The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2) by N. K. Jemisin

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.

Fantasy, 410 pages, published in 2016

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.
[Goodreads]

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content Warnings: child abuse

I’m pretty sure I said this in my review of the first book, but this series is nothing like anything else I’ve read before!

The first book did an interesting things with the points of view, and while I know it wouldn’t have worked in this book, I still missed it. However, there was a new character with a point of view – Essun’s daughter, Nassun. Essun’s entire goal of book one was to find Nassun, so hearing her story was really interesting.

I found Nassun’s journey particularly heartbreaking. She is travelling with her father, and although she knows that he just killed her brother for what he was (and what she is), he was always her favorite. It was easy to forget how young she really is, because she goes through it in this book.

There was a lot of interesting elaboration on the world in this book. I still don’t think I understand it 100%, but I do think I have a better grasp on than I did before.

While I’m thinking back on this book, it doesn’t feel like there was much of a plot, necessarily. The first book was dynamic because most of the book was about travelling, while for the majority of this book, the characters are staying put. The focus was on learning and preparing, but I still found myself really interested in it. It definitely set up for a big conclusion in the final book.

I can’t wait to get to the next book! I haven’t even finished the series yet and I’m already planning out which N.K. Jemisin books I’ll be picking up next.

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The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin

As the world is ending around her, Essun discovers that her husband has killed their son and kidnapped their daughter. Going out into a world of ash, she must track down the remnants of her family.

Fantasy, 468 pages, published in 2015

As the world is ending around her, Essun discovers that her husband has killed their son and kidnapped their daughter. Going out into a world of ash, she must track down the remnants of her family.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content Warnings: death of a child, child abuse, racism/slurs, violence, forced attempts at pregnancy, graphic sex

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting going into this book, but it was so different than anything I had in mind, in a good way! This has got to be one of the most unique, intriguing things I’ve ever read. I feel like on the surface, it doesn’t seem like it would be super different, but that just goes to show how well Jemisin did! I totally understand why she’s queen of the Hugo awards now.

I think a lot of people are turned off of this book because one of the POVs is told in second person. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, but I ended up not minding at all! There are three POVs in this book and it isn’t clear immediately how they connect, so I felt a little lost for a bit, but I did eventually end up enjoying all of them, even if I didn’t understand until later how they connected.

The world is Earth-esque and has a lot of similarities to Earth (though I think I saw Jemisin say somewhere that it isn’t Earth, even in the future). This world has cataclysmic climate change events that happen every few centuries, so society has evolved around the inevitability of these events. Only some people in this world have magic, and those that do are both shunned and used for their powers. Their powers are connected the earth, allowing them to prevent earthquakes, among other things. There are also some other magical things that I’ll leave out due to possible spoilers.

I had an interesting relationship with the world and magic of this book. If I think too hard about it, I realize that I don’t quite have a firm grasp on how it all works, but while reading it, it made sense. I think this is partially my fault and partially because more will be revealed in the next books.

The diversity of characters in this book blew me away! There are characters of all sexual orientations and all races, trans characters, and even a polyamorous relationship. This is what I wish more diversity in fantasy looked like. No need to incorporate Earth-like prejudices and cultural norms in a book that is completely independent of Earth.

I have so many feelings about this book that it’s hard to put them all into words. There are definitely some very dark things explored in this book (mostly described in the content warnings above), so certain scenes definitely affected me quite a bit. Even though I was feeling that way, I never wanted to put this book down because I was just so interested in figuring out the world and what would possibly happen next.

The reason I gave this one 4 stars instead of 5 is because there were just a few things I didn’t understand. I think progressing in the series (which I will definitely be doing) will help, but I also think rereading this series will be great! I was so intimidated by this book initially, but I’m so glad I finally picked it up!

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Series I Hope to Start in 2020!

I’ve been putting off starting new series until I have caught up with other series that I’m reading, and 2020 happens to be that time! I’m only going to be listing series that have at least two books out.

I’ve been putting off starting new series until I have caught up with other series that I’m reading, and 2020 happens to be that time! I’m only going to be listing series that have at least two books out.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (currently 3 books, 7 books planned)

After reading and loving The Priory of the Orange Tree last year, I decided I wanted to check out other works by Samantha Shannon! The three books in The Bone Season series are the only thing that she has written.

The Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin (completed at 3 books)

I have heard such amazing things about this series! I always want to start getting into adult fantasy more, but most of my experience so far has been limited to Brandon Sanderson.

The Iskari Series by Kristen Ciccarelli (3 books currently, ? planned)

My best friend recommended this series to me and the more I look into it, the more intrigued I get. It seems that the books can be read in any order. I’m not sure if there are more books planned in this series.

The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks (completed at 5 books)

This is another adult fantasy series that I have heard great things about. I attempted to read Brent Weeks’ The Way of Shadows, but I could barely make it 10 pages. I have heard that this one is better though.

The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb (completed at 3 books)

I have not heard a ton about what this series is actually about, but I’ve heard plenty of good things about it. I think it fits into a larger series, but for now, I just want to see if I enjoy this trilogy. Also, these covers have turned me off of reading this series, but I do want to read them.

The Rebel of the Sands Trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton (completed at 3 books)

This was another recommendation from my best friend! It seems right up my alley and I trust her judgement in books and her knowledge of what I like.

What series do you want to start this year?

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