The Stone Sky

The Stone Sky

Book - 2017
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""Intricate and extraordinary." - New York Times on The Fifth Season THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS... FOR THE LAST TIME. 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. The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season. The Broken EarthThe Fifth SeasonThe Obelisk GateThe Stone Sky For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out: The Inheritance TrilogyThe Hundred Thousand KingdomsThe Broken KingdomsThe Kingdom of Gods The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition)Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction)The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella) Dreamblood DuologyThe Killing MoonThe Shadowed Sun The Dreamblood Duology (omnibus)"--
Publisher: New York : Orbit, ©2017.
Edition: First Edition.
ISBN: 9780316229241
0316229245
Characteristics: 445 pages :,illustration ;,21 cm.

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LoganLib_Sheridan Apr 07, 2021

Oh my god these books! We get to hear from Hoa (which was amazing - the whole thing is from him but you know what I mean!), Essun and Nassun. Everything just seems to come a bit more together and I finally felt like I knew who was on what side.

I'm not sure I like Nassun's morals/ethics or ideas of friends. She has seriously gone through a lot though and I just hope she can live in peace for a bit and be a child again, maybe with some nice children friends?

Essun however has chosen friends exceptionally well so like maybe Nassun should look to her for guidance. I love how Essun is basically forced to bond with and care about people in this book because that's the only way Essun is going to make friends.

*** SPOILER ***

Essun's sexuality and fertility is interesting to me as an infertile asexual. She just seems to be getting together and having children left right and center and I'm like girl really, you haven't learnt by now? Don't you want some peace? You're in the middle of apocalyptic events!

Her relationship with Lerna seemed quite redundant as does the resulting pregnancy as she turns into a stone eater and then Hoa seems very interested in her but when she asks for a DTR (define the relationship) he's pretty vague. Also like, is she going to tell Nassun that she's alive in some form?

Also Alabaster, now that his job of teaching Essun has just kind of gone off into the void. He's been through all that other stuff with her and I don't expect them to be in a sexual relationship with her but damn!

r
RebelBelle13
Apr 02, 2021

I really think this series should be read as a whole- not as individual sections. They go together so well and so naturally that when I began this one, it was as if I had just finished and placed down Obelisk Gate.
I get the feeling that the reader isn't supposed to like Essun very much. I don't begrudge her for the way she acts and reasons- her life has been hard and ridiculously sad- but her personality leaves much to be desired. Nassun, her daughter, is in some ways exactly like Essun, but in all the ways that matter, isn't like her mother at all. Nassun's journey feels to be driven more by love, and Essun's more of duty and closure.
There's a third perspective here, that of Houwa's- a stone-eater. This is where the story lacks for me. We are dumped into the story of how the Moon was lost, and what happened to start the Seasons all those thousands of years ago. That in itself is interesting. I take issue with the way it is told. It was so confusing and convoluted that I really only ended up getting half of the picture, and I only determined who everyone was and what was happening halfway through Houwa's telling. I understand he's an unreliable narrator, but I felt like I was unraveling the secrets of the universe thread by slow thread and it was beyond frustrating.
I think i was just expecting more. More explanation of the past, of the seasons, of the magic, of the world, more of Nassun and Essun together, more epilogue- just MORE. What is here is beautifully written and vastly different than what I've read before, so there's that.
This whole series feels like something that begs to be read more than once, which is a detriment to someone like me who rarely rereads anything. As it stands, for a single read-through, The Stone Sky feels like a 3.5.

k
Kinesisca
Apr 02, 2021

I really wanted to love this third instalment as much as I loved the first two books in the trilogy. But it fell short. I found it harder to be interested in the characters and relationships across multiple story lines, and the writing was uneven and unable to convey the high-biotech remnants of the ancient world. Still enjoyable and worth completing, but going in with expectations low might be a good strategy. I'll have to come back to the trilogy after a few years and see if I feel differently.

Michael Colford Feb 05, 2021

Minor SPOILERS below.
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As a series, the Broken Earth Trilogy is very strong. As a single book concluding the trilogy, I must say that The Stone Sky is the weakest of the three books. While still incredibly imaginative, gripping, and intensely emotional, there is a whole lot of exposition and historic explanation that N.K. Jemisin has to explain as we approach the conclusion of her epic. In addition, the book rotates between three sets of characters: Essun, arguably our protagonist throughout the entire trilogy (I say arguably, because all of the character make questionable decisions throughout); Nassun and Schaffa, Essun's daughter who she has been chasing after for the past two years, and her former Guardian, who brutalized Essun to keep her under control; and a new group of characters set centuries past that ultimately reveal the history of the mysterious and fascinating Stone Eaters. For me, a lot of time that was spent on Nassun and Schaffa, was just text I had to get through, as I did not have a strong emotional connection to the two characters and their storyline. Of course, they were essential, providing the emotional and physical foil to Essun's raison d'etre, but I could not forgive Schaffa his cruelty and manipulations and his utter brainwashing of Nassun was as frustrating as it was necessary to the plot.

Ultimately, the conclusion was satisfying and powerful emotionally, capping an entire trilogy that marveled your imagination and wrenched your heart all the way through. The complexity of Jemisin's world, spanning eons of time, is incomparable. I very much look forward to seeing her set her pen to to other worlds, Ultimately, this was Essun and Hoa's journey for me, and while I would have liked more of them in this book, I was satisfied with their overall arc.

