Monday, October 2, 2017

The Stone Sky Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: N.K. Jemisin
Publisher: Orbit
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Broken Earth Book Three
Pages: 464

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This Fifth Season may be the planet's last. But after seizing control of the Obelisk Gate from opposite ends of the world, Essun and Nassun are now aware that the moon's coming back into orbit. Both mother and daughter don't agree on what should be done with this knowledge as one wishes to use it to save the world while the other wishes to destroy it.

The Stone Sky just likes to heap on the suffering. The Fifth Season shows readers how the world broke Essun, The Obelisk Gate shows how the world broke Nassun, and through a series of flashbacks The Stone Sky shows how the world broke Hoa. Of course with two thirds of the narration in the present, all we are constantly seeing is a broken world filled with broken people who are some how still managing to fight to live in it. It's the message, fighting for life and not giving into hate, that's really emphasized. And given our divided world today, the message couldn't seem to be anymore relevant.

As a new major narrator Hoa slowly reveals what life was like on the planet before the world broke. Other details in the worldbuilding also get revealed within time. The Hoa of the past, much like Essun and Nassun, is an almost all together different being from his present self. 

Plot wise The Stone Sky starts off in a meandering sort of way. Essun's story seems to struggle the most, as at this point there really isn't a whole lot of reasons for her to be sticking with the comm she's staying with. Jemisin states it's because she wants to have a place for her and her daughter to return to. Of course the comm was destroyed, and it's not likely to survive its move anyways, so .... why not leave, instead of follow the comm and move with it?

I like that Essun is not mother of the year, recognizes her faults, her shortcomings, and still never gives up. It's a very hopeful message, that's not often written or read about in fantasy. It's a message that can be really inspiring, especially when you're sucking at life. Nassun's growing relationship with Schaffa of all people is a true emotional complication. As Nassun begins to lament, Schaffa is the closest thing she's had to a true loving parent relationship. It's all the more terrifying for the reader knowing just how terrible Schaffa's relationship was with Essun, before she took on that name.

As the book enters its second half, business starts to pick up. Jemisin builds towards a conclusion that is one of the most emotional I've encountered in the genre. As far as this trilogy is concerned The Stone Sky is stronger than The Obelisk Gate, but it never reaches the emotional high point in The Fifth Season. Even still this is one of the best fantasy trilogies ever written period, and The Stone Sky more than delivers 

Score: 9.5

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