The more of Jemisin’s works I read, the more I fall in love with her craft. The Obelisk Gate is book two in her Broken Earth Trilogy, and even though I’m normally not the biggest fan of any middle book in a trilogy, I enjoyed this book even more than her first one.
We pick up the story almost exactly where we left off in book one, and follow Essun as she pivots her focus from finding her daughter, Nassun, to assisting the orogenes of Castrima in the hopes of figuring out how to close the rift and survive the Season. This book is split between Essun’s POV and Nassun’s, as we learn what becomes of Nassun after she is forced to leave with Jija. In usual Jemisin genius, the two stories parallel each other, their twisting plots centering and turning on each other throughout the story in a way that both begs for more information and also satisfies the reader’s inquiry. It’s a tough balance to strike, and Jemisin does it beautifully.
As with book one, the most impressive part of Jemisin’s craft is her ability to write so effectively in second person. I think the brilliance of it is that we’re only ever in second person with Essun, which cements our understanding of the ‘you,’ while simultaneously making the reader both feel that they’re at the mercy of the narrator and also in the driver’s seat. Which is probably how Essun feels all the time as a character.
Jemisin’s narrative style is also a thing of note, as the language choices of her second and third perspectives have both a warm and inviting feel while also managing to keep the reader on their toes. It’s not describable so much as felt through the narration, and I’ve never read another author who’s been able to pull off a dichotomy like that so effectively.
Jemisin is quickly becoming my new favorite author and I can’t wait to read the last book in the trilogy.
Bingo Square: Uncannon