While the whole Broken Earth series was incredibly deserving of the Hugo award, the Stone Sky, in particular, was a feat of literary perfection (at least in my opinion). As I’ve said with both of Jemisin’s previous novels, her ability to successfully deploy second person POV continued to astound me in this last chapter of her epic, and while hints are given in book two of who this narrative voice is, it all comes roaring to the surface in book three.
As with any trilogy, to give away any of the plot is complicated since it’s so intrinsically tied to the first two volumes, but we’ll suffice it to say Jemisin pulls out all the stops in this one, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so satisfied with a story ending. But let’s take a moment to talk about craft; Jemisin has this amazing ability to stroke out a broad, and almost vague sentence that cuts closer and more debilitating than any showy paragraph. At one point towards the middle of the novel, Essun is traveling across the wastelands of her continent with her comm in the hopes of finding a new shelter, and the one paragraph simply suggesting the cannibalism, death, and horror they face is so much more cutting than if Jemisin had described it all.
There’s a definite less-is-more about Jemisin’s writing that both keeps the reader at a distance, but pulls the reader into the depths of these characters’ minds. It’s a reading experience I’ve never encountered before, and by the end of this series, I couldn’t get enough of it. And I’m not really doing it justice in this review, the writing is one of those things that just has to be experienced, so please, if you love speculative fiction, read this series. It’s worth it.