The Broken Kingdoms by NK Jemisin

Apparently I am pretty. Magic is all I see, and magic tends to be beautiful, so I have no way of properly judging the mundane myself. I have to take others’ word for it. Men praise parts of me endlessly — always the parts, mind you, never the whole. They love my long legs, my graceful neck, my storm of hair, my breasts. (Especially my breasts.) Most of the men in Shadow were Amn, so they also commented on my smooth near-black Maro skin even though I told them there were half a million other women in the world with the same feature. Half a million is not so many measured against the whole world, though, so that always got included in their qualified, fragmentary admiration.

“Lovely,” they would say, and sometimes they wanted to take me home and admire me in private. Before I got involved with godlings I would let them, if I felt lonely enough. “You’re beautiful, Oree,” they would whisper as they positioned and posed and polished me. “If only — ”

I never asked them to complete this sentence. I knew what they almost said: If only you didn’t have those eyes.

I was blown away earlier this year by The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the wonderful debut novel from NK Jemisin, and can’t wait to get my hands on the second volume, The Broken Kingdoms, coming in just a few weeks. For those looking to whet their appetite for the second novel, Jemisin’s already released the first chapter, and has now added the second.

If you’re interested, I interviewed Jemisin a few months ago and she talks at length about the structure of the trilogy and how The Broken Kingdoms relates to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Read Chapter Two of The Broken Kingdoms by NK. Jemisin.