The Diminished by Kaitlyn Sage PattersonThe Diminished by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

The Diminished

byKaitlyn Sage Patterson

Hardcover | April 10, 2018

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“Two fierce young people battle a fiery landscape and vicious foes in a race for freedom. I was glued to my seat!”
—#1 New York Times bestselling author Tamora Pierce

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.

“With a splash of swoony romance and a thrilling conclusion, readers will be clamoring for the sequel.”
—Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Labyrinth Lost and The Vicious Deep trilogy
“Bo and Vi are fierce, complex characters, and I couldn’t devour their story fast enough!”
—Amy Tintera, New York Times bestselling author of Ruined
“This daring novel challenges the status quo beautifully.”
—Natalie C. Parker, author of Beware the Wild
Title:The DiminishedFormat:HardcoverDimensions:464 pages, 8.46 × 5.91 × 1.47 inPublished:April 10, 2018Publisher:HarlequinLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1335016414

ISBN - 13:9781335016416

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Astonishing debut I read this book because I went to an author panel where this author was one of the presenters. I must say, for a debut, this is a phenomenal story. I found it totally original and not at all what I was expecting based on other YA books I’ve read. Political and societal intrigue runs rampant throughout the book, the explanations and descriptions of all of the political groups did bore me at times though. Vi kept me going while I was raging at Bo for the first half of the book and then somewhere near the end I was rooting for both of them and the demise of the empire and temples. What they (the empire and temples) were doing made me so mad, as it always does when I read stories where people are so mistreated. Even though I know full well that humans are capable and have committed atrocities as bad or worse, it still sickens me each time. However in this story, there is hope and I liked the characters enough (by the end anyway) that I can see them rise to the occasion.
Date published: 2018-08-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Actual Rating: 2.5 Stars Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher to review. In no way has the publisher nor the author influenced or paid for my review, all opinions stated are my own. I wish this book would’ve had a map. I find maps one of the most useful tools as a reader, especially when trying to place yourself in a fantasy world. The world inside the book is so vast and we visit so many places that I would’ve loved to have been able to visually see it as well as imagine it. I am also pretty biased because bookish maps are one of my favourite things about reading. But in this case I feel like it would’ve enriched my reading of this book. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get more history of the world that Vi and Bo live in. It looks like our current reality set in the future after a nuclear war that split the moon in half. I would like to know if what I am assuming of this world is correct. I figured since Bo was interested in the Cataclysm that we would learn more about it in the book but unfortunately we didn’t. The past informs the future and I feel like it plays a much bigger role in the overarching story than it has in the first book. The pacing of this book was kind of weird for me. Stuff was happening throughout the book but I felt like it took forever to get to the main storyline. It is about halfway through the book before we learned the most important information and actually started making some headway into the story. I think I was also annoyed because it was taking so long for Bo and Vi to meet. The separated storylines were just so starkly different it kind of got annoying flipping back and forth so often. It just felt like a super long book where not too much actually happened until right at the very end. Upon finishing the book I just felt like all that had happened could’ve happened in a much smaller book. Vi was by far my favourite character in the book. She is smart, resourceful, not afraid to state her mind, caring, daring and protective. I understood almost all of the decisions she made while she was on her journey; the only one I couldn’t was her relationship with Quill. I must admit that I also don’t understand why when the sun ship was far enough from shore that it wouldn’t be visible that Vi didn’t just jump off the ship and swim back (she’s a strong swimmer so she could’ve made it) and just live off her pearls. Yes, the church would probably been after her but with the money from her pearls she could’ve bought anonymity. But her relationship with Quill and how she was willing to sell herself to the highest bidder was the thing I couldn’t understand most. I love who she became after she met Bo though; I felt like she became her best version of herself. I can’t wait to see her grow even more as her relationship with her twin grows too. Bo wasn’t too bad of a character although he kind of annoyed me at times with how unknowledgeable of the world he really was. He was naïve, but too much so and seeing as he grew up with the snakes of the royal court he should’ve been much more prepared for that in the real world. Bo really at times reminds me of a puppy that just wants to please people. I liked how he expanded his horizons through meeting and travelling with Swindon. While it wasn’t a huge character change for Bo in this book, he slightly matured and I think he will grow by leaps and bounds in the next book. It really touched me at the end when he told Vi that he wanted her to rule with him. While I can’t say I appreciate him planning out Vi’s life for her it really warmed my heart to know that he saw her in his future at his side. That he wanted to share ruling the Alskad Kingdom with her. Wow, Claes turned into quite the self serving jerk right fast. The twins were supposed to be the only people his age he trusted and they basically spit on it. It is quite telling how much his distrust of Claes goes after he broke that trust because he starts to confide in Claes only because he thinks he is about to die. And then to top it off Claes sells him out to the Suzerain! Now, I’m not 100% sure if he did sell him out or if he is trying to manipulate some kind of deal for either about or for himself. I say this because maybe he wanted to make a deal for his soul since he found religion when he was on his deathbed. But since Bo didn’t see him die I think he is going to be alive in the sequel and not on Bo’s side. I’m surprised they killed off Bo’s mother and Penelope so fast, and Bo’s reaction to their deaths annoyed me to no end. He was more interested in Claes wasting away which I admit should be a focus; but it shouldn’t have been his main focus. I know he wanted to focus on the living and spend what little time he could with Claes, but really? He should’ve been trying to figure out what happened that day at the mill. What frustrated me about it was that the author made this big event of their death and then it got left to the wayside. It does kind of connect to what Bo finds out later on the family farm on Ilor but I thought it was going to be a big point of contention in the plot. I do wonder how much his mother and “Aunt” knew about the operation with the flowers. Due to the lists found at the residence I assume that his Aunt knew everything about the operation. I am also wondering if Bo’s mother found out what was happening on Ilor and either informed the Queen or decided to do something about it and that is why she was