Monday, 12 March 2018

The Stone Sky

The Stone Sky is the final book in the Broken Earth trilogy and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous books.

Yet because you are essential, you cannot be permitted to have a choice in the matter. You must be tools - and tools cannot be people.

Honestly, I've never read a trilogy where each book has been just as strong the the others and all blindingly fabulous. How I'm meant to review the final book in the Broken Earth trilogy, I don't know, but I'd urge everyone to read it. If you shy away from epic fantasy because you think it's all like Game of Thrones, fear not, please just give Jemisin's books a try.

With Castrima destroyed, the surviving members of the comm must move and find somewhere new to settle. Do they blame Essun for their predicament? How much of herself did she sacrifice envoking the Obelisk Gate? Nassun is also on the move, her youthful innocence gone now that she sees the true evil of the world. Will mother and daughter meet again before the world ends for the final time?

An apocalypse is a relative thing, isn't it? When the earth shatters, it is a disaster to the life that depends on it - but nothing much to Father Earth. When a man dies, it should be devastating to a girl who once called him Father, but this becomes as nothing when she has been called monster so many times that she embraces the label. When a slave rebels, it is nothing much to the people who read about it later. Just thin words on thinner paper worn finer by the friction of history.

The narrative structure completely makes sense by the end of this book. The second person narrative wasn't just a stylistic choice, I just loved getting to that moment. The story of the stone eaters is also played out and how the world got to the state it's in. There is even a bucketful of sympathy for the Wardens, as much victims of circumstance as anyone else. It's so emotional, sad and uplifting at the same time.

It is more explicit about slavery than the other books, although it was always there to see reading between the lines; the forced obedience of the orogenes, breeding programmes and how the Stills didn't consider orogenes human. If the world had enslaved you, and people like you, would you seek revenge rather than save it? It is hard not to think of the terrible things that have been done by humans, to other humans and the earth alike.

The undercurrent of climate change has run throughout the books, it's hard to ignore with all the natural disasters kicking off seasons, however I think the message was strongest here. Father Earth may not be a sentient being in our world but we should respect him and know our limits. The Earth is not just one massive resource to be mined until its gone.

There's nothing we did to provoke their fear, other than exist. There's nothing we can do to earn their approval, except stop existing - so we can either die like they want, or laugh at their cowardice and go on with our lives.

Sometimes it's bittersweet getting to the end of a beloved series, but this time I'm excited because I know there's more of Jemisin's work out there already, just waiting for me to discover it. I also think these books are contenders for re-reading, the world is so complex and I'm sure there's more to absorb.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: An allegory
Science Fiction vs Fantasy Bingo: It's the End of the World As We Know It

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Book Source: Purchased

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