The Broken Earth Trilogy (The Broken Earth, #1-3) (2024)


945 reviews

July 5, 2021

Impressive, truly immersive and an addictive read, although I don't feel book 2 and 3 reach the brilliance of The Fifth Season. A very rich series with a lot of exploitation related themes merged into a story that in epicness is comparable to any excellent anime series
Tell them they can be great someday, like us. Tell them they belong among us, no matter how we treat them. Tell them they must earn the respect which everyone else receives by default. Tell them there is a standard for acceptance; that standard is simply perfection. Kill those who scoff at those contradictions, and tell the rest that the dead deserved annihilation for their weakness and doubt. Then they'll break themselves trying for what they'll never achieve

The Fifth Season - 4.5 stars
Survival doesn’t mean you are right
Survival is not the same as living

The detached, ironic, omnipresent and slightly snarky narration in the prologue is quite something, and gives the whole book a distinct feel. Also the mother of the dead boy, Essun, is narrated in a you voice, quite something to get to used to.
Then we have Damaya, the powerful girl who was locked away because of an incident, and is psychologically manipulated in a terrible way to control her, Stockholm syndrome.
The viperpit of school she end up into is fascinatingly sketched by N.K. Jemisin.
And finally imperial Syenite, who works as part of the order, who is subjected to a The Handmaid's Tale like treatment.

The book starts off with super filmic scenes, and is truly gripping to read. The world of The Fifth Season is slowly revealed, with tectonics in overdrive, people who can contain these powers, non-human observants coming from an egg and floating obelisks (Laputa Castle In The Sky like) that give a glimpse of an advance precursor civilization. There is slavery, an unified continent through nodes of tectonic manipulation, utility casts, comms that are short for communities who band together and prepare themselves for cataclysmic events called Fifth Seasons (also known as Death).
Exploitation and power, and the fragility of power only based on only destruction. It is an incredible mix expertly written to keep you hooked and keep on flipping the pages.

The effortless LGBTQ incorporation is also nicely done, although how they are in love/impressed after meeting someone during a week, and the the island society section, was a bit to sudden for me.
Also this society to me seems to be an inverse of the slavery of orogenics (the earth tectonic controlling people who are widely discriminated against), I mean all our leaders have this power, nice if you are a “normal” person that you have new earth-bending overlord, almost like X-Men Magneto style.

However the end results is unpredictable and keeps on your feet, while also being beautifully parsimonious. Very well done.

The Obelisk Gate - 3.5 stars
Being useful to others is not the same thing as being equal
The book starts of with themes of parsimony, with a synergy between loss of a satellite and the loss of a child. The linkage between Ussun and her daughter is interesting as well, a mirroring of the Stockholm syndrome already present in The Fifth Season. Still the geographical standstill after all the traveling in the first instalment is a bit of a bummer. Nassun her perspective has much more conflict and moral ambiguity than Essun her storyline, which has a lot of slow study and getting used to a new society.

The stakes are very high, with an utopian society under threat (But if you stay, no part of this comm gets to decide that any part of this comm is expendable. No voting on who gets to be people), major themes of inequality and justice being played out (It is surprising how refreshing this feels. Being judged by what you do, and not what you are) and dystopia taken to a whole other level with cannibalism become a standard way of living through the Fifth Season coming into full swing.

If anything the comm setting of this book made me think a bit of Mockingjay, Divergent with its underground setting and strangely enough also The Dragon Reborn comes to mind, with the obelisks power being a bit like a s'angreal, but executed in an original and well done manner.
Makes me think of the third part of the Hunger Games and the third book of the wheel of time

Hoa is incredible if his genus being a bit overpowered.
And sometimes characters just seem forgotten for a few hundred pages, which feels strange compared to the razor-sharp pacing of the first book.
We also see more of the potential orogenics, with some choices being a bit strange, like why build a tunnel if you could use the same power to wipe out the enemy? The transmutation of orogeny into magic halfway, while the original is already badass enough in a sense, make the characters even more Overpowered
Also the ethics seem a bit harder/less well reflected upon, with one of the main characters even thinking something like: No one needs to die, except your enemies

Sometimes a bit messy, lacking the total freshness of the first part, and some absurd high stakes and reveals, but still very compelling

The Stone Sky - 4 stars
The Fulcrum is not the first institution to have learned an eternal truth of humankind: No need for guards when you can convince people to collaborate in their own internment.

