Review: The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jemisin's second book in The Broken Earth trilogy is just as fascinating as her first and pulls readers deeper into the mystery of a future and unrecognizable Earth where life has inevitably altered and the world of today appears only in the refraction of technologies and cultural artifacts long abandoned or lost. Essun, the protagonist of the first follow, has landed in a com, Castrima, which has been attracting orogenes like herself and who live in an underground construct build with technologies of previous civilizations. There, she continues to learn from Alabaster, her former lover and mentor while also coming to understand the place of orogenes in the past and the future. Meanwhile, her daughter, Nassun has been brought by her father to a place that he believes will rid her of her orogene powers. Instead, a Guardian takes a keen interest in developing her powers in new ways. The story moves seamlessly back and forth between mother and daughter, which each's experience informing the reader of the bigger picture, very similar to the first volume. Jemisin's crafting of characters with their foibles and growth is quite spectacular to watch play out throughout this novel and the previous one. Added to this, Jemisin's future Earth is filled with curiosities that she hints at and keep the reader wondering. Woven into the story is a discussion about human and who gets to be named human and for what reasons that has so much resonance to today and human history, that it raises the bare on meaningful and thoughtful science-fiction.

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