This second book was still really good, but it didn’t feel as revelatory as the first one did. I mean, that was inevitable. (Oh, boy, though nothing like a first book in a series that smacks you upside your head.) Still, this is a great second book. Second books are hard. They’re not as fun as first books, because beginnings are wonderful, but they still have to be interesting and matter without giving too much away or ending the story. It can be hard not to feel like you’re treading water as a reader (or as a writer, let’s be honest) while reading a second book.
The Obelisk Gate walks the line perfectly, upping the stakes and layering in emotion and conflict, and it has a satisfying ending that still leaves you wanting more from the next book.
The stakes are upped in two main ways: 1) There is increasing conflict in Essun’s new comm as the Season worsens outside, and 2) Essun’s missing daughter and her mentor/Guardian/enemy Schaffa are introduced as point of view characters. They provide a nice window into what’s going on elsewhere in the Stillness, and also give us an idea of the forces Essun has arrayed herself against.
And as always, Jemisin is brilliant with characters. I was particularly impressed with the way she wrote Nassun, who is grappling with a lot of confusing, complex and very contradicting emotions. She’s finding herself growing up in a world that is falling apart in, like, all the ways ever.
Anyways, Jemisin is seriously becoming one of my favorite authors. I really need to go back and read her Dreamblood books. I guess I have time now and everything since I have to wait ANOTHER YEAR for the last book in this series. I’m sure you all know the pain I speak of at this time.