killed. Another death that I’m not too sure about is the deaths of Lily and Sawny. Knowing what we know about how Mrs Laroche is a part of the rebellion and that Vi never even asked about their bodies I don’t think they are dead. I have this feeling that when Vi and Curlin travel to meet up with the rebels that they will meet those two there are Vi will get a happy reunion. I sure hope this is the case because if not then it is just another two side characters that were thrown to the wayside in this story. I don’t know if I quite trust Quill. How can you really trust someone who is basically bartering you away to the highest bidder? And how does Vi still like him even after he basically sold her (albeit willingly) to the highest bidder and also made a contract to benefit his family on the side? I didn’t really understand it and to be honest I still don’t. Also, what a good job Quill did finding a good master for Vi; one who whips his servants and kills them! I know that he loves Vi and does for the most part care about her wellbeing but there’s just something about him that rubs me the wrong way. I much prefer Mal in that set of twins because at least he is honest and earnest. I have to agree with Swindon in the fact that Queen Runa has to already know what the Suzerain are up to with the flowers and the Diminished. I just want to know why she hasn’t already done something about it? Or maybe she has, maybe the Queen is supporting the rebellion on Ilor. That would make a great twist and it seems like the sly kind of thing Runa would do. I’m looking forward to seeing her reaction to Bo confronting her with what he saw on the island. I really hope he doesn’t bow to her pressure and makes a stand for his people and himself. Bo’s cousin Rainor is quite the enigma and I don’t know what to make of her. I don’t 100% agree with Bo in that she has excused herself from the race of the heir. I do wonder how much she is involved, because watching from the outside to see everybody’s moves is quite brilliant in my mind. And then to make Bo feel at ease by pretending she isn’t interested? A very smart move there too. And if she truly wasn’t interested in the throne then would she not be helping Bo? I have a feeling she is going to become more important in the next book. XA: GOAT was quite the mystery. When it was first introduced in the book I racked my brain because there must have been some kind of clue already given in the story to what it may be. It made sense when it turned out to be about Bo and Vi and how they are actually twins. I was also really frustrated with all of the adults involved when I found out then extent of this mystery, especially the Queen. I found it extremely heartbreaking and cruel for the Queen to have basically bought her heir. To have separated Vi and Bo, and to make Vi a Diminished when she was in no way one is especially cruel. She had to grow up with that stigma, thinking she was no one and had no family. They could have said that both children died and then sent her away somewhere to be raised better than she was. I figured out pretty early on in the book that the Suzerain were doing something to control the Diminished. I knew when they said something happened every month or two. It seemed too much like clockwork for me and that immediately raised my suspicions. I didn’t know that they were actually drugging them, I figured they were just holding the ones who were orphans in cages and releasing them to the public when they’ve hit their breaking point. The poison is a much more sinister way of doing it and requires more people to know about the plan than I thought the Suzerain would be content with knowing. I am sad that the next book is going to be separated storylines again with Bo going to see the Queen to set things right and Vi going to the rebels to help her with what knowledge she has while at the same time gaining safety from them. It will be interesting to see her meet up with the amalgam and Myrna again without any secrets left between them. Mrs Laroche was ready to use Bo as a hostage though so will she do the same to Vi? I can’t wait to find out. Overall I don’t feel like this was a bad book but it dragged on and it seems like it took forever for something to actually happen. I am hoping that the pace will pick up in the next book now that we have got the story up and running. I have a bunch of questions that I want answered so while I wasn’t blown away by the first book, I do plan on continuing the series.
Date published: 2018-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Epic Fantasy! *I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review* This book was such a rich fantasy filled with betrayal, murder, and secrets that could cause the Empire to crumble. The mythology was so intriguing and I love the history behind how the world was created. To say the least, this book had me hooked. There were so many moments that had me shaking the book with my jaw hanging open, and then there were the few spare moments that just made me smile. The Diminished was a total emotional jolt to the system through and through. If I had to sum it up, I would say this book is a serious clash between religion and royalty right down to it’s spine. In the Alskad Empire, there are the singleborn, the twins, and the diminished. The singleborn rule and the diminished are contained by the Shriven, a group of religious radicals trained to protect the Empire. Bo is one of the few singleborn, and the crown prince of the Empire. The only problem is that he’s not sure he’s the right fit for the job and is plagued with self-doubt. Vi lost her twin when she was a baby and was left at the temple to await the day she succumbs to the violence that comes with being diminished. Vi is presented with an impossible choice as punishment for breaking the law and she chooses the option that will reunite her with her friends on a distant island. The only problem is, she unknowingly signs a contract with a monster. When Bo suffers a great loss, he begins to question everything and everyone around him. In a twist of fate, Vi and Bo are brought together and discover a plot to overthrow the Empire and make them question everything they’ve been taught to fear. With time running out and the Shriven hunting them, they must figure out a way to save the Empire before it’s too late. There was such a great cast of characters in this book. I really enjoyed that Bo had a male love interest! It was interesting to see a male protagonist in a position of power so in tune with his emotions. This book definitely played against stereotypes with it’s male protagonist. I loved that it was a dual POV as well, because his character really complimented the stubborn and overly opinionated Vi. This is a book that will make you really think about what’s going to happen next. I held my breath waiting for my theory to come true and when it did I had to sit there and let it sink in. While I was able to connect hints dropped throughout the book, it was still a shock to see my prediction come true. Now, the only thing about this book I didn’t enjoy was that it took a while to get into. The plot in the beginning was kind of dry and definitely needed some more action to set the pace. Once things got rolling though, this book stopped for nothing. By the end of this book, I was holding my breath to see how it would end. It definitely did not take mercy on my poor soul. This book left me reeling and wondering who to trust and how deep the secrets lie within the Alskad Empire. There is rebellion brewing and I can’t wait to see how everything plays out. I’m definitely looking forward to where the next book will go!
Date published: 2018-04-30