Nassun certainly needs a lot of therapy could also be a good sub title for this grand finale of the trilogy, a mix at times of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the mountain passage from The Gunslinger by Stephen King and really epic scale anime like Code Geass or Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Emotions run high in this part, sometimes Ykka is the only sensible, if sometimes overly hopeful character, in my view. introducing a whole new society (Syl Anagist) with quite similar exploitation and racism overtones as a third perspective is maybe a bit much in the last part of a series, but gives some background. I am not hundred percent sure how Hoa's people become so radicalised though in such a short period; it feels like a not super well crystallised version of Somni-451 journey to awareness in Cloud Atlas. In general this narrative feels to much alike to Alabaster's or Essun her story. Also too much magic technobabble in his sections for my taste, while I have a high tolerance for that.

Despite this criticism I feel this book is very effective, if for the last big showdown being a bit brief.
It really makes you think of things like if civilization isn’t inherently exploitative, through quotes like:
But for a society built on exploitation, there is no greater threat than having no one left to oppress. And now, if nothing else is done, Syl Anagist must again find a way to fission its people into subgroupings and create reasons for conflict among them. There's not enough magic to be had just from plants and genegineered fauna; someone must suffer, if the rest are to enjoy luxury or You must be tools—and tools cannot be people.

Human endurance and capacity to push on and survive despite horrible conditions and losses really comes back in this volume. What a reader experience in the Broken Earth is the same ecosystem shocks we bring about for or other species, only projected on the human race. In the end there is hopefulness, but not without sacrifice, strive and loss.
A fitting conclusion to a truly impressive trilogy!


3 reviews

October 6, 2018

Though I read each book individually, I will leave my review here, as an overall impression of the series.

First I have to say, I am very glad that I did not read any reviews of this series before reading... though it seems hypocritical since I’m now leaving a review myself. But if I had, I would have had advance warning of its grimness and likely would not have picked it up. I tend not to go for stories that are overly dark.

And yes, this series is dark and grim and full of suffering, but there are tiny strands of hope amongst the hopelessness. The gravity of the book never ventures into overt melodrama either, possibly thanks to its relatively casual narrative voice. Rather, it is grounded in reality and is in fact hugely relevant to many real life current events (global climate change and institutionalized racism, just to name a few).

I will say that the beginning of the first book was a bit of a challenge for me. It throws so much world-building at you and then tells you most of it’s not relevant to the actual story—though in some cases that proves to be untrue. I found myself having to rely on the appendices just to begin to wrap my head around it. Part of my confusion may have been my uncertainty of whether this series was fantasy or science fiction. Many of the fantastical elements are given pseudoscientific explanations, and the books are riddled with unfamiliar geological terms.

In the end, however, once all the strangeness and world-building clicked into place, there was no denying the absolutely masterful writing. I couldn’t help but try to predict where the story would go. When I was wrong, I was intrigued by the creativity; when I was right, I felt satisfied at having correctly pieced together the clues, rather than disappointed by predictability. The characters are all hugely complex and felt very much real for it. And the intricacy of all the plot lines is mind-boggling. Nonlinear narratives are tough to handle, but the way Jemisin connects the timing of events that happened with many years (sometimes literal thousands) between them gives the books a pacing that feels natural, instead of jarring.

I’m very glad that I defied my darkness-avoiding instincts and read these books. I have a feeling they are going to stick with me for a very long time and, if there is any justice in this world at all, become cornerstones of the SFF genre.


557 reviews30 followers

November 3, 2019

An amazing trilogy. It is no wonder that each of the three books won, by their own right, the Hugo Award.

At the heart of this saga are the orogeny, who can literally move mountains, those who despise them and those who "use" them. There is deeper magic here and Jemisin does an amazing job of changing point of views and, rather than using flash backs, she tells stories in different time periods, but weaves them all together to mesh into a fantastic ending in the final book.

To repeat from my review of the final book:

There is an underlying theme in this tale. What first comes to mind is slavery, but in reality, it is the nature of hom*o Sapiens (Latin: Wise Man) whose faulty behavior is forever man's inhumanity to man. Not something that happened one, two or three centuries ago, but what started when time began. Jemisin reflects this in a place called "Syl Anagist." The existence of which occurred tens of thousands of years before the current time of this trilogy. Fortunately, there exist people who believe they can make things better. Just as some people today try to make things better.

Miriam Seidel

Author3 books12 followers

June 29, 2018

Reading each volume of The Broken Earth trilogy by N. K. Jemisin left me electrified. The first two books, The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate, won the past two annual Hugo awards for best novel—a rare occurrence. Her final book in the series, The Stone Sky, is up for the 2018 Hugo. Here’s why I think this science-fiction/epic fantasy trilogy is so important, and why I’m rooting for it to win. (It’s largely spoiler-free.)

The Broken Earth gives us a vastly-scaled vision of global environmental catastrophe.

