Title: “The Obelisk Gate” Author: N. K. Jemisin Series: The Broken Earth No. 2 Genre: Fantasy Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Broken Earth series is an experience. It’s so off the beaten path of typical fantasy novels that I feel like I’m getting a special treat every time I pick one up.
Jemisin gets major kudos for originality, creating one of the most unique stories I’ve ever read. Her world building and overall concept for the story was delivered with a shadowed, almost creepy atmosphere that will stick with you long after you put it down. The real brilliance lies in the writing. In “The “Fifth Season,” Jemisin wove her story through three different perspectives, the most compelling of which was told in second person, which utilizes the “you” pronoun: “You walk to the edge of the cliff. You don’t much like heights.” It’s a writing style you don’t see very often because it’s difficult to pull off. The Obelisk Gate was told with two POVs, the primary of which also utilizes second person. The way Jemisin wove all of those POVs into a braided plow was phenomenal.
“The Obelisk Gate” was a strong sequel, keeping all of the amazing attributes from “The Fifth Season” (for the most part). There weren’t quite as many moving parts as the story narrowed its focus, but it still had a cool atmosphere, interesting POV’s, and loads of great world building. And answers. A lot of mysteries were introduced in “The Fifth Season” without really being expanded on. Many events that happened started to make a lot more sense in hindsight after the revelations revealed in “The Obelisk Gate.” What’s more, it set up new questions that promise an epic conclusion with “The Stone Sky,” currently slotted for release on Aug. 15.
While reading the Broken Earth trilogy, I constantly marveled at how brilliant I think it is — five stars across the board. When finished, however, I always seem to look back on it fondly but with a slight pit in my stomach. Some of the scenes are so profound that I doubt I’ll ever forget them, which is a mark of a truly exceptional writer. But it’s that pit that makes me constantly question my rating. I’m not used to books throwing me into such turmoil long after I put them down. I change my mind about the rating for this series on a daily basis, bouncing back and forth between 4 and 5 stars. I’ve landed on a solid 4.5 stars, but regardless of the exact number, just know if you decide to give this series a try, you’re in for a stellar read.
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