Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Diminished by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

Title: The Diminished
Author: Kaitlyn Sage Patterson
Genre: High Fantasy
Source: Harlequin

In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone.

The singleborn

A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him.

The diminished

When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died. Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what's left of her life in peace.

As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures—one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined.
Review by Nara

The Diminished had such a cool concept. Basically, almost everyone in the world are born as twins, this is explained to be so that they can balance each other out and keep each other morally just (or something like that, I'm bad at explaining it properly). There are a very few people who are "singleborn" who should have the morals of two people within them and are therefore chosen to rule the country as they're supposed to be morally above everyone else. People who were once part of a pair of twins, but have lost their twin, are called "diminished", and their fate is to basically go mad from grief.

While The Diminished had a really interesting concept, I did have some trouble understanding the basics of the magic system i.e. the twins. It was a bit tricky to understand why having a twin was such a good thing, and why Bo (a singleborn) and Vi (diminished) were yearning after twins of their own, especially Bo, since being singleborn is supposed to put you above others. It seemed like twins were magically linked, where if one died the other one can "feel it", but I wasn't sure how else the bonds extended.

The plot itself I think was a bit more generic, with a conspiracy for the crown and a rebellion on the rise. I'm writing this review quite a while after reading the novel, and can only remember a couple of events in the novel (although actually that's probably not bad, because I have really bad book amnesia). I honestly can't even remember if there was a romance...

I think I will be reading the sequel (probably after doing a quick reread of this book since I seem to have forgotten some chunks of the plot). Now that the world has been established, the next book (and supposedly last book, as this is a duology) should be able to direct and tie things off nicely.

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
World Building: 2/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5