Friday, July 21, 2017

The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate is the second book in the Broken Earth series, and was nominated for at least the Nebula and the Hugo this year.  I really enjoyed the first book, The Fifth Season, and was looking forward to this one also.  It did not disappoint.

Our protagonist, Essun (once Syenite--that gets confusing, I don't think I ever figured it out from the first book) has gone in search of her daughter Nassun, but has pretty much given up on that quest and is trying to settle into Castrima, a comm (community) where orogenes are welcomed and have been summoned.  Essun tries to fit in, but it isn't really working.  Especially because her mentor, Alabaster, is dying there but trying to pass on his knowledge to her.  We also get to see some development of Nassun, who survives a journey with her father to an orogene colony in the Antarctics.

There is some real and fascinating progression in the plot, more than enough to keep the story very enjoyable.  We learn more about the very alien Stone Eaters.  It took me awhile to remember where the Stone Eater Hoa fits in--might be worth skimming the previous volume as Jemisin doesn't spend a whole lot of time reviewing the previous book.

I think it's a contender for a sweep this year, though All The Birds In the Sky and Borderline will give it a run for the Nebula.  I give a narrow edge to Borderline but Jemisin is better known and may be the favorite.  This book is four stars, and I'll look forward to the last one.

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