yes to Madding for the right reasons. She does care for him, would have said yes in a heartbeat 2 weeks ago, when she was still free to bring in her own income. But now she is dependent on the goodness of him as a friend. And perhaps, just perhaps, she feels the need to prove something to herself after that little kiss with Shiny.

Or she is planning on a threesome, as that is not unheard of in her world. 😉

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?

Wow! This is a messed up situation. The House of the Risen Sun has more powers and skills and resources than anything, other than the Arameri and the Order, that Oree has heard of. I wonder how they have managed to stay off the radar of the both the Arameri and the Order for so long? It looks like they have at least one powerful Scrivener (Dateh, the Nypri). The Empty is seriously a messed up limbo of a place. Oree almost lost her mind in it. Part of me hopes that her friends are merely trapped in the Empty instead of dead. But being stuck in the Empty for so long can not be good for them.

As for Shiny, I think the House of the Risen Sun has completely underestimated him. Wherever he is trapped, I hope he kills himself and rises again and comes to help Oree. That last sentence is a little odd…..a little messed up. But you all know what I mean.

4) Are the ambitious plans of the House of the Risen Sun justified? Noble? Or is there a particular follower you already want to seen tossed into The Empty for a spell?

No! These guys are whack jobs and the ‘rulers’ of the House of the Risen Sun are definitely out for power. Let’s see, the list for the Empty. Let’s assume space is limited, so let’s start with Hado, then the Nypri, Lady Serymn, and what’s her name who took Oree’s blood. The serving lass who lead her to the baths may simply get off with a switching and trash duty in Shadow for a year.

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?

Well, if the Nypri suspects that Oree is a demon, then her blood might be a mild narcotic, like the godlings’ blood. But as a scrivener, he might be up to more sinister things. Perhaps there is some way to control or track her through just her blood.

We know that Oree can open gateways. Maybe the House of the Risen Sun wants to use her to open some gateway that will banish Nahadoth from their world, or trap him.

Other Tidbits:

How cool is Madding’s house? All those pools, no doors, huge pile of pillows for a bed. So lush. And those love scenes between Madding and Oree were so lovely.

I will say that the physical mansion that the House of the Risen Sun lives in, attached to the tree, sounds amazing!

At the very end of this section, we learn that Oree now believes she has a way out. But it sounds dangerous, and messy. I am glad that she is going to give herself a day or two to conserve her strength before she tries.

My Fellow Godlings:

Books Without Any Pictures

Violin in a Void

Am I Am – A Redhead

Tethyan Books

The Broken Kingdoms Read Along Part I

Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.
Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.

Welcome Everyone! this week begins the read along for Book 2 in N. K. Jemisin’s The Inheritance Trilogy. Anyone is welcome to join us and this trilogy lends easily to popping in when you like as each book is a stand alone story set in the same world, a mosaic trilogy I think is the term. So here is the Schedule if you want to play!

This week we covered the first 96 pages (Prologue – Chapter4) and Grace from Books Without Any Pictures is our host. So make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone thought.

Spoilers run free below!

1.  What do you think so far of Oree Shoth?  Do you like her as much as Yeine?

I like Oree quite a bit. She is very different from Yeine, but at her core, she is very comfortable with herself. Yeine at the beginning of Book 1 was still searching for answers about who her parents were and their lives before she was born. Oree in Book 2 doesn’t start with that kind of conflict.

I also like her very practical take towards relationships. Vuroy and his triple and the light flirting with Oree, who isn’t interested in anything more than that if she can’t enjoy some real sweetness.

2.  Sky is now referred to by its inhabitants as Shadow, and we get to see the city from the perspective of the commoners rather than the ruling Arameri.  What do you think of the book’s setting?

I love this! It is so complicated and messy. Not to say that the Arameri weren’t complicated and messy, they just took pains to 1) hide it and 2) ignore it if it couldn’t be hidden. Nope, things are right out there for the commoners living their lives.

As an example, I will point to the pilgrim family who decided to have a wee in the magicked alley…..and found out about the teleportation spell that is triggered by even partial disrobing. Haha!

3.  The gods play a much different role in this book than in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and spend their time interacting with the people of Sky/Shadow.  What do you think of the gods and godlings that we’ve met thus far?  Who are your favorites?

