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The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth) Paperback – August 16, 2016
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"Beyond the meticulous pacing, the thorough character work, and the staggering ambition and revelations of the narration, Jemisin is telling a story of our present, our failures, our actions in the face of repeated trauma, our responses to the heat and pressure of our times. Her accomplishment in this series is tremendous. It pole-vaults over the expectations I had for what epic fantasy should be and stands in magnificent testimony to what it could be."―NPR on The Obelisk Gate
"Jemisin builds off of the strong foundation laid in The Fifth Season ... an interesting new series."
―Booklist on The Obelisk Gate
"Exceptional."―Library Journal (starred review) on The Obelisk Gate
"Stunning, again."―Kirkus (starred review) on The Obelisk Gate
"[How] can something as large and complex as this story exist in her head, and how does she manage to tell it to me so beautifully? I can't stand how much I love The Broken Earth trilogy so far.... Absolutely dazzling."―B&N Reviews on The Obelisk Gate
"Stunning.... Jemisin's most accomplished series yet."―RT Book Reviews on The Obelisk Gate
"Jemisin is a tremendously talented writer on every level and she's at the top of her game here. I love books that beat me up and take my lunch money, and this one left me bruised, breathless, and desperate for the final volume."―Rose Fox, senior reviews editor Publishers Weekly, (PW Staff Picks: The Best Books We Read in 2016) on The Obelisk Gate
"Brilliant characters, vivid world, and pacing . . . .The Obelisk Gate is an incredibly ambitious and important novel."―The Verge on The Obelisk Gate
"Intricate and extraordinary."―New York Times on The Fifth Season
"[The Fifth Season is] an ambitious book, with a shifting point of view, and a protagonist whose full complexity doesn't become apparent till toward the end ... Jemisin's work itself is part of a slow but definite change in sci-fi and fantasy."―Guardian on The Fifth Season
"Astounding... Jemisin maintains a gripping voice and an emotional core that not only carries the story through its complicated setting, but sets things up for even more staggering revelations to come."―NPR Books on The Fifth Season
"Jemisin's graceful prose and gritty setting provide the perfect backdrop for this fascinating tale of determined characters fighting to save a doomed world."―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on The Fifth Season
"A must-buy...breaks uncharted ground."―Library Journal (starred review) on The Fifth Season
"Jemisin might just be the best world builder out there right now.... [She] is a master at what she does."―RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!) on The Fifth Season
"[A] powerful, epic novel of discovery, pain, and heartbreak."―SFF World on The Fifth Season
"This is an intense, exciting novel, where survival is always on the line, set in a fascinating, original and dangerous world with an intriguing mystery at the heart of it. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book!"―Martha Wells on The Fifth Season
"Stunning and well constructed ... a book that imbues itself with deeper meaning the more it unfolds and reveals itself, and by the end, I saw everything in a new light. I knew Jemisin was talented, being a huge fan of her Inheritance and Dreamblood books, but here she employs heretofore unseen skills."―Lightspeed on The Fifth Season
"One of the most celebrated new voices in epic fantasy."―Salon.com
"With every new work, Jemisin's ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows."―Kirkus (starred review)
"Heartbreaking, wholly unexpected, and technically virtuosic, The Fifth Season is a tour-de-force. I felt every shock--and the book is packed with them--in my marrow. It's no exaggeration to say that Jemisin expands the range of what great fantasy can be."―Brian Staveley, author of The Emperor's Blades
About the Author
N. K. Jemisin is a Brooklyn author who won the Hugo Award for Best Novel for The Fifth Season, which was also a New York Times Notable Book of 2015. She previously won the Locus Award for her first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and her short fiction and novels have been nominated multiple times for Hugo, World Fantasy, Nebula, and RT Reviewers' Choice awards, and shortlisted for the Crawford and the James Tiptree, Jr. awards. She is a science fiction and fantasy reviewer for the New York Times, and you can find her online at nkjemisin.com.
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Top customer reviews
The Obelisk Gate further develops the world we began to see int he first book. We learn more about the Fulcrum, the Guardians, the obelisks--and even more importantly--about the lives and motivations of characters we have come to love/hate/fear. Essun, as a woman in her mid forties is not your average protagonist. But she is someone who feels a million times more human and relatable than the cardboard cut out perfect princesses of urban fantasy. She is both powerful and humble, kind and cruel, she makes mistakes and has victories. She is in short, a person. And you can feel her blood, sweat and fears throughout the novel.