With Essun, the main character, we enter a world that long ago suffered a planet-wide injury, which has locked the earth into unending cycles of convulsion. Periods of relative stillness are punctuated by Fifth Seasons, with earthquakes, eruptions, and toxic fallout that threaten humankind’s survival. The people of Essun’s time call their planet “Father Earth.” This name jolted me whenever I read it, challenging my ingrained understanding of our planet as Mother Earth, Gaia, the Greek Demeter, etc. But rather than seen as nurturing, this Father Earth is viewed as angry, unpredictable, and punishing, like an Old Testament Yahweh.


146 reviews6 followers

February 13, 2019

This trilogy is one brilliant tome with a narrative structure that illuminates the nature of power, oppression, and justice. You will find characters that will confuse and beguile you. No one is a caricature, and even the theme of good vs. evil is heavily interrogated throughout the stretch of this story. There’s a reason she won 3 Hugo awards for this series. Also, take notes and mark pages, because Jemisin makes you as a reader responsible for maintaining the intricate layers of history that permeate this story, which is perhaps what I find to be the most ingenious ploy on her part to show how hard it is to untangle mythology from ideology from history.


1,652 reviews8,831 followers

January 31, 2020

Mother Earth vs Earth Mother

Reviews of the Trilogy

The Fifth Season - Read Jan 18, 2000 - ✮✮✮✮✮
The Obelisk Gate - Read Jan 23, 2000 - ✮✮✮✮
The Stone Sky - Read Jan 27, 2000 - ✮✮✮✮1/2


114 reviews3 followers

February 24, 2022

One of the rare trilogy where I liked all 3 books equally for totally different reasons.

A fascinating magic system and unique world along with an excellent narrative structure makes this story unforgettable.

Loren Michael

13 reviews1 follower

January 4, 2021

Obviously this book has been analyzed and reviewed by countless people, academics, etc. so I want to just submit that this series had all of the good qualities others say it has, but the thing holding me back from fully enjoying the book was how much time was spent in fully esoteric environments. My favorite science fiction is that which anchors on what we already know and are familiar with, and the twists and adds in clever ways. In this series, once the initial abstract rules are set out, the author goes deeper and deeper into the world's mythology, such that continuing to comprehend the meaning of new plot developments requires remembering all of the arcana that preceded. This makes for effortful reading, especially if one reads intermittently over a longer period of time, as I did. And so I found myself frequently looking up Wikipedia explainers just to remind me of all of the context I needed to understand the significance of each new development. I also much prefer when sci-fi authors spare us readers from extended descriptions of how a world works and instead uses the new setting to refocus on the more relatable human experience. So yes - this series was epic, complex, unique, all of those things. It was also a chore.

James Kibirige

87 reviews18 followers

January 17, 2020

Stunning trilogy from the bright and flourishing talent that is N. K. Jemisin. These books resonated with me on so many levels, they are stories about oppression, bigotry & discrimination seen through the lens of a young girl with extraordinary abilities. They are also stories about parenting, childhood, love & loss.

This trilogy hit me so deeply because I can personally relate to so many of the core themes. Thank you Ms Jemisin for this tour de force that tells a deeply personal story set against the backdrop of an epic Sci fi fantasy. Spanning more than 35000 years of fictional history the mythos, premise & world are at once unique, mysterious and treacherous.

Told from 3 distinct perspectives that unfold & cleverly converge I thoroughly enjoyed the Broken Earth Trilogy. I connected with the characters intimately and was drawn in by the enigma within the first 50 pages.

I really hope that Ms Jemisin releases an apocrypha as I would like to revisit the Broken Earth again sometime in the future.

Rif A. Saurous

173 reviews18 followers

October 5, 2018

Probably you've read this. If not, you should. Easy five stars. (I read the books individually, but since I have nothing else to say about the series other than "yes definitely five stars", I'll just review the box set.)

Update: This book is grim, so if you can't handle grim, it's not for you. It's sad, lots of people who don't deserve it die in horrible ways, there is violence, there is cannibalism, there is ecological and personal disaster. It's still great, but it's grim.

Tristan Cordelia

277 reviews1 follower

July 30, 2019

NK Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy is the first trilogy to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel for all three of its instalments – and it won them in three consecutive years, so inevitably anyone reading it is going to have pretty high expectations. I thought it was… fine. There was some adept character development, and rather than repeat standard sci-fi/fantasy tropes, Jemisin introduced concepts of her own: an angry Father Earth trying to wipe out humanity via earthquakes and other disasters; and Stone Eaters, people made of rock who move through the ground. Her main character is an Orogene, a human gifted with the power to manipulate and soothe the angry earth, but this power is wild and can frequently result in the death of bystanders, both intentionally and by accident, and non-gifted people treat Orogenes as despicable mutants, a la the X-Men, to be either killed in infancy or enslaved to use their powers for the “greater good”. These concepts of Orogenes and the angry earth reflect contemporary, real-word concerns over global warming and the culture wars. I was impressed by the twist Jemisin used to meld the three separate narrative strands in Book One, which was by far the strongest of the trilogy. And the series was primarily written in the second-person, which is an unusual and difficult voice to pull off, but Jemisin managed it.