Ah, this is a hard one. Of course Madding is an interesting one. But then there is Shiny. Now if you have guessed who Shiny really is, you know he probably doesn’t count as a godling. So I will go with Madding for now. And poor Role! She must have been special in many ways to have Shiny and the godlings in tears and anger at her demise.

4.  Any predictions on who or what could be killing the godlings?

This is a reread for me and I think I remember the answer to this question. But when I first read it, I had no clue. I really thought there must have been either a poisoned weapon involved or some sort of magick-draining weapon.

As to why, I remember thinking it was probably a group of people who were fanatically dedicated to 1 or all 3 of the gods and felt the godlings stole glory, and worshipers, from them.

5.  For everyone who read the last book, Shiny’s identity should be relatively easy to guess, even though it hasn’t been explicitly stated yet.  Do you think his punishment is suiting, or is it too much?  Is there any chance he’ll come out of this as a normal person?  How do you think Oree will react when she finds out?

Yes, his punishment is suiting, but I am basing this on my knowledge of how this book ends. But even without that, he is not as he once was. Oree found him in a muck bin! And then it must have been a big blow to his ego to be taken care of by a blind artist, right? She couldn’t afford new clothes for him, they eat the most basic of food, and he has to take on odd jobs throughout the neighborhood to try to pay for his room and board. His punishment was solely about vengeance, but to also teach him compassion. And I think Oree is doing a great job of that.

Will he come out a normal person? Well, let’s say that a normal, middle-aged person has some life scars, some quirks, baggage. So, yes, he’s going to have those things for sure.

Oree seems able to take the punches of life and make the best of it. So I think she will be a bit surprised, but will then give herself a mental shake and think of Shiny in all his earthly forms – like the muck bin. Then she’ll be cool with it.

Other Tidbits:

Cool ‘deformed’ eyes. eh? I love the cover for this book, but I kind of wish they had added just a little more to reflect those eyes.

Shiny taking on the Itempas privet! It’s nice to see that he can be protective of his friends. And against the Itempas priests!

I love Oree description of working in her mother’s garden, and being able to tell certain plants apart. Sometimes when I garden, I have to use more than just visual cues to tell plants apart, so I found this little section quite amusing.

2014: What’s Next?

Here is an artsy wool rug. Sky Stones - because you have to name such pieces something.
Here is an artsy wool rug. Sky Stones – because you have to name such pieces something.

2013 was an extremely busy year for me, so some of my book commitments fell to the wayside. I had ankle surgery in February and that took forever to heal enough to be fully mobile. My man took an EMT course over the summer, while continuing to work 40 hours/week, and hopefully soon he will be licensed (still waiting on the ambulance ride alongs to be scheduled). Several small, intense events also happened over the summer and having them all stacked up like that took a toll. Then there was cubicle land. Yep. The office. I saw myself going down the path that leads to Dickhood and I decided I didn’t want to be just another disgruntled employee who was spending every ounce of concentration trying to hide it. I was tired of listening to my coworkers cry at work and my managers being yanked around by yet more managers. So, I looked around at what else I could do and I spotted a loom and weaving supplies. Yeah. You didn’t see that plot twist coming, did you? So on top of all the summer madness, I started a home business (Woven Hearth) while still employed at the the Cubicle Dungeon. Craziness.

In October I put in my 2 weeks notice, and my last day at the Dungeon was Halloween. It’s always been my favorite holiday, and now I see it in a liberating light also.

Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

What does all this babbling mean about my reading life? Well, now I have a full-time job where I listen to audiobooks all day while weaving. Hooray! So I am tearing through those like Granny Margaret tears through pantyhose (don’t ask).

I also took up free-lance editing. I love this side job. I love being paid to take apart (politely, always politely) someone’s work. I love double checking their facts. Do herons really nest on the Nile banks in summer? What kind of trade was going on in 1580s Europe? If she’s holding a knife and a gun, where do they end up when she lunges to strangle the good guy?

You get the idea. But the other side of that shiny coin is that I now have difficulty reading ANYTHING without mentally editing it. My eyeball reading has decreased even as my audiobook listening has increased. So I am trying to get my eyeball reading groove back. Hence, the pileup of review ebooks that still need reading.

