The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3) – N.K. Jemisin

Check out my review of the first two novels, The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate

the stone sky

3 starGenre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Orbit


The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

It pains me to rate this novel three stars because I really enjoyed its predecessors. Unfortunately, The Stone Sky left me confused and bored for most of the novel.

The Fifth Season is easily the best novel in the trilogy. It executes character development, world building, and plot details perfectly while also commenting on real world social issues. The Fifth Season’s arc contained within the novel, but leaves bigger picture questions and world building unanswered. Since the arc is contained within the novel, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky feel like different stories. They differ in terms of tone, pace, and character perspectives. So as the story progressed, I found myself enjoying it less and less.

The Stone Sky introduces a new perspective that I disliked immediately and, unfortunately for me, it revealed very important questions and answers. This is what contributed to my dislike of the novel. I found myself having to reread whole sequences and chapters to understand what was being communicated. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of the writing, but it’s hard to enjoy something that’s confusing and does not clearly depict what’s trying to be communicated.

Additionally, I found these chapters to be a distraction from Essun. When Essun was first introduced in The Fifth Season I immediately connected with her and her story and this connection grew throughout The Obelisk Gate. I probably didn’t absorb everything I was supposed to from these new chapters because I was eager to get back to Essun and her storyline.

The last few chapters of The Stone Sky are flawless. It’s explosive, emotional, and satisfying (despite my issues with the new perspective and my lack of understanding). I closed the book and thought it was a wonderful conclusion to the characters’ arcs, but not necessarily for the world and its future.

Overall, The Stone Sky, and by extension The Obelisk Gate, are very different novels in every possible way from The Fifth Season. I found this shift hard to appreciate, but still found the novels worth reading.


Have you read The Broken Earth trilogy? What did you think?

2 thoughts on “The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3) – N.K. Jemisin

  1. Aw man, the confusion sounds killer here. I do have to give this series a shot ASAP though. Thanks for the honesty. I’ll make sure to give 200% of my attention to this sequel when I get around to it. 😀

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