Mark Reads ‘The Broken Kingdoms’: Chapter 3

In the third chapter of The Broken Kingdoms, Oree comes face to face with the gods responsible for Shiny. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Broken Kingdoms.

Chapter Three: “Gods and Corpses” (oil on canvas)


  • OH MY GOD.
  • He used his power. Oh god, he can’t use it all the time, but he chose to then because Role had been killed. HE USED HIS POWER FOR SOMEONE ELSE.
  • Again, I’m not going to ignore the horrendous things that Itempas has done, but I’m also not going to ignore all the character development he’s getting IN JUST THREE FUCKING CHAPTERS. Oh my god, this book. It’s already too much!
  • Y’all, I don’t that I’ve ever read a series that has so many tiny, subtle moments that are like daggers in my heart. Case in point: Oree’s comments about Madding’s touching being “too intimate, triggering memories more painful than the light had been.” Please tell me that there are other folks out there who have had contact with an ex who know exactly what this is like. Because holy shit, it’s too real. THIS IS TOO REAL.
  • How much does Madding know? Do all the Enefadeh know of Itempas’s punishment? And does that also mean that mortals, generally speaking, don’t know what happened?
  • I’m also curious to find out what these godlings are the gods of. Who is Lil? What is Madding the god of?
  • Oh my god, South Root. A land cast into darkness because of the Tree, inhabited mostly by “desperate, angry poor people,” and where the Order-Keepers go to beat people. I can’t. I cannot fucking deal with this book.
  • WHO IS THE HUNGRY GOD WHO WILL FOREVER TERRIFY ME IN MY NIGHTMARES? N.K. Jemisin, could you un-create her so that I can sleep again? Nope, I refuse to deal with that image you gave me. It’s so awful.
  • SO, let’s discuss why this chapter is so terribly exciting and brilliant. The tension of chapter three is derived from what Oree doesn’t know. The reader is familiar with all of the ambiguous and bizarre things that the gods say to Shiny and Oree, and I’m suddenly cast into the role of all of you, giggling and squirming at all the times that Oree says something that is either painfully spot-on or reveals her as woefully unprepared for the future.
  • But I think that in terms of narrative power, it’s necessary to keep Oree in the dark in regards to Shiny’s true identity. She’s got enough information to question his existence, as she does in the closing scene of the chapter, but ultimately, the responsibility is left in Itempas’s hands. He is the one who must trust Oree enough to admit his history and explain why he’s been forced into a mortal body. I imagine that Oree will be inquisitive to a point, but I don’t see her as the sort of person who would force Shiny to confess to her. (Plus, it’s not like she can do much of anything in order to convince Shiny to speak. Torture’s out of the question because Itempas just doesn’t care enough about his body to respond to it.)
  • Throughout this, we’re reminded of Sieh’s utter hatred for Itempas and of Yeine’s compassion and understanding. Yeine is the one who stops Sieh from further abusing Itempas. Not only is the act impractical, but it’s ineffective. It does nothing and it changes nothing. But it’s indicative of something that Oree later picks up on: Sieh hates Itempas because he once loved him. His hatred is born of betrayal and disappointment instead of distaste.
  • Of course, Oree’s interactions with Yeine are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. Yeine recognizes that there’s something special in Oree that has nothing to do with her magic and everything to do with her kindness. That, to me, is an important moment of characterization. Yeine can see that it’s entirely possible that someone like Oree might fall in love with Itempas, so she warns against such a thing happening. And it speaks to how she cares for another human (and the human capacity for love) while also distancing herself. She can’t control Oree, and if she’s now the Mother, she’s got to let her “creations” act as they please. It’s ultimately up to Oree to decide how much she’ll let Shiny into her life.
  • It’s interesting, too, that this is about Itempas earning his place. His mortal arrangement is dependent on him meeting the requirements set forth by Nahadoth and Yeine, and he isn’t making a single stride towards doing so. In hindsight, I could see his horrible smile representing his joy at being able to use his power to kill other humans, which isn’t a step in the right direction at all.
  • So I’m eager to see where this goes, especially given what Oree knows. Y’all, there is so much potential here. There’s the mystery of Role’s death. There’s a further exploration of how Sky has become Shadow. There’s Oree’s journey in discovering who her houseguest is. There is too much.

Part 1

Part 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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