As many of you already know, I will be participating in Little Red Reviewer’s Vintage SF and in Stainless Steel Droppings’ Science Fiction Experience 2014. The Wheel of Time read along is ongoing (and lots of fun!). We’re just starting Book 7, A Crown of Swords. Also, for 10 glorious weeks we will be dissecting Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings in a read along cooked up by On Starships & Dragonwings and myself. I’ll also be participating in the February The Book of Apex Anthology blog tour organized by Little Red Reviewer. Starting up next week is the continued read a long of N. K. Jemisin’s The Inheritance trilogy with Book 2, The Broken Kingdoms with Books Without Any Pictures and Violin in a Void. I also have about dozen books from last year to review so that I am all caught up. Beyond that, we’ll see what happens.

HowellSummersKeplersDozenThere were so many books and authors I didn’t get to last year, so they role over to this year. David Lee Summers still has plenty of books for me to explore. Jacqueline Carey has put out one or two books in the YA genre. Of course, Brandon Sanderson‘s sequel to The Way of Kings will be out in March (Words of Radiance). I’ve been meaning to read Jay Kristoff for 2 years now. James Maxey, I’m an ass for not having listened to Bitterwood yet. Kick me in the britches if we ever meet. Since listening to Wil Wheaton read John Scalzi‘s Redshirts, I want to read Wheaton’s book, Just a Geek, and also more Scalzi. I love Mary Roach‘s investigative reporter books and I NEED, yes it is a need, to read her latest, Gulp. I’m feeling a deep, deep need to reread The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and to follow that with reading Wise Man’s Fear (which I haven’t read yet). I also need something dark, magical, and WWII, which means Ian Tregillis and his Milkweed Triptych series.

MaxeyGreatshadowHeldigYou get the point. I will be foregoing sleep.

What’s on your reading goals for 2014?

TregillisBitterSeeds

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Read Along Part IV

Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.
Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.

Here we are folks, at the end of another great read along. My cohosts have been awesome, all the wonderful folks participating have been awesome! And in case you want the awesome to continue, we’re planning a read along of Book 2.

Lauren from Violin in a Void is our host this week, so make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone thought of this section. Chapter 23 to the End was covered in this week’s section. Spoilers reside below!

1. Yeine shows us the meaning of esui when she summons Nahadoth, makes an offering of herself, and asks him to make love to her like the god he is. What did you think of her decision and the scenes that followed? Cosmic sex or verging on comic? What importance does sex have for their relationship?

I think Yeine wanted some control over her life, and one of the last decisions left to her was whether or not to risk taking pleasure from Nahadoth. So she plunged in, requested his time and skills politely, and it worked out for both of them.

Nahadoth is a god and Yeine houses a goddess’s soul, so it makes sense that their sexual activities would take on a bigger, more celestial backdrop. Plus I am assuming that Nahadoth is skilled, even if Yeine is not. I found the aftermath – everyone’s surprised reactions to Yeine’s continued existence – comical. I even found Naha’s bathing of unconscious Yeine to be sweet. Yeine seems to be one of those people that brings out the good in those around her, even if it has to dragged kicking and screaming to the forefront.

Nahadoth has been enslaved and mistreated for thousands of years, and I think Yeine’s simple request and him holding back on his violent, destructive nature is a step in the direction of healing for him. Cue the Marvin Gaye and Sexual Healing:

2. Relad makes a last-minute play for succession by offering to help the Darre. Are you satisfied with his role in this book or do you think he should have had more of a presence? What do you think of his strategy to get Yeine to choose him over Scimina?

Interesting question. Until I read it, I had not really thought too much about Relad. He had a limited role, with hints of more going on (like his personal servants all resembling his sister, etc.). But now that I am thinking about Relad, yeah, I would have liked to know more about him. But it’s not like Yeine has been slacking, lying around in her rooms eating elegant food, and reading the latest gossip rags. She’s been too busy to dig further into his life, and hence we the readers don’t get to know him further.

Relad was obviously desperate to offer Yeine this trade. Even if things did fall out as he wished them to, it would have only bought him a little time. A few days to a  few weeks. Scimina is not the type to sit back and let Relad rule.

3. The final chapters show us more of Dekarta’s character than the rest of the book. How do you feel about him now, knowing the truth of his motives and of Kinneth’s death?

On the surface, he is an easy character to hate. But then I look at all the twisted shit Yeine has been put through since arriving at Sky. The whole culture is built on twisted selfishness, and hence, breeds twisted selfishness. I have to wonder what kind of crap Dekarta went through growing up to make him the beast of man he is.

