Review of The Diminished by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson
Rating: 4/5 Stars
“I came up feared and hated for a thing I had no control over in a world divided.”
I thoroughly enjoyed The Diminished and found it to be a solid debut novel that had me on the edge of my seat by the final chapters!
The Diminished follows two main characters, Vi Abernathy and Bo Trousillion. Vi is one of the diminished, having lost her twin at a young age and raised in the temple amongst other diminished and orphans. Bo, on the other hand, is single-born, destined to be named heir to the crown of the Alskad Empire. The Diminished is truly a tale of two cities – despite growing up within miles of each other – Vi and Bo have been dealt very different hands. However, their lives will come to twine around each other in ways neither would have expected.
I did feel that the pacing was a bit slow at first, as the story’s premise was gradually set and the world was built. I was a little weary as I felt as though there wasn’t a whole lot happening during the initial chapters, but the story makes up for it later on. Stick with it!
There are several societal and historical elements touched upon in this book and I enjoyed the way the author related each one, even if only subtly. First, was the LGBT representation. One of the main characters is gay, but it’s never made into a big deal, it doesn’t overtake the storyline. It’s totally acceptable in this culture and I loved the way it was handled. Second, women in traditionally male roles. Again, no big deal. If anything, it was mentioned as odd when a man held a traditionally female role in this world. That’s just how things are (right on!). Third, the racism connection. In this world, people are not mistreated for the color of their skin, but instead the status of their twin (or lack thereof). Those who have lost a twin are treated as dangerous scum, followed by the superstition that they could succumb to the grief of their loss at any moment and essentially go postal on those around them. I felt like this representation connected well with the racism seen in the world today. Fourth, the connection to the slave trade. There is an island colony in the Alskad Empire where the impoverished travel to find work. While they are not necessarily forced to travel there – their contracts (typically sold via a “broker”) last years at a time and many are sent to work on the plantations across the island. Many never live to see the end of their contract. In general, the author has done a fine job taking very real elements and weaving them seamlessly into this fantasy world.
Lastly, this is a novel driven by its characters. While Vi and Bo’s stories are thoroughly interesting, they meet some fantastic secondary characters along their journeys that help to fine tune this story into the gem it is. I loved the banter and relationships built between Mal, Quill and Swinton – plus there are other characters I just need to learn more about and discover the status of! There is a healthy dose of mystery to this story that is very central to the characters and I cannot wait to see where things go!
I received this copy from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Release date: April 10th, 2018
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