We finally get to meet Nassun, and understand what is like to be the daughter of such a strong and damaged woman like Essun. We learn more about Hoa. And the dark adversary that Alabaster fights is finally revealed.
This is not a novel that suffers from Second Book Syndrome. So much happens and yet nothing feels rushed. Another brilliant entry into an epic and unforgettable series.
What the hell am I supposed to do with myself until the next book is released?
I really like the writing in this. The way the PoVs is presented really works for me. There are a few first person PoVs and then there is this other narrative by someone that sounds completely different in the way it is presented. I thought that maybe it is the Stoneeater companion Essun is keeping but then there are moments in this that I think perhaps some of them are Father Earth talking.
***We cannot be permitted to win. So this is a confession, my Essun. I’ve betrayed you already and I will do it again. You haven’t even chosen a side yet, and already I fend off those who would recruit you to their cause. Already I plot your death. It’s necessary. But I can at least try my damnedest to give your life a meaning that will last till the world ends.***
The Obelisk Gate covers both Nassun and Essun’s stories. We start off with what happened to Nassun the day that her father killed her baby brother and took her away from her mother. Her story is a little heartbreaking as you learn what Essun did to teach her how to use her magic and the struggles Essun now has to face to stay alive while traveling with her father. It gave the reader great insight into why she would want a parental figure so much that she latched onto the first one that came around at that point in her life.
Essun’s story is just as engaging as Nassun’s and possibly more so since I connected to her in the first book. In the commune she is trying to learn from Alabaster before his imminent demise. You learn that there was a method to his madness and maybe he didn’t just want to destroy the world. Perhaps he was trying to move towards saving it and destroying it is just the first step.
***“Using that to channel the power of the Rift should be enough.”
“To do what?”
For the first time, you hear a note of emotion in her voice: annoyance. “To impose equilibrium on the Earth-Moon system.”
What. “Alabaster said the Moon was flung away.”
“Into a degrading long-ellipsis orbit.” When you stare blankly, she speaks your language again. “It’s coming back.”
Oh, Earth. Oh, rust. Oh, no. “You want me to catch the Moon?”***
There are other dangers of course to be faced. There are Stone Eaters and they have their own agendas including the one that has been following Essun around. There is the growing tension in the Comm between the Orogenes and Stills and even more outside of the Comm as food becomes scarce and other Comms have decided to try and invade for food and supplies. Then there is also the interesting wildlife changes that include some animals hibernating while others have different deadly instinctual habits during a season.
One of the most interesting things for me in this book was getting a little more insight into the Guardians and what makes them what they are. Shaffa’s part in this book with some explanations of ‘gifts’ Guardians are given was especially inventive and creepy. But his relationship with Nassun is equal parts beautiful and terrible. I’m so worried for what is going to happen in that dynamic in The Stone Sky.
***He loses so much else, though. Understand: The Schaffa that we have known thus far, the Schaffa whom Damaya learned to fear and Syenite learned to defy, is now dead. What remains is a man with a habit of smiling, a warped paternal instinct, and a rage that is not wholly his own driving everything he does from this point on.***
This was a really good follow up the The Fifth Season and has one of the more interesting concepts I’ve read recently. I’m really excited to the conclusion to this trilogy in The Stone Sky.
My favorite part of the book was Nassun's storyline. I loved everything about it - the simultaneous love and anger she feels for a parent who killed her sibling, the people and places her journey takes her to, the consequences her actions have. If you stripped out Nassun's story into a book of its own, I'd give it 5 stars easily. There's one particular moment in her storyline where Jemisin pauses the narrative, zooms in on that moment and shows all the disturbing emotional facets of what's happening and it’s just spectacular. She employed this pause-and-zoom-in device to great effect in book 1 and it's even better here.
The part I have more mixed feelings about is Essun's narrative. In The Fifth Season Essun travelled across the Stillness; here she stays in the same place for almost the entire book. For this kind of bottle story to work well, the characters we spend time with need to be well-drawn and compelling - but sadly I can't say that for the dwellers of Castrima-under. Ykka, Lerna, Hjarka and the rest of Castrima’s ruling cast were pretty dull and uninspiring. But there are a couple of bright spots in the mix - Alabaster and Hoa - and luckily their interactions with Essun take up a significant portion of her storyline. And it’s through them that Jemisin starts expanding on the world’s backstory. I really enjoyed the slow reveals that took place over the course of the book. She inventively ramps up both the fantasy and SF aspects of the setting and the climax is pretty **epic**.
I can’t wait for The Stone Sky.
Most recent customer reviews
The second book in the trilogy, and a great sequel!Read more