Book Review: The Obelisk Gate

Originally published: August 16, 2016

Author: N. K. Jemisin

Publisher: Orbit


Okay. Now what was that?


You liked the concept of The Dreamblood duology. You enjoyed the world-building in The Inheritance Trilogy. But this time, my fellow reader…what can I say?

Maybe you ought to call this “universe-building”, instead of the usual world-building, because this is a whole new level.

The book follows the story from where the first novel left off, with the “Season” – the post apocalyptic period – now in charge. Essun is traveling in search of her daughter, Nassun, while we get to see the later’s complicated relationship with her father.

The book expands greatly, revealing a heap of details about the world, the Stillness, the Orogenes, and of course, the Obelisks. The history of the universe and the different peoples living in it are a very welcome expansion this time.

As usual, the characters are what drives the book forth, which is an area where Ms. Jemisin always excels. They read like real, living, breathing people with strengths and weaknesses. You could easily believe they were actually lived somewhere, sometime in the world.

Many deeper themes are explored of course, some subtle, some obvious. It is definitely a thought-provoking book, but in an interesting and audacious way.

What about the middle-book-syndrome? We all know the author had set quite high standards in the The Fifth Season, but I didn’t think that Obelisk suffered. Perhaps a few areas read slower than we saw before, but I guess in a book this extensive and with so many aspects to shine the light upon, this was expected, and I didn’t mind, to be honest.

So the verdict? Well, there’s a reason one of the books in this trilogy got a Hugo. Books this deep restore the reader’s interest in the whole fantasy genre.

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