Review: The Stone Sky

Jemisin_StoneSky-TP.jpgTitle: The Stone Sky (2017)
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Pages: 413
Series: The Broken Earth #3 (Series Tracker)

“I don’t know what’s happening, not really. I know only that this is a battle, full of moment-to-moment confusion as all battles are, and from here forth nothing is quite clear…”
The Stone Sky

This quote sums up my experience with The Broken Earth trilogy. I was frequently perplexed by what exactly was happening from scene to scene, but I was always left in awe by Jemisin’s unique voice and vision.

My lower ratings for the previous two books (3.5 and 3.25) were due to, what I felt was, a lack of accessibility. I struggled to care about the setting, the characters, and their stories because it was such a conceptually idiosyncratic world. The Stone Sky feels more grounded in the familiar. The Earth they inhabit feels real and more analogous to the one we currently inhabit. The characters are more vulnerable and their stories are more focused and clear. …or perhaps the previous two books built a foundation on which I was able to engage more easily with what was going on here. Either way, this one is great!

Summarizing the plot here would not do justice to the sheer power of this book/series. It is, ultimately, a story of survival, oppression, power, love, and family. The Stone Sky is my favorite book of the trilogy and is a dazzling conclusion to a remarkable and devastating series. As a whole, this was a visionary work, written by a wonderfully imaginative author. I look forward to seeing what she creates next.

★★★★ out of 5

Review: The Obelisk Gate

26228034Title: The Obelisk Gate (2016)
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Pages: 448
Series: The Broken Earth #2

Review: This continues to be unlike any book series I’ve read. N.K. Jemisin’s use of language is wholly immersive and imbued with so much brutality. Her imagery pulls you in and communicates the nature of the world so effectively that it’s draining to read in long sittings. Compared to the first book, this one seemed less focused and had a more meandering story to tell. It’s the sort of book I appreciate more than I enjoy, as its unrelentingly harsh and moments of levity are few and far between.

★★★¼ out of 5

The Broken Earth series:
1. The Fifth Season (2015) – 3.5 stars
2. The Obelisk Gate (2016) – 3.25 stars

Review: The Fifth Season


The Fifth Season
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Pages: 500
Series: The Broken Earth #1
Read via: Kindle

Summary: The continent of The Stillness is in perpetual motion. The only relief comes from orogenes, individuals who can quell earthquakes and bring calm to the earth. While all of society benefits from their gifts, the orogenes must cope with outside forces that seek to manipulate, control, and oppress their people.

Review: It is always tricky to objectively rate a title that has earned such critical praise. I had heard wonderful things about N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, and while it didn’t quite live up to the hype, it also didn’t disappoint. As a reader, it’s always refreshing to be dropped into a world you know nothing about. Jemisin uses colloquial slang and terms several times before it’s clear from the context what they mean. This provided a welcome challenge, but it also delayed my ability to shift attention to what was actually happening until about halfway through the book.

Jemisin establishes such an interesting and unique world that was fascinating to uncover. In a way it didn’t feel like fantasy, as the world is gritty, fully realized, and there’s no talk of magic. Everything just is as it is, and it’s written in a way that makes it all seem very believable. I’m interested to see where Jemisin takes this world and these characters next.

★★★½ out of 5