And I was a little sad for him too. He genuinely cared for another being, his own daughter, but not enough to spare her the Sky lifestyle by packing it all up with Kinneth’s mother and moving away.

4. The Succession Ceremony: Absolutely nothing turns out the way anyone thought it would. Did any of it match your expectations? What are your thoughts on what happened?

Yes! That’s it in a nutshell.

Oh, I know this is a reread for me, but I felt the same way as when I read it the first time. I really love that shit just doesn’t go according to plan for anyone. Yeine dies in a way, but continues on; Dekarta doesn’t get to die, laying it down for that eternal rest, though he will soon enough; Relad was so very hopeful that he wouldn’t be killed at the ceremony, or shortly there after; Scimina the witch didn’t get what she wanted, at all. None of the gods saw it coming, how it all went down.

Yeah, it was epic and great.

5. We finally meet Itempas, a mad god whose overpowering love and hate caused all this suffering. What did you think of him?

OK, let’s get out that big fat library that at least one older relative has sitting on a shelf collecting dust, which never gets used except for the holiday Scrabble game. Let’s thump it on the table, and flip to the Es. OK, not look up the word, ‘egotistical’. OK, got it? Now, do you see a lovely picture of Itempas? Perhaps it is just his name spelled out.

Now, I won’t tell you all what to do, but personally, I am going to deface my gran’s big fat dictionary by cutting that entry out and mailing it to Itempas. Yeah.

Wow. Itempas is an ass in so many ways. His assumptions that he was in charge, that his word was law, etc  – huge ego.

6. As a goddess, Yeine makes some dramatic decisions and changes, like altering Sky, killing Kurue, and trapping Itempas in mortal form. How do you feel about this new goddess-Yeine? Would you have down anything differently?

Overall, I was very satisfied with goddess-Yeine. She’s a mix of Yeine and Enefa, yet neither. She’s something new, something strong, something that won’t compromise once she has decided something must be. Hence the death of Kurue, which I was a little saddened by, mostly because her name is so cool to say. I loved that Sky Palace is no longer this lifeless man-made structure but it now something living.

And Itempas. He’s going to have to walk the Earth for a long time to correct all his wrongs…..or find true love. And I loved Yeine’s reaction to Itempas’s assumption that he must win her love – she doesn’t need his love. Know, he must win the love of someone who has never loved him, never hated him. I think this will be much harder.

7. Wrapping up: What did you think of the book as a whole? Any loose ends you’d like tied up? How might the world be changed by these events? Will you read the next book to find out?

I loved the book, even the second time through dissecting it with other savvy readers. I would like to see how the new goddess settles into her role among the gods. And now that the head of the Arameri snake has been cut off, what will happen to palace – abandoned? public gardens? And what will happen to the hundred thousand kingdoms?

I’ll definitely be reading the next book as I am part of the planned read along.

Other Tidbits:

Anyone else like the idea of Scimina on a leash to Nahadoth? 😉

And what about Naha? What will he do with his life, and body, that are separate from Nahadoth?

The Broken Kingdoms Read Along: The Schedule

Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.
Chupacabra sacked out on the bed.

Hooray! We will be continuing our dissection of N. K. Jemisin‘s The Inheritance Trilogy. With The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms wrapping up next Monday, I am most pleased to announce the schedule for Book 2 in the series. I will be joined by Grace from Books Without Any Pictures and Lauren from Violin in a Void. This trilogy is a fractured or composite trilogy, meaning that each book is a story told from a different character. Hence, you can read any book in the trilogy without having read the others (though they are so awesome I think you would find it hard not to read the entire trilogy!).

The Broken Kingdoms – 396 pages
Week 1 Prologue – Chapter 4 (96 pages) Jan. 6th Books Without Any Pictures
Week 2 Chapters 5-10 (105 pages) Jan. 13th Dab of Darkness
Week 3 Chapters 11-16 (98 pages) Jan. 20th Violin in a Void
Week 4 Chapter 17 – END (96 pages) Jan. 27th Books without Any Pictures

Also, here is the schedule for Book 3, but I will throw up a reminder post as we near the start date.

