Author: N.K. Jemisin
Fiction > Fantasy
Fiction > Science Fiction
Published/Publisher: August 18th 2016 by Orbit
Format Read In: Audiobook
Summary from Goodreads (GOODREADS LINK)
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.
My Review [SPOILERS AHEAD]
TW: Child abuse (physical), gore, description of the murder of a child, violence
I really loved The Fifth Season and I hated how long it had taken me to finally get to it! I was warned preemptively that The Obelisk Gate was the weakest in the trilogy (even Jemisin isn’t immune to the Middle Book Syndrome) but hey, it still won her the Hugo award for Best Novel (her second win in a row), so that should be telling of how powerful a writer she is!
What I Liked
- The secondary characters were fleshed out even more as we got to spend more time with them! I started to become invested in them and I really enjoyed seeing how these strangers, all from different backgrounds and all with their own opinions on how to survive, supported each other and tried to understand other viewpoints. Found families are my kryptonite, y’all.
- I fell further in love with Essun this time around. I felt like we got to see many facets of her personality in the first book, but this time around, we got to see more of her vulnerabilities and low self esteem. Still, her sharp tongue and sharper attitude are constants, making her prickly but all-together loyal and lovable.
- On the same note, we got to see a more vulnerable side to Alabaster! Honestly, he’s like the male version of Essun; they act and think so similarly that it’s no wonder they butt heads constantly but love each other so fiercely.
- I teared up listening to Essun and Alabaster bridge the gaps in their relationship. They are a great example of not-quite-platonic-but-not-quite-romantic soulmates. I just love them so much and I wanted to them to have a happy ending together…
- We got so much more from Hua, the stone-eater who’s been loyally following Essun around. He was an intriguing character in the first book but we got to see more of his insights this time around and now I’m more invested in him. He sort of fits that trope where he is trying to remember how to be human even when people around him don’t believe he is one.
- That ending was absolutely breath-taking. Honestly, that itself is worth the read.
What I Didn’t Like
- This time around, we follow both Essun’s POV (as narrated by Hoa) and Essun’s daughter, Nassun, who we’d thought had been kidnapped but is revealed to have willingly gone with her father to find a ‘cure’ for her orogeny just as the Season hit. That meant that we spent half the book with her, which is unfortunate for me because I didn’t like Nassun. I just couldn’t get over my dislike, which was surprising to me because I tend to be lenient with child characters and especially when they’ve experience some serious trauma. When she murdered everyone in the Antarctic Fulcrum, it solidified by dislike of her; at that point, she was no better than the bigoted murderers who targeted Origins. I think part of my dislike for her is my love for Essun, which is the greatest irony.
I’m heading right into the final book! I just can’t wait to see how this series concludes and finally have answers to the many questions this book brought up!
My Rating: 4/5