Book Review – The Obelisk Gate

I recently reviewed The Fifth Season by the excellent N.K Jemisin and I was so impressed by the book, as you can see in my review that I immediately jumped into reading the second instalment of The Broken Earth Trilogy. This saga has quickly become a personal favourite and as such I approached this book with anticipation but also with a bit of dread. It is well know that many times in book trilogies, especially in fantasy and science fiction the middle book tends to drag a little bit and usually really slows the pace of the saga in favour of the concluding third book. However in this case, N.K Jemisin was able to masterfully avoid this, and just like the first book, The Obelisk Gate was also awarded the Hugo Award for Best Novel. As always I will keep this spoiler free.

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In the second instalment of the book we follow once again Essun in her search for her daughter and her adventures in the world of Stillness. However in this book we are added a new point of view which keeps the book fresh and dynamic, greatly adding to the story. Furthermore throughout the book we learn more about the way the world, Stillness, works and how the world ended up like that with devastating climatic disasters known as the Fifth seasons. The plot in this book really develops the world and the setting, it ties up some knots left from the first book and leaves plenty to discover in the final book of the trilogy. It also includes new developments regarding old characters that surprise you and keep the story fresh.

Once again the characters are the most important and well developed aspect of the book. Through them we understand the world they live in, the society (so different in many ways to ours) and everything that surrounds it. Throughout the development of the story you can’t help but relate to the characters and come to understand and share in some ways their view of the world they live in. The relationship between mother and daughter, the complicated love they share and the differences between them really drives the story and helps it keep it grounded despite the fantastical elements and the power they possess. Once again, N.K Jemisin is able to give us beautiful characters and her style leads you as a reader to become incredibly invested in the story and the characters. She is able to again challenge sexual taboos and racial issues in an enthralling manner, and although those happen in a fantastical world it is very easy to understand them, especially considering the state of the world we currently live in.

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The pace of the book is fast and the story never drags along. I devoured this book in two sittings and found myself incredibly involved and absorbed by the story, trying to learn and understand all the secrets that are slowly being revealed in the novel. N.K Jemisin has quickly become one of my favourite authors and I love reading her works. The books will soon be developed into a TV show and I for one find myself incredibly happy to have been able to read the books before the show comes out. I am already reading book three so you can expect to get a review about it pretty soon (although I won’t be able to read as fast as before since my vacations are over). I have loved travelling to Stillness and discover that world, a world full of racial conflicts and gender issues, a world that despite its uniqueness has become familiar to me. A world that has a very important message for us and the way we are currently treating our own world. I am now ready to read the final chapter of this exciting and incredibly trilogy.

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