Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Magnificent Follow Up: The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Series: Broken Earth, #2
Released: August 16th 2016
Publisher: Orbit
Length: 448 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.
It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.
It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.
The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

From the critically acclaimed author of The Fifth Season comes a follow up novel that will thrill every old fan and attract many new ones into this fabulous world of seismic catastrophes and magic. N.K. Jemisin put her considerable experience to good use and created a sequel worthy of all the awards that now shine on the cover of its predecessor. The Obelisk Gate is a symphony, a literary achievement that will endure the test of time.

This second book brings with it a slight shift in genre, taking us from straight up fantasy to a blend between fantasy, dystopia and post-apocalyptic science fiction with paranormal elements. Jemisin blends all this variety perfectly, with a very clear idea where she wants to take it. The world expands even more, the many sides of the conflict are more visible, but there are still mysteries to unravel and many more surprises ahead.

The narrative voice itself finally reveals itself towards the end of the book, and it brings with it astonishment and plenty of speculation. In fact, everything Jemisin does has hidden meanings and many possible consequences and each new revelation brings forth the fact that no one is safe and not many will be spared.

New characters are introduced, but the old ones shine. There are such complex relationships and emotions, sometimes very difficult to process or even understand. Essun’s fight for her daughter, the one she didn’t quite know how to love; Nassun’s rebellion against a mother she sees as cold and even cruel; Alabaster’s fight against nature itself, Jija’s waffling between affection and deep hatred towards his only daughter; the stone eaters’ motivations; and, above all, Shaffa’s repentance and change. It’s all such a complicated tangle of deeply flawed people and imperfect motivations that we mostly struggle to understand where any of them coming from.

Essun and Alabaster are without a doubt the highest point of this book, the odd dynamic between them warming our hearts even when they show each other nothing but cruelty. The reluctant family they’ve built, now down to just the two of them, was more important than Essun ever wanted to admit. There is such unfathomable pain between them, but there is still love that sparks, true friendship that endures despite the odds.

Overall, even with two more books to go, The Broken Earth series can already be considered the very best of its kind, a celebration of the art of literature with superb characterization, almost unparalleled diversity and a story that will continue keep us all on the edge of our seats.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. Okay. I'm convinced even though I'm not a high-fantasy fan. Sometimes, you just had to experience an author's work once in your lifetime.

  2. Why do you keep convincing me to add books to my pile? Now I must read this series.

  3. wow that's great when you have a good book like this second novel! I didn't know about it and I wonder if I know about book 1 (will check it out) but that's nice!

  4. Trying to get different opinions through reading books.

    This one was a great match.

  5. Well Maja, apparently I must add these to my collection. Beautiful review ;)

  6. Gorgeous review! I have the first book in this series on my TBR. I was impressed with the author's other series, The Killing Moon. Very original! Also, she has some amazing covers.

  7. Oh wow! "The Obelisk Gate is a symphony, a literary achievement that will endure the test of time." That is some major praise and totally caught my attention. This sounds like something I really need to have on my shelf. Brilly review!!

  8. woooooooow i love the cover so much. <3 thanks for sharing!

  9. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Maja! I'm really excited to give this author a shot seeing as I've been meaning to read her books for awhile now so I might be starting with this series of hers thanks to your ringing endorsement. Fantastic review, dear! :)

  10. I haven't heard of this series, but it sounds really good. I'll have to check it out!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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