The Kingdom of Gods – 575 pages
Week 1 Prologue – Chapter 4 (104 pages) Feb. 10th Dab of Darkness
Week 2 Chapters 5-10 (115 pages) Feb. 17th Violin in a Void
Week 3 Chapters 11-13 (119 pages) Feb. 24th Books Without Any Pictures
Week 4 Chapters 14-17 (117 pages) March 3rd Dab of Darkness
Week 5 Chapter 18 – END (116 pages) March 10th Violin in a Void

One of the few times Smudge has willingly held still for her photo.
One of the few times Smudge has willingly held still for her photo.

If you’d like to join us, please do! Leave me a comment or email me directly (nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com) so we can put you on the list to receive the discussion questions a few days before post date. And if you think you want to be even more a part of madness and cohost, I’m willing to give up one or two of my dates – the more the merrier! Just leave a comment or email.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Read Along Part III

Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.
Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.

Welcome back everyone! Little Red Reviewer is our host this week, so make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone else thinks.

This week we covered Chapters 17-22 and we covered some incredible stuff! So beware the spoiler-full discussion questions & answers below!

1. T’vril takes Yeine to the servant’s party. What did you think of that party, and of Sieh’s part in it?

Mostly, folks seemed to be having a good time, and not at the expense of someone else’s hide. And Sieh, while a little maudlin, was there of his own free will and could leave when he desired. It wasn’t the backroom brawl & ball that I was expecting, but it seemed a decent enough party.

2. Yeine presents herself as such a nice, compassionate person. Did your feelings about her change after the meeting she and Nahadoth had with Gemd?

We’ve had plenty of foreshadowing that Yeine has a strong, ruthless inner core. Well, this is probably the first time we have seen it. But her words that she would willingly kill 2 people, or all those in the room, or all those in Sky City to keep her people safe rang true. They plotted and planned unprovoked war in the first place, so Yeine’s actions make sense to me.

Nahadoth enjoys a challenge. So when Yeine instructs him not to kill anyone, he must be creative in order to get the point across. Essentially, he made those two wish for death, which Yeine, in her mercy, did grant them at the end.

Did my feelings change? Not really. I was waiting for Yeine to start playing hardball. I knew Nahadoth desired to play hardball. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

3. On page 230 we learn about the Darre concept of “esui”, of attraction to danger. Have you ever experienced esui? Did it help you, or hurt you? Do you think it will help Yeine, or hurt her?

Such a dangerous question. Yes, I think most humans have experienced ‘esui’, and I have in various forms. My pursuit, or sometimes stumbling upon to it, has always taught me a lesson or two about life. From riding a run away horse at full gallop in sliding mud (I was laughing my head off at the exhilaration), to facing a break-in with a large mag light, to occasionally chasing after a questionable character of a man, yes, ‘esui’ has been in and out of my life.

As to whether or not Yeine’s pursuit of ‘esui’ will help her or hurt her, well I will simply say that she learns some life lessons too. (I’ve read the book before and don’t want to spoil anything for others).

4. What did you think of the reveal regarding Ygreth’s (Kinneth’s mother) death? Was it something you expected?  How does being forced to do something like that (or knowing you’ll be forced to) shape a person?

I had totally forgotten about this nuance to the book. It explains so much about Kinneth’s choices as a young lady, and then how those choices shaped Yeine’s life. Now that Yeine has more of an idea of the depth of ruthlessness of the Arameri, I think she is just that much more motivated to keep her bargain with the Enefadeh in order to protect her people.

In some ways, this explains some aspects of both Relad and Scimina. They grew up in this culture, knowing they would have to sacrifice someone close to themselves if they ascended the throne. So why get close to anyone? First, that could be used to eliminate you from the competition, and secondly, if you win, you may very well have to sacrifice that person you care so much for. Yeah, it would lead to a fucked up society from the top down.

5. If I’m reading it correctly, the ceremony can require a human sacrifice (to show that the heir is strong enough to kill anyone, if asked).  Who might Scimina sacrifice? Who might Yeine sacrifice?

Knowing Scimina, she probably has a few lovers she has cultivated just for this. Relad might sacrifice his own sister as he seems to have some unhealthy attraction for her. Or either one of them might sacrifice Dekarta. But he’s dead anyway in order for this ceremony to take place, right?

