Review: The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

Series: The Broken Earth
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Maturity Level: 5
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

This is the way the world ends… for the last time.

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.


This is a really hard review to write, because I can’t assume you’ve read The Fifth Season, but I really WANT you to, so I don’t want to give anything away. But this sequel is pretty impossible to talk about without giving anything away… I’ll summarize by saying OH MY GOD IT WAS SO GOOD.

I knew that all of the books in The Broken Earth trilogy won the Hugo (and were nominated for everything else), so I knew that it was going to be just as good. Like, my brain was aware of that, but I’m not sure that I really understood or expected it. I was so blown away by everything: the style, the narration, the characters, the world-building, the plot twists and turns. GAH! SO AMAZING!!!

One of the things that I think gets understated about this series is Jemisin’s ability to throw multiple giant plot twists at you, completely blowing your mind, but also they were really obvious and you should have seen them coming. And not just at the end, but throughout the book. You wouldn’t think that saying “I finally know what this series is ABOUT!” halfway through the second book is a good thing, but trust me, it is. You have to be willing to accept that you aren’t going to understand everything until probably the very last page of the very last book.

The second person finally makes sense at the end of this book too. I see so many people complaining about it, but I always liked it. It felt very like an oral-storytelling tradition, which makes sense in the context of the world-building. But now I get it. I’ll be curious to see how the final book tackles POV and tense.

I just don’t know what else to say without being spoilery, but I loved everything about this book. I can’t wait to read more, but I’m forcing myself to take a break so I can savor instead of binge.

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