Monday, November 14, 2016

The Obelisk Gate Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: N.K. Jemisin
Publisher: Orbit
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Broken Earth Book Two
Pages: 448

Buy on Amazon!

(Contains spoilers for The Fifth Season).

A new season has started, one that is believed will have no end. Essun has found shelter with a comm, but she has not found her daughter. Alibaster, Essun's former teacher, has vital training for her, training that could change their world forever. Nassun is being taken by her father to the far side of the world where he believes he can have her cured of being an orogene. 

The Fifth Season was the best new fantasy book I read last year - Jemisin really deserved that Hugo.  Once it was revealed that Essun-Syenite-Damaya were all the same person at various stages of their life, I felt like I was reading something special. They're so different, and that reveal really shows how a cruel world can utterly change and break a person. It remains one of my all time favorite "twists" (if you could call it that) in any story I've ever read.

As Syenite and Damaya narrations have ceased to exist, Essun takes over narrating in the present tense with the rarely used, but still very effective, second person. Reunited with Alibaster, their "married couple" style of bickering resumes, but nonetheless they find ways to work together and endure.  The comm that Essun is living with is spared no shortage of problems, both internal and external. Her chapters are filled with discovery and learning about the history of the planet and the obelisks that are floating around them, as well dramatic confrontations and even some action scenes.

As much as Essun holds her own, the real draw to this sequel is Nassun, Essun's missing daughter. Nassun's narration starts on the day the season changes, when she comes home to find her father has killed her brother. Her story continues until she reaches the far-side of the world, where she begins to learn more about orogeny. The heart-breaking desperation that made The Fifth Season so tragic and hard to read at times finds its new home in Nassun's chapters.

Despite my belief that The Fifth Season could have stood on its own, The Obelisk Gate proves to be a well written sequel. With the final book due out next year, I can only hope (all though it seems a fore-gone conclusion at this point) that we'll be getting the ending to one of the genre's best trilogies ever written.

Score: 9.2

No comments:

Post a Comment