The Broken Earth trilogy continues with The Obelisk Gate, and author N.K. Jemisin certainly hasn’t lost any passion for telling Essun’s story. The Obelisk Gate unfolds the dramatic early days of the Stillness’ latest Season, without losing the steam generated by its predecessor. But before we dive in, a warning: This review contains possible spoilers for The Fifth Season, my review of which you can read here.
Like The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate shifts between the points of view of its major characters. But, although the first Broken Earth novel focused only on Essun, at three different points in her life, The Obelisk Gate opens up to include narration by Nassun, Schaffa, and Hoa, deepening the reader’s understanding of what, exactly, their situations mean for Essun’s ever-changing mission.
That’s not the only major change Jemisin makes this time around, however. Where The Fifth Season gave us an overview of the Stillness, orogeny, and Seasons, The Obelisk Gate dives into the nitty-gritty without hesitation. Alabaster’s abilities are explored more fully, and the novel’s orogene characters are more interested in telling us how their powers work than in describing the almost mathematical execution of each torus. The result is a novel that doesn’t merely exist in the world Jemisin created, but opens it up to new and deeper, meatier explorations.
Taking these different approaches doesn’t strain Jemisin’s writing skill, nor does it make The Obelisk Gate difficult to read for those who fell in love with The Fifth Season. Rather, it provides a filling reading experience, and readies the audience for the culmination of the trilogy in 2017.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.
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