The Obelisk Gate

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Title: The Obelisk Gate
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★ | 5.0 out of 5.0

Note: This is the sequel to The Fifth Season.

I pre-ordered this book and started reading at 12:30am after I received an email from Amazon saying it had been delivered to my kindle. I got as far as the dedication before I started crying so much that I needed to take a break.

To those who have no choice but to prepare their children for the battlefield

In my eyes it’s a wonderful dedication that speaks not only to the happenings of the book, but also to the times that we live in. Times that increasingly become marked by issues of racism and xenophobia. A few days after I finished, N.K. Jemisin won a Hugo for The Fifth Season and her acceptance speech was all things wonderful and beautiful. This series along with others heralds a change in the world of SFF literature. We, as audiences and consumers, want literature that reflects us, engages us, and pushes the bounds of what great storytelling is.

I was a bit hesitant to read The Obelisk Gate, worried that it would be unable to live up to its predecessor and wondering how Jemisin would deal with point of view since the it was a huge aspect of the previous novel. I needn’t have worried so much because I ended up enjoying this every bit as much as the first one. Nearly impossibly, Jemisin managed to write a book that was as emotionally wrenching as the first with as many, if not more, revelations about the world that now exists after the end of the world. Reading this series is like an onion, to use a tired old metaphor, each chapter more and more layers of the incredibly rich world that Jemisin has created are revealed. AND FINALLY we are beginning to get to the core of what is happening and what will be left of the world at the end of the series.

Jemisin continues with the multiple points of view that were also used to establish the world and characters in the first book. Let it be known that Jemisin definitely knows how to pick the right POV and knows which will be able to construct the best story. None of the points of view that are followed throughout are extraneous to the story or take away from the action. I never felt like I was pulled away from a POV or wanted to hurry through a chapter to return to another character. Every single character’s story is incredibly interesting and equal parts horrifying (all for different reasons).

Writing this review without trying to give anything away is so incredibly difficult.

The ending left me in open mouthed awe once I finished and I will say there are some parts I saw coming, but most of it came as a shock. The conclusion sets up everything beautifully for the final book. It’s an ending that lets the audience know that whatever is going to happen in the final book is going to be something huge. The characters are irrevocably changed by their actions. The world is undeniably changed because of the actions of the characters. All we can do is wait for the final book to maybe finally have some answers.

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