In the Alskad empire, nearly everyone has a twin–two parts to a whole–yet some must face the world alone. The singleborn, a rarity, are given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. The diminished are the ones left behind to face the world when their twin dies–and they are doomed to succumb to a violent grief.
Bo Trousillion is one of the few singleborn and is destined to rule. He has been chosen to succeed, despite his reservations about his worthiness. Vi Abernathy, on the other hand, had her twin sister die in infancy and she has spent her whole life trying to find a way to escape the clutches of the temple.
With their sixteenth birthdays, each face very different futures, but a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they couldn’t have imagined.
This had a more unique premise than some of the other YA fantasies I’ve read.
But, parts of it definitely fell a little flat for me, mainly some of the exposition and background.
As much as I love the idea of lots of people having twins and there being this overwhelming grief that leads to violence after a twin dies, I felt like it wasn’t explained well enough. The whole thing wasn’t explained well enough.
Besides my countless questions, mainly how/why does this happen? which is never explained, some of the exposition was presented funkily.
I get that an author wants to avoid being criticized for infodumps (everyone wants to avoid those), but is it necessary to never explain anything? I was very confused for most of the first couple chapters because words like dimmy were thrown around and never explained and some of the vernacular was a little more obscure and took a lot of context to figure out.
It was hard to discern what was just gibberish and what was actually important vocabulary, and the way a lot of the fantasy concepts were introduced needed more explaining in my opinion.
Sure, they were incorporated, but not ever explaining them to avoid infodumps isn’t exactly better, in my opinion. Similarly, I felt like some of the fantasy aspect clashed a little.
Remember in the Superman movies where they fight on Krypton with not just beastly dragon-like creatures, but also with like, machine guns. It doesn’t really mesh together well and it feels like they tried to mix sci-fi and fantasy together.
(see image below for fantasy animal plus machine guns)
I got a lot of the same vibe in The Diminished, most notably from how they had solar panels but other parts of the novel were weirdly underdeveloped, such as their farming system and how they have back breaking rock carrying work. I felt like if they had the technological development of solar panels, why didn’t they have other developments too?
That being said, I still found the whole concept to be original and enjoyed how Patterson included that mysterious conspiratorial subplot plus ~things~ that involve Bo and Vi. The twin thing felt a little average, but some of the other aspects of the plot were very engaging for me!
I did think it took a while to get to the spicy part and the last half read a lot faster than the first. The characters don’t even hear of each other until, like, the 50% mark which divided the story up kind of oddly for me. It was a little slow in the beginning, but the end really sped up and I know book 2 is going to be hella lit from this.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the last half especially, and I think die-hard fantasy fans will definitely like it. It’s one of the better fantasies I’ve read, although I don’t think it’s one of the super best. I’ll still be reading book 2, though, because I think there’s a lot of potential with that book more so than this one.
Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!