PimaLib_ChristineR Oct 05, 2020

4.5 🌟

The Stone Sky begins with Essun and her daughter Nassun both aware of the moon's approach to its perigee. Each knows that she can use her power to grab the moon but each wants to do so for a different purpose. They each take different routes to reach the abandoned city of Corepoint on the opposite side of the world from the torn-apart continent on which they live. Interspersed with their travels, we are taken back to the distant past and memories of what life was like before The Shattering that led to the Fifth Seasons.

The Stone Sky, the third in The Broken Earth series, had the same pacing issue as The Obelisk Gate but possibly to a greater extent. This time I felt like the first 60% or so was very difficult reading. The pace was chopped up because the timeline kept changing along with the POV. And while the POV changed a couple of times in the second entry, suddenly we are getting even more characters. All of this backstory and buildup, I felt was the kind of thing that generally goes into the second book of a series, but Jemisin has written the series almost as a mystery, revealing bits along the way. Looking back I'm not even sure if I realized this was a future earth until The Obelisk Gate.

Where The Obelisk Gate dug deep into the scientific premises of adjustment to a world in turmoil, and deeper questions of love and attachment, I felt like The Stone Sky kept it much more surface level on individually experienced emotions, instead using the memories of a time before the Shattering to take a deep dive on "the Other," and how humans have used othering to justify -isms, slavery and torture. The narrator warns us, "... there are none so frightened, or so strange in their fear, as conquerors. They conjure phantoms endlessly, terrified that their victims will someday do back what was done to them—even if, in truth, their victims couldn’t care less about such pettiness and have moved on. Conquerors live in dread of the day when they are shown to be, not superior, but simply lucky." And these are things that need to be said, but I think they could perhaps have been better placed in the middle book.

Then we get to the last 40%. That's when I couldn't put the book down, up, under the covers at 3AM reading until dawn. If the second book dealt with love and all the messed up ways humans try to show it, here Jemisin focuses on loss, how humans react to losing themselves, both literally and metaphorically; and how they react to losing others. The reason this is still nearly a five star book for me is this last section, where everyone really starts moving, we have all of the backstory, and Jemisin rips my heart out. I loved every second of it, ugly crying and all, because Jemisin uses her science-fiction to get at the deeper truths of our lives, leaving me thinking "Yes, yes, that's it exactly."

l
lindahil
Apr 19, 2020

3rd book of trilogy

RyanR_KCMO Mar 11, 2020

There is a reason why Jemisin won the Hugo award three years in a row for the three books she wrote in this, the Broken Earth trilogy. The only other occasion that comes to mind where an author has delivered fantasy with such deft and beautiful language is Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Jemisin’s lines are poetry, sentence after sentence hit you in the chest with their power. The concepts and emotions she communicates could only live to their fullest in this world that she has built. It is staggering. To create such a setting, such a people, such a tradition and then allow them to live to such a result.
This trilogy was pure magic (and a little orogeny).

IndyPL_SteveB Jan 05, 2020

The third and concluding volume of what I think is one of the very best fantasy-science fiction series ever written. Each of the volumes won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. The conclusion is exciting and satisfying, answering most of the questions we have had. The series is so intricate and surprising that there is no way to do much of a brief review without giving things away. If you like fantasy writing, this series should be Number One on your list to read.

In *The Stone Sky*, the orogene Essun and her daughter Nassun have determined they must use the obelisks to capture the moon although, under the influences of different people and different Stone Eaters, the purposes of the two women are very different. Essun and her companions are leading the people of Castrima to a place where they can better survive this terrible Fifth Season. Nassun and Schaffa are trying to get to the world’s center of power, where the obelisks can be controlled.

This is a fascinating combination of futuristic science fiction (with geology and astronomy as the “sciences”) with the magic and psychic powers of traditional epic fantasy. The characters have the deep flaws and wide variety of real people. It is a marvelously creative series.

c
ChrisMcMil
May 10, 2019

Fantastic ending to the trilogy, but a word of warning to hard core science fiction fans: this final installment relies even more heavily than the first two on devices of pure fantasy and magic, the utter absurdity of which occasionally destroys any hope of suspension of disbelief (at least for anyone with a basic science education). Otherwise it’s a very engaging saga, with compelling characters, a rich backstory, plenty of moral and ethical issues to ponder, deep interpersonal conflicts to struggle with, and enough action to keep it all interesting. I just wish the author had put more effort into the believability aspects.

haushallmartinez Apr 11, 2019

The third book in a truly excellent series. Jemisin does some amazing world building, with deep history and metaphysics that follow well, and believable characters. There's great depth here, and an awe-inspiring story.

I'll also add that I listened to the audio version, and Robin Miles as narrator is AMAZING. She uses different but consistent accents and tones for each character, making it easy to tell them apart, and greatly enhances listening to the story.

As a note (and I'll put this over in the warnings), there's a lot of child abuse in the first book. Like, a lot. Like, "I did not realize that was a trigger for me" a lot. The second book sees less, and it is mostly a mention in the third book, but it's very much present.

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PimaLib_ChristineR Oct 05, 2020

...that does not mean Kelenli’s desire to be free is wrong. Or that something is impossible just because it is very, very hard.

PimaLib_ChristineR Oct 05, 2020

But there are none so frightened, or so strange in their fear, as conquerors. They conjure phantoms endlessly, terrified that their victims will someday do back what was done to them—even if, in truth, their victims couldn’t care less about such pettiness and have moved on. Conquerors live in dread of the day when they are shown to be, not superior, but simply lucky.

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haushallmartinez Apr 11, 2019

haushallmartinez thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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haushallmartinez Apr 11, 2019

Violence: Child abuse (less prevalent than in earlier entries in series)

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