I am concerned that Dekarta or Scimina, or perhaps Relad, will bring someone from Yeine’s city, like her grandmother, to attend the ceremony.

If Yeine had a choice of who to sacrifice in order to ascend the throne, I am sure she would pick herself or not ascend at all.

6. The ball is only a few days away. What do you think will happen?

I have actually forgotten what all goes down at the ball. I am guessing Scimina stands with her coterie of fools and makes fun of everyone else’s clothes. Relad will grab a drink and a slave-date or two and sulk in a corner alternately wishing to hump his sister or smash her face in. Yeine will do the only useful thing by gathering more intelligence on the Arameri, etc. Or perhaps she will track down Viraine, lure him to some secluded spot, and stick a knife in him. After all, he did order the uber-bug Walking Death hit on her father. Was anyone else creeped out that he asked Yeine out and then admitted in the nearly the same sentence that he banged her mom so many years ago?

Other Tidbits:

T’vril and Yeine bumped some uglies…..after acknowledging their blood relationship. Perhaps Sky City is rubbing off on Yeine.

I was cooking breakfast for my sleeping man and myself when I came upon the Nahadoth-Yeine love scene. Hmm…abandon breakfast to wake my man up appropriately, or keep on cooking…..and listening to the audiobook? 😉

I love all the little bits we get about the gods, especially their early years. Like Nahadoth and Itempas automatically going into fight mode as soon as they met, being such opposites. The ‘human sacrifices’ to the three – elderly & sick to Enefa, strong and pure to Itempas, and whimsical and young to Nahadoth.

Anyone else want to take that fancy whip or flail of Scimina’s and use it on her after what she did to Sieh and Nahadoth? Hmmm…looks like we will have to start a line.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Read Along Part II

Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.
Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.

Welcome back everyone! This week Anya of On Starships and Dragonwings is our host, so make sure to pop over there and see what everyone makes of this section.

A lot of good stuff went down in this past week’s reading, which was Chapters 11-16. Spoilers lurk below!

1) We’ve started to learn about a side of Yeine’s mother that Yeine can barely believe existed. No one in this story seems all that capable of telling the objective truth, however, so who do you think Kinneth really was? A devoted mother? A traitorous schemer? Evil and cruel?

I think Kinneth once was an Arameri woman, raised to be ruthless and selfish and power driven. Then she fell in love with a Darre man and her world was turned upside down. Hence, the Arameri family only really have this one side of Kinneth in their memories, while Yeine has a very different picture of her mother. I think that if Kinneth would have been able to see past her love for her Darre husband to the love many parents feel for their children, then she would have thought twice concerning the bargain offered by the gods, perhaps even have turned it down. Perhaps she thought herself incapable of loving another being as much as she did her husband.

So far, I don’t see cruelty in the tough choice she made concerning her husband’s life for using her unborn child to host a will-o-the-wisp soul of a once powerful goddess.

2) Wow major plot reveal Batman! Finding out about Yeine’s second soul was not something I saw coming at all. Did you suspect? Have any other theories? What do you think of this major plot development? What do you think Yeine should do?

The first time I read this novel, no, I did not suspect this twist at all. I found it quite unique and I loved how Jemisin kept Yeine real. Yeine doesn’t simply take in the info and then become all badass. She doesn’t go on an icecream binge, or run off looking for some bit of trouble to get into in order to forget her life. No, she has a panic attack, loses herself for three days, and then has very strong and conflicting feelings towards the gods we’ve met so far, including lovable Sieh.

I remember vaguely how Yeine moves forward from here so I won’t spoil anything. If I was in her shoes, I would be tempted to give the whole lot of them (Arameri, gods, Sky City) the bird and grab a few fast horses for the trip home and damn the consequences, with plans to wreak vengeance on those who bring any lasting harm to her country. But that would be too much like some Hollywood action flick filmed in Mexico.

3) We’ve gotten to know a lot more about Darr in this section and their traditions have both good and bad sides it seems to me. What do you think of their coming-of-age ritual for the women? What about women soldiers and men being left to protect the children? Any other traditions that struck you?

I remember being a bit shocked the first time I read that scene, with the ritual and public rape. In context, given the Darre culture, it made sense. Not condonable by my personal morals, but logical in some ways. The Darre are a matriarchal society, not just in leadership but in warriors. The men are treasured, nurtured, protected. As a biologist, there are many species throughout Earth in which the females are larger, and so I don’t mind having the men serve instead of lead a nation.

