Well that was a crazy book. In the The Fifth Season, we spend pretty much the entire story in Essun’s head, learning how the world of the Broken Earth works and watching the beginning of its end. In The Obelisk Gate, things have gotten far worse as the cataclysm really sets in–and yet there are rays of hope.
One of the most interesting bits to me was that rather than having three different points of view from the same woman’s life, this time we’re following multiple different characters in roughly the same timeline. We have Essun (etc) of course, but also a plotline with Schaffa the guardian (he’s was already fascinating and terrible to being with), and the third following Essun’s daughter Nassun as she comes into her powers and has to survive traveling with her father.
It’s an interesting contrast to the first book and actually getting into other people’s heads is something I appreciate.
Plotwise, The Obelisk Gate is actually somewhat weaker than The Fifth Season. While a relative lot of things end up happening through the book, in the end there was a major case of ‘wait, that’s it?’ There are piles of (fascinating) world building , but other than that, everything is relatively self contained and mostly setting up the finale in The Stone Sky. It’s very much a sequel/middle book and for that I’m very glad to see that it’s already out this time around.
We know roughly what needs to happen (the MOON!), but it’s still wonderfully fuzzy what the teams are and how that’s actually going to come to be. I look forward to it!
(Worth listening to. The audiobooks are rather well done.)