The Broken Earth trilogy concludes with The Stone Sky, an unputdownable final installment in author N.K. Jemisin‘s latest SFF series. Separated by the most recent Fifth Season, Essun and Nassun find themselves on a collision course as they race to end their planet’s seismic flux, once and for all. As you might have guessed, the following may spoil the events of The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate, my reviews of which you can read here and here.
If you’re returning to Jemisin’s series after a hiatus, as I was when reading The Stone Sky, it won’t hurt to give The Obelisk Gate a quick re-read beforehand. The second of the three installments left many stones — no pun intended — waiting to be turned, and those unresolved plotlines converge in the series’ final chapters. If you aren’t up to speed, you might get left behind.
The biggest reveal in The Stone Sky is that of the exact relationship between stills, orogenes, guardians, stone eaters, and the unsteady continent itself. If you’re confused about the differences between any of these groups, Jemisin wrote an excellent explainer back in 2015, which you can read here. It won’t spoil anything, but it will give you some grounding — again, pun not intended — in the event that distinguishing between Midlatters and Arctics isn’t your strong suit.
Like the first two books in the Broken Earth trilogy, The Stone Sky tackles its narrative from multiple angles and timelines. Essun and Nassun return as focal characters, and are joined by a new — but familiar — voice that is telling its story for the first time. This is by far the most brutal of the three books, with characters old and new meeting their ends, and Jemisin does not shy away from pushing Essun and Nassun to the brink with trials of faith, endurance, and moral fortitude.
The Stone Sky certainly won’t satisfy every fan of the series, but it’s a stunning thrill-ride through the Stillness that offers a gritty, but reasonable, conclusion to the story begun in The Fifth Season. When you finally put it down, you’ll want to pick up the first book all over again.
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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Image credit: Andrea Reiman