I remember that it was midmorning.
Gardening was my favorite task of the day. I’d had to fight for it, because my mother’s terraces were famous throughout the territory and she didn’t quite trust me with them. I couldn’t really blame her; my father still laughed over whatever I’d done to the laundry that one time I tried.
“Oree,” she would say, whenever I sought to prove my independence, “it’s all right to need help. All of us have things we can’t do alone.”
Gardening, however, was not one of those things. It was the weeding that my mother feared, because many of the weeds that grew in Nimaro were similar in form to her most prized herbs. Fakefern had a fan-shaped frond just like sweet ire; running may was spiky and stung the fingers, same as ocherine. But the weeds and the herbs didn’t smell anything alike, so I never understood why she had such trouble with them. On the rare occasions that both scent and feel stumped me, all I had to do was touch a leaf-edge to my lips, or brush my hand through the leaves to hear the way they settled into place, and I would know. Eventually Mama had to admit that I hadn’t tossed out a single good plant all season. I was planning to ask for my own terrace the following year.
I usually lost myself in the gardens for hours, but one morning something was different. I noticed it almost the moment I left the house: a strange, tinny flatness to the air. A pent-breath tension. By the time the storms began, I had forgotten the weeds and sat up, instinctively orienting on the sky.
And I could see.
N.K. Jemisin‘s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is one of my favourite books of the year. It was a haunting, original take on the Fantasy genre, and instantly catapulted Jemisin’s work to the top of my I-want-it-so-bad-it-hurts list.
After such an impressive debut, there’s a lot of pressure on The Broken Kingdoms to deliver on the promises of its predecessor. What intrigues me most about Jemisin’s trilogy is that each volume tells a complete story, expanding on the fallout from previous volume, and starring a new cast of characters. Very similar to Terry Brooks’ early Shannara novels, which feature some of my favourite inter-connected stories in all the genre.
And, hey, two books from a series in on year? Can’t complain about that one bit. Especially since she’s well into writing the third and final volume.