Oh my goodness gang! Ms. Jemisin knocks it out of the park yet again. You know how in a lot of trilogies you assume the second book is just filler, getting everyone in place for the final act so you don’t really read it as closely? Yeah, that doesn’t happen here. This one is just as good, and arguably better than The Fifth Season.
Spoilers abound below folks. Go read both first. I’ll wait, and then we can all wait impatiently for the final installment together.
Also apologies in advance if I misspell anything here. I listened to the stories so my spellings are probably funky.
The Obelisk Gate continues exactly where The Fifth Season left off. Essun is back with Alabaster, and the plan is starting to get into place. Nassun, Essun’s daughter, gets to tell her part in the story this time around. Where she’s been in all this time, and where she is going. Schaffa, Syenite’s Guardian, also gets to tell a little bit of what happened to him from the end of The Fifth Season as well. Through all three of these stories the characters are moved into place for the last part of the story, and it’s going to be a doozy.
I do have one criticism for this book over The Fifth Season. This one mentions a lot more minerals than the first, and the lovely narrator, Ms. Miles, cannot pronounce a lot of them. As a pseudo half bred ESS (earth and space science) grad student for a while I know my minerals, and every time she mispronounced spinel it made my teeth grate. There are a few others, and I want to ask why no one corrected her, but honestly they probably didn’t know.
Besides that though, can I just say how frickin’ awesome it is to have a series of books where the protagonist is a 40 some year old mother who’s not having some existential crisis about how hard it is to raise children? Essun is amazing. She has a life full of experience, and still does everything in the hopes of finding her lost child. Also she’s a person of color so we have the added bonus of the fact that she doesn’t look like the “preferred race” of this world. Overall Ms. Jemisin has created one of my favorite heroines ever right here, and there’s still one book to go. Although, is she a hero? We shall see.
Anywho, go read the first book. Go in blind. Then immediately read this one. They we can all hang out impatiently for August 15th (release date!!). I promise they’re worth it if you like excellent world building, interesting points of view, and people being badasses.