However, we also see through the ritual rape that the Darre also hold the men in something of contempt. Yeine didn’t defeat her chosen male combatant and therefore, he was allowed (required?) by ritual to perpetrate a personal violence against her, in front of all the leaders of the Darre society; and this showed that those leaders held the loser to be too weak to lead.

And then Yeine broke the rules and killed her attacker with a hidden knife. Yes! Not only does this suit my personal morals, it showed the Darre society that she will not simply submit to social ‘norms’ because that is the ritual.

I like that not all the peoples of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms have forgotten the old stories about the gods, and while Yeine may not have been told all those the Darre elders know, at least they have not all been forgotten.

4) The Walking Death played a pretty big role in the past given none of this would have happened if Yeine’s father hadn’t gotten sick. There was discussion in the previous section about how the Death only infects commoners and those of high-birth aren’t affected. What do you think the Death really is? Any theories on why it infects only certain people?

I can’t recall the Walking Death being anything more than simply disease, but if there is a supernatural element to it, I would first looks to all the godlings – what powers do each of them have? Are those powers known to the Arameri? Could Yeine’s grandfather have ordered one of the enslaved gods to set loose a plague that would bring Yeine’s father to death’s door? Perhaps. The Arameri are ruthless enough for this, especially Yeine’s grandfather.

Turning such a plague loose every few years in some low-born area probably helps keeps the kingdoms in line, or at least preoccupied on the home front so they can’t rally support for disassembling Sky City.

5) Finally, we’ve learned a lot more about our enslaved gods between getting to know Nahadoth better, finding out what is up with Sieh, and seeing a rather bitter side of Kurue. What do you think of all these revelations? Has your favorite god changed?

These gods have lived millions if not billions of years, seen and experienced so much. Of course they are going to have some parts of their past that is twisted and I like that Jemisin makes them complicated characters, and not simply one dimensional beings that have a few nifty powers and one or two missions in life.

Favorites…..so hard to choose. And I remember a bit of what goes down later in the book, so I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s a coin toss between Sieh and Nahadoth. Both can be straight forward, when they want to, but both have very different needs. Oh, and one goes a little crazy twice a day for about 5 minutes at a time. While I find Nahadoth very interesting, I would play checkers only with Sieh.

Other Tidbits:

Yeine’s grandfather may be the biggest villain in this story. Man, I want someone to fling him from the spire, or impale him. I’m not picky.

I think it was very telling that Kinneth’s room was left alone, on order of her father, but then the various servants over the past few decades have been too afraid to question that order ever since.

Yeine shows wisdom in believing that while she resides in Sky City the only possible safe place for personal valuables are in Kinneth’s old hiding place.

Hot kiss scene! 😉

My Fellow Readers:

On Starships & Dragonwings

Violin in a Void

Many a True Nerd

The Little Red Reviewer

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Read Along Part I

Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.
Picabuche sacked out in front of the fire.

Welcome everyone to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Read Along! I read this book a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I am thoroughly enjoying rereading it and am so glad that so many folks could joins us to dissect it! My cohosts for this madness are On Starships & Dragonwings, Little Red Reviewer, and Violin in a Void. You can catch the schedule over HERE if you are just joining us. This book reads pretty quickly, so feel free to pop into the read along anytime you like.

This week we covered Chapters 1-9. Spoilers lurk in dark corners waiting to perform dark deeds on the unwary!

1) We’ve met our narrator, Yeine. What are your first impressions? Do you like the chosen form of story telling so far?

Yeine strikes me as a no-nonsense kind of woman who just got thrown into a ridiculous situation. While I like her, I do have my worries that she will not prosper in Sky City among her Arameri family. She’s very straight forward, while most around her are adept at deception.

The first few pages threw me a little, both the first time I read it, and this reread. But the story itself is so compelling that I am quickly sucked into it. As the story progresses, I then feel like Yeine is telling me this long, intense story of her life over hot tea on a cold night by candle light. Simply put, I am enchanted by this book once again.

2) Yeine essentially has two families – the Darre (her father’s people) and the Arameri (her mother’s people). What do you think of her two halves? Do you think one will win out over the other within Yeine?

