The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate

eBook - 2016
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The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring -- madman, world-crusher, savior -- has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever. It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy. It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last. The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Orbit,, 2016
Edition: First edition
Description: 1 online resource (433 pages) : map
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780316229289


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Jul 29, 2021

The second book of the Broken Earth series picks up where the Fifth Season left off. The Rift has sent the world into another season and sent Essen on the run. She finds refuge with a community that includes oregenes like herself and she also finds Alabaster among them. Alabaster created the Rift that has sent the world into a Season, but he is dying and he wants Essen to finish the work he started. There are other factions at play, including Essen's former Guardian, Schaffa, who now has Essen's missing daughter Nassun under his care. Essen is powerful, but Nassun may be even more powerful than her mother and the two may end up on opposites sides of the coming battle. Jemisin's spectacular worldbuilding and narrative style with pull you in and leave you wanting more. An excellent series.

pacl_teens Jul 14, 2021

"The end comes near and civilization has turned into a long cold night. Alabaster, a madman, has a mission and a request. Essun is asked to follow his commands, if she does the stillness’s fate will be sealed. Meanwhile, Nassun is far away from her mother and grows her power. She would also deal with her father who brutally killed her brother. The world is crumbling with war and destruction, but that only makes it easier to hope.

The pace of the book felt a bit slow and some characters had little development, but other aspects of the book made up for it. Similar to the last book, the world-building was well written and very interesting. In addition, having the perspective of two characters also made the story more interesting. The story was also filled with mystery which made it really engaging and thought-provoking. Also, the topic of oppression was something I found captivating. Overall, a great continuation of the first book." -Michael, Grade 10

Apr 21, 2021

A bit slow going but the ending was great. I will most likely read the next book

LoganLib_Sheridan Mar 30, 2021

Somehow this book manages to be even more full on than the previous book in the series. There's a bit of fluffing around towards the end, before the climax, but as always Jemisin keeps you on the edge of your seat.

We get to read from Nassun's perspective which is interesting. Sometimes I just kind of want to strangle her or lock her in a room with her mother so they can figure things out. I get being frustrated with your parents but throw in orogeny and you're on a whole other level. To be fair though Jija is an idiot.

Essun definitely gets her worldview shifted in this book and of course Alabaster does a lot of the shifting but we get to meet some non-fulcrum trained orogenies and see how they taught themselves and what they learned.

I'm still not entirely sure who is on what side though I'm assuming since Essun is the main character and she has her goal given to her by Alabaster and supported by Hoa that this is the side we should be supporting too. I just don't know who else is on their team.

The ending was just an absolute climax as usual so I really need to get into the next book ASAP to see if YES I DID JUST READ THAT!

Mar 19, 2021

Awesome second instalment in the trilogy, at least as good as the first book if not better! You really do need to have read the first book (The Fifth Season) to appreciate this one. Among the best sci-fi/fantasy I have ever read!

Hillsboro_RobP Dec 16, 2020

Jemisin resumes her take on Evil Earth, breathing more life into her world of Orogenes, Guardians, and Rock Eaters with deep explanations and a plot that spins in a tightening orbit around familiar protagonists and new villains. It's different than the first volume: not quite as mysterious, not quite as finite, but it adds a great deal of tension and turns the pages quickly with conflict and fear. Her ability to fit fiction relevant to the modern reader seamlessly into her tale is unmatched.

Dec 14, 2020

I found this novel to be a very strong follow up to The Fifth Season- which, on the surface, seems like an extremely difficult task. Sophomore efforts often feel like filler, or take the story far off course from the direction and feel of the first. Jemisin continues the story without a hitch, giving us more of the characters that we loved (or loved to hate) from the first; Essun, Alabaster, Schaffa, Tonkee and Hoa, and we get brand new characters and perspectives in Nassun, Jija, Ykka, Hjarka, and many others. The story jumps back in between Essun and Nassun- Essun finds the comm of Castrima, and finds a home among the orogenes and stills that reside there, and learns from Alabaster how to control the obelisks. Nassun and her father's story follows their journey from Tirimo to the comm of Found Moon in the south, where Nassun can hone her skills and learn from orogenes and guardians alike about her powers. The second person narrative was easier to get into this time, and I found myself heavily invested in the story. The story itself was so immersive that at times I had a hard time getting into it, but then also had a hard time putting it down. There were some slow points mid-way, but the last hundred pages or so were riveting. I will definitely be rounding out the trilogy sometime soon.

