The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2)

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.

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The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1)

2020 reread: I recently re-‘read’ this as an audiobook. It’s just as spectacular so far as world and character building go as I wrote last time and this time around I have both sequels to look forward to! I highly recommend it.

Original review:

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The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1)

The Fifth Season takes place in what could easily by (may intentionally be?) a far future Earth where volcanoes, earthquakes, and various other seismic disasters have an annoying tendency to kill off large portions of humanity every few centuries. Combine that with a few powerful individuals (orogenes) who have magical abilities associated with said earthquakes that they cannot always control… And you have quite the world.

It took me a while to realize that the various different sections of the book were following the story of a single character. She went by different names at different times and didn't always have the same powers, so it wasn’t always easy to tell who you were dealing with. On top of that, there are jumps in the timeline from chapter to chapter, covering years (if not decades). Once you finally figure out who and when you’re reading about, it’s fascinating to see how everything fits together. Before that… it’s confusing and a bit frustrating.

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