The Darre appear to live much closer to the land (consider her clothing) and Darr is also a poor nation, which indicates that self-sufficiency is held in high regard. Yeine has also made one or two comments about women speaking and acting for themselves and not hiding behind a man. I also remember a few other things about the Darr from my previous reading, but I won’t spoil anything here. Basically, a straight forward kind of people, but with their hang ups (like the racist remarks towards Yeine’s mother).

Meanwhile, we have seen some pretty homicidal behaviors from her Arameri family….and I am hard put to name a good characteristic that could label most of the Arameri. Yvraine and Tivril seem helpful, but that could be some deception….or they were ordered to be helpful and friendly.

As for which side will win out in Yeine? Well, I want her to hold fast to that straightforward Darre side but I also think she needs to learn to be a bit deceptive if she is to survive the inheritance game her grandfather plopped her down into.

3) We meet the Enefa, the enslaved gods. Which do you wish to know the backstory to the most? What do you think of their enslavement?

Zhakka, the large grey lady, the Yeine meets briefly when the Nightlord both attacks and kisses. So far, we know very little about her. Why is she so much taller? What is her main function in the pantheon? Where are her allegiances? So many questions for her.

The idea of enslaved gods is not unique, perhaps uncommon, but not unique. But the manner of their enslavement is fascinating. They fought, their side lost, and not they are doomed for eternity to be enslaved in mortal bodies. Ugh. Who would want a body that needs constant attention and care? That sweats and defecates? That requires grooming? Yeah, I could see how that would be majorly annoying to the gods. But then to be used by the Arameri as they are, to be treated as less than human, never mind less than heavenly grace. I have to say the most disturbing use so far is that of Sieh, ordered younger, to be a bed warmer. Yeah. Some of those Arameri are going down and I can’t wait for Yeine to make it happen.

4) Nahadoth finally catches up to Yeine and his first words and actions are mysteries to her. Gibbering or meaning?

Well, I think it is pretty obvious that Nahadoth, Sieh, and Zhakka have a use for Yeine and I don’t think it is some petty revenge ploy on a handful of nobles either. Towards the end of this section, Nahadoth explains that he is a little insane during transition time – dusk and sunrise – so him throttling Sieh probably wasn’t the first time that had happened. I was a bit surprised he kissed her. Perhaps he is naturally a hypersexual god and he would kiss a hamster if he had one in hand at the end of his little twice-daily insane periods.

5) We’ve met the competition for the unspoken throne – Lady Scimina and Lord Relad. How do you think they will complicate Yeine’s life?

Lady Scimina seems willing and able, even looking forward to it, to toy with Yeine before crushing her. Lord Relad seems to simply want it over and he is making it easy for anyone to off him at their convenience – through poison, drowning, slipping and breaking his neck, etc. I actually forget what these two competitors do….perhaps they will join forces against Yeine or perhaps Relad will be dead soon. Either way, it is Lady Scimina that I will have my eye on at all the dinner parties and who I don’t wish to bump into in dark corners of the palace.

6) The Enefa obviously want something from Yeine. What do you think that is and how do you think Yeine will react to their wants?

I’ve totally forgotten the specifics of what the Enefa want. I am guessing they want some temporary alliance with Yeine. Sieh perhaps wants a temporary mother figure. Perhaps Yeine could bake him cookies and tuck him into bed with stories for a week? It is tempting, and I am merely the reader and yes I was paying attention to all the warnings about Sieh. But seriously, if I was the Enefa, I would be constantly seeking any possibility, no matter how remote, of freedom. So, whatever they are up to, I would say that is part of it.

Other Tidbits:

That was a pretty intense dream memory Yeine had – and now we have some idea of what Nahadoth can do. If the Arameri don’t control him, keep him from leveling cities and leaving craters everywhere, then who will? Can Nahadoth self-regulate?

The Enefadeh (forehead symbol) seems a kind of enslavement in itself. Yeine will never be able to remove it while at Sky City. If she ever does leave, she could remove it, but there would be a little scar, as her mom had. And of course, the symbols automatically set up a hierarchy, which seems to be a bit unhealthy and too rigid. *cough* inbreeding *cough*.

My Fellow Readers:

On Starships & Dragonwings

Little Red Reviewer

Violin in a Void

Books Without Any Pictures

All I Am – A Redhead

Many A True Nerd

Nashville Book Worm