Sunday, November 18, 2018

Review: The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
Published: Orbit, 2017
Series: Book 3 in the Broken Earth Trilogy
Awards Won: Hugo, Nebula, and Locus SF Awards

The Book:

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.”

It has taken a lot of time to figure out what to say about this book, because it was really amazing. I’m still not doing it justice, but here goes...  

Short Review: 5/5

The Broken Earth Trilogy as a whole tells a brutal, emotionally powerful story. The life of Essun, under her variety of names, is at the heart of it, but she shares this final novel with her daughter Nassun and the Stone Eater Hoa.  The Fifth Season sees Essun as she grows up in a society that dehumanizes her and repeatedly destroys her life, and The Obelisk Gate follows her and her daughter as they go through different journeys and grow in different directions.  The Stone Sky is the culmination of both of their arcs, when the two most powerful orogenes must decide what is to be done with the returning moon--change the world, or destroy it?  At the same time, we finally get a glimpse back to the original shattering of the world, through Hoa’s history. It was very interesting to see back into this ancient civilization, to see the fault lines of greed and oppression that led to the destruction of their world.

I feel like another reason this series is so popular lately (aside from it being awesome), is that it addresses the fears and anxieties of my generation.  We, too, live in an energy-greedy society that is facing the reality of environmental decline, and we, too, live in a world where oppression is and has been the norm on many axes.  While The Stone Sky does not shy away from the violence and emotional damage inflicted by these problems, it also does not show us a world without hope.  Despite all of the suffering, there is still hope that the world can change, and that we can find a better way to live.

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