An end or a beginning? The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin [Book Review]

 

 

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This is the first trilogy I’ve been able to finish in a while. It didn’t disappoint but when I finished it I thought it might be overhyped. Now looking back perhaps not. If only I had a little more clarity maybe I could appreciate this book even more? At the time I was left a little unsure of what was happening exactly.

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“Well, some worlds are built on a fault line of pain, held up by nightmares. Don’t lament when those worlds fall. Rage that they were built doomed in the first place.”

The plot

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetThe plot is rather simple when you take away all the extra stuff. Essun is traveling with her comm (community) to Castrima seeking refuge from the Season. However, her main focus is to try and use The Obelisk Gate to catch the moon. Meanwhile, Nassun has a little scheme cooked up which might get in the way of that…and also everyone else’s survival.

We get to see more of how Essun has changed and how the people around her have influenced that change perhaps for the better.

On the other hand, while Nassun’s part is a little more fast-paced, I’ve always had a little problem relating to her character so I didn’t feel really invested in her and what was going on with her. Nassun’s story deals a lot with how children cope with the loss of a parent’s love and seek that love elsewhere (in this case with a guy with homicidal tendencies who is a hair away from killing her).

Another part of this book is dedicated to a completely different backstory; how the Seasons came to be and who were the people that contributed to bring them about. This part engrossed me the most and it was great to get an explanation why everything is the way it is through the eyes of a very unique narrator.

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My thoughts

The backstory to the Seasons was very interesting. This world’s history has consisted of a repetitive cycle of oppressors and those that are oppressed. This part was a lot about how a person realizes for the first time that he’s been oppressed his whole life without ever realizing it until he discovers there’s more to life. This was very nicely done! There’s a lot of history regarding how a group of people called the Niess are basically conquered and their descendants are later genetically engineered. They now serve as tools to a society but they are also a living reminder of those people that were once conquered and vilified.

I have been…proud, until now, of what I am. I have been content. But now I see the way these normal people look at us, and my heart aches. I don’t understand why.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetI felt like Essun’s part of the book was mostly filler though it’s not exactly boring by any means. This is a great conclusion to this series. Loved the backstory of how the Seasons began; how this group of oppressed people slowly begin to learn about the outside world and decide they’re willing to die in order to change things. The ending of the book was a great one, one filled with both endings and beginnings for different characters and the world itself. A reread of Books 1 and 2 might be beneficial since by the ending of Book 3 we find out the context of the second person narration that is prevalent throughout the series. Other details in previous books might be better understood once you finish Book 3.

The series itself deals a lot with prejudice, oppression, racism and the self-loathing that stems from these. Jemisin has written an incredible series.

4 out of 5 mortars

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