PimaLib_ChristineR Jul 07, 2020

The Obelisk Gate, the second in The Broken Earth series, is a bit slower paced than The Fifth Season, but once I got into the pace, and focused on the characters, I couldn't put it down. It took me about two weeks to get through the first 80 pages or so, and then two days to get through the other 300. The Obelisk Gate moves from the backstory leading up to the rift of The Fifth Season, and focuses on the Season which has just begun. The Fifth Season, or "Season" with a capital "S" is a season of sudden catastrophic change and death, but this may be the first one caused on purpose. Everyone is beginning to realize that this Season will not be a few years, in fact it may not end for thousands of years, so the question becomes, why did Alabaster do it? Why did he rip a hole through the center of the continent? Jemisin slowly reveals those answers, the players, their underlying conflict and more about orogeny throughout the novel.

With the slower pace, Jemisin has the time to address timeless issues, like "what is love?". As we follow Nassun, we learn that her mother Essun has broken her hand, just as Essun's hand was broken when she was younger; both done out of "love." Jemisin comes back to this idea again and again. Nassun wants to help Schaffa, to keep him from hurting, but he refuses. She thinks to herself, "If she hurts him because she loves him, is that still hurt? If she hurts him a lot now so that he will hurt less later, does that make her a terrible person?" It is only her memory of her mother breaking her hand and saying "If you can control yourself through pain, I know you're safe" that turns her away from the path of force.

Nassun, Essun, and Schaffa all want to be better people, they all want to NOT hurt other people, but Jemisin questions whether that is always possible. Essun kills someone because they were trying to harm a child. Will her own mental traumas allow her to choose a kind path? When her community votes on who gets to stay or leave, Essun uses the threat of violence to get her way, telling them "no part of this comm gets to decide that any other part of this comm is expendable. No voting on who gets to be people." That seems like a worthy goal, but was this the only way to get there? Jemisin certainly doesn't answer that question for the reader, but leaves it up to us to decide.

Besides all that deep philosophical/psychological stuff, the changes wrought by a Season biologically are also amazingly developed. How do animals fail, survive, and some even thrive when the environment changes so drastically in so short a time? How do humans adjust their lives and communities, enforcing their own natural selection.

In other words, The Obelisk Gate won the Hugo Award, not necessarily because of the sci-fi future Jemisin has envisioned for us, but because like all great sci-fi, she has focused on what that future means for humans, in ways big and small. Altogether a fascinating and multi-layered read.

Michael Colford Jun 16, 2020

The Obelisk Gate is part two of The Shattered Earth Trilogy, and with uncanny imagination and detailed knowledge, author N.K. Jemisin continues to build a world that is complex, wondrous and unforgiving. The story picks up pretty much where the riveting first part (The Fifth Season) ended, Essun has discovered a hidden underground society, the world's ecosystem is collapsing because of the actions of her one time teacher and lover, Alabaster Tenring. Nassun is still desperate to find her daughter, Nassun, who had been spirited away by her former husband after he had murdered their son. What Essun doesn't realize is that Nsasun has become involved with Schaffa, the Guardian who almost killed Essun (more than once) in the name of protection.

The storyline is complicated, but that's what makes it so compelling, along with the strong-willed assortment of fascinating characters that populate this world. With the literal destruction of the planet on the line, and immense power being bandied about by individuals, the stakes are high. And what about the mysterious Stone Eaters? Will they help humanity or destroy it?

Jemisin's imagination seems boundless, and her writing is top notch. Detailed and emotional, yet infused with an urgency that propels the reader ever onward. I usually take a break between parts of a series, and I have to because I don't have the third volume at hand, but I've ordered it and will start as soon as it arrives!

Apr 19, 2020

2nd book of trilogy

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haushallmartinez Apr 11, 2019

haushallmartinez thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Dec 16, 2018

Natashastales thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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haushallmartinez Apr 11, 2019

Violence: Child abuse


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