Editorial Reviews

"Rich worldbuilding... An intriguing premise and well-constructed setting anchor this fantasy debut." -Kirkus Reviews"Two fierce young people battle a fiery landscape and vicious foes in a race for freedom. I was glued to my seat!" -#1 New York Times bestselling author Tamora Pierce"A fascinating and wholly original novel. Bo and Vi are fierce, complex characters, and I couldn't devour their story fast enough!" -Amy Tintera, New York Times bestselling author of Ruined"Kaitlyn Sage Patterson's debut novel has strong and imaginative world-building and complex characters. With a splash of swoony romance and a thrilling conclusion, readers will be clamoring for the sequel." -Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Labyrinth Lost and The Vicious Deep trilogy"Life and death, right and wrong, love and grief?Patterson's debut explores the dangerous nature of a world entrenched in dualities. This daring novel challenges the status quo beautifully." -Natalie C. Parker, author of Beware the Wild"[A] character-driven narrative that champions self-determination and condemns xenophobia... Entertaining." -Publishers Weekly"Readers are in for a wild ride...Patterson serves up an adventurous story with plenty of opulence in a richly designed world that fans of Melina Marchetta's Finnikin of the Rock will appreciate. Surprising alliances paired with themes that reflect modern struggles will remind readers of The Handmaid's Tale while remaining accessible, enjoyable, and relevant for teens." -School Library Journal"Patterson seamlessly subverts traditional gender dynamics by having women succeed in many traditionally masculine roles, and same-sex relationships-integral to Alskad society-are treated in a matter-of-fact manner... This series starter is written with refreshing inclusiveness, and that makes it a worthwhile addition to fantasy collections." ?Booklist