This is the final book in the Broken Earth trilogy. I need to find out what happens. As proof of how much I loved this series, I read the entire series in the same month. I rarely even finish a series within a year, let alone a month!
Genre: speculative fiction (I waffle as to whether this is science fiction or fantasy. This book is more fantastical than the others.)
Length: 398 pages, 416 pages total
Setting: various parts of the Stillness and Corepoint, after the events of The Obelisk Gate and before the Shattering
Summary: Short version: Will the moon be caught or slammed into the Earth?
Long version: The story is again told in three parts, by Essun and Nassun in the present and Hoa before the Shattering. Nassun has decided to crash the Moon into the Earth, the advice of the stone eater Steel. She needs to power of the Obelisk Gate to do it. Since Essun controls the onyx key, Nassun must travel to Corepoint to use a networked key of obelisks. Essun is traveling with what’s left of the Castima comm to Remanis. The journey is fraught with danger and the city isn’t defensible, but it is full of stores. Once there, Essun needs to travel to Corepoint to reunite with Nassun. Hoa takes her and some compatriots for a final showdown. In Hoa’s story, we learn how the Shattering and stone eaters came to be. Hoa (as Houwha) was designed to be a tuner of the magic, silver threads that run through all life. He and his brethren were to link all the obelisks so they could suck the life energy found at the core of the Earth. They tried to change the purpose of the obelisks, but the Earth had other plans in mind.
Final thoughts: There was no letting up in the quality of the story telling. It is quite rare that I find a series that is so consistently excellent. Not only did I finish all three books in quick succession, but I went out and bought them to add to my personal library.
We find out in this book that the attempts to control the orogenes went all the way back to their creation. They were designed to be a tool, only. However, they were people who had feelings and desires. It took a push for them to gain agency, but after that, the original plan their creators had come up with was dead. Just as well, because it would have eventually killed all life on earth. That’s what you get for being greedy. The people of Corepoint wanted to be able to do all the work without having to put any effort into it. If that meant completely enslaving a neighboring race of people, that’s fine. They aren’t important anyways. If that meant sucking the life from the core of the Earth, that’s fine. They’ll be dead by the time all the life magic has been sucked dry. Talk about short-term gains winning over long-term problems!
Jemisin sticks with her themes of building community and a mother’s love for her child. in the end, Essun and Nassun face off directly. Essun realizes she can’t go back to the old mother-daughter relationship she had with Nassun. Too much has changed for Essun. She also realizes that beating Nassun in the contest of who can control the obelisks and change the orbit of the moon will result in Nassun’s death. Essun has to decide what’s more important – Nassun’s life or her own. I was hoping Essun would have a happily ever after, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Title comes from: The obelisks in the sky, perhaps? Or maybe it’s an oblique reference to the moon. Not quite sure.
Awards won: The Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards for Best Novel in 2018
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #66 for 2018
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