However, there was a LOT of padding: the Castrima chapters in Book Two and the Syl Anagist chapters in Book Three dragged on with not much happening to characters I wasn’t wholly invested in. This meant that the climactic confrontations which concluded the last two books were sapped of the full impact they should have had. I also couldn’t quite get used to the jargon Jemisin’s characters use – communities are called “comms”, the most common swear word is “rust” or “rusting”. Because these invented terms tended to be slight variations on real-world English, they were jarring rather than fantastical, which impeded my ability to imagine myself into the world (admittedly this is a very minor flaw and pretty common in imagined-world literature, it just bothered me here more than it usually does. I don’t think I can articulate why, though). So I enjoyed reading The Broken Earth well enough, but didn’t think it was great in a Best Novel of the Year sort of way, let alone Best Novel Three Years Running.

However, one further thing I really appreciated was how causally Jemisin introduced trans and queer characters into the narrative as if this was no big thing (much like how the queer characters in The Wire were treated), and how she described the complex, fraught racial dynamics of this fantasy world, in ways that were both alien and familiar to our own. Ultimately, I suspect these novels benefited from the fightback against the Sad Puppies movement, and I’m fine with that. I don’t think the second volume of The Broken Earth was better than Cixin Liu’s Death’s End, for example, but ultimately, awards for art are really a bit nonsense anyway, as you can’t actually rank artistic achievement according to an objective measure. And sometimes the real world intervenes so that you have to allocate prizes in such a way as to take a stand against dickhe*ds.


5 reviews

February 12, 2020

These novels are... different. I wanted to like them, as I'd heard all the glowing critical reception and had previously read the Dreamblood Duology and reasonably enjoyed that. However, after finally finishing The Broken Earth trilogy the other day, it's become clear to me that this series is fundamentally a propaganda vehicle pushing that same feminist/forced diversity agenda, which already plagues Hollywood and MSM today.

Don't get me wrong, it was indeed well-written and contains rich, original world-building and complex characters, but all the blatant social justice pandering became too much to stomach! Obviously the author is a woman of colour but does she have to push that minority victim narrative so much?

From a black middle-aged, not-particularly-attractive female protagonist, to all the gay/bi characters, to the inevitable array of strong, noble female characters (Essun, Nassun, Ykka, Tonkee, Kelenli), contrasted with the abusive a-hole father figures (notably Jija but also Alabaster, Schaffa, and Gallat to an extent).

Hell, even the Earth itself, which is traditionally always thought of as "Mother Earth" - and with good reason, as nature is inherently feminine not masculine - is now suddenly Father Earth the moment it turns into a raging, evil SOB? Come on, give me a break!

At this point, I would bet solid money that Jemisin has a deep-seated distrust and resentment towards male authority figures. Either way, it becomes tedious and unacceptable when about the only genuinely good male characters are either dead/Stone Eater or else a fawning young doctor obsessed with the beauty of our objectively non-beautiful female lead. These two don't exactly redeem the male gender in the face of all of the above!

Over the course of three medium-sized novels, the oppressive patriarchy angle becomes so relentless it's nearly impossible to overlook. Probably the crowning moment was this cringe-inducing passage from p. 220 of The Stone Sky, which totally pulled me out of the book (not really a spoiler so don't worry):

"They say," Danel continues watching you sidelong, "that a ten-ring rogga broke the world, up in the equatorials."
Okay, no. "Orogene."
"Orogene." It's petty, maybe. Because of Ykka's insistence on making rogga a use-caste name, all the stills are tossing the word around like it doesn't mean anything. It's not petty. It means something. "Not 'rogga.' You don't get to say 'rogga'. You haven't earned that."

Talk about hitting the reader over the head! I suspect it's exactly this sort of thing though that won the series all those literary awards.

I'm still giving it a decent rating (3 stars) because, as previously noted, it remains well-written and highly creative. But it would easily score a full point higher if it wasn't so shamelessly pushing a tiresome SJW agenda.


16 reviews

January 14, 2019

Truly epic, heart-rending, beautifully written, unexpected, arresting, unforgettable. First volume took me a bit to get into, but I was hooked by the end and flew through the next two when the time came. Recommended for fans of poetic fantasy.

Chan Fry

251 reviews7 followers

November 7, 2020

Perhaps I should have expected this, but the trilogy is better than each of the individual books. Taken as a whole, the story arc is powerful, engaging, and (I think) groundbreaking. Each character has something with which the reader can identify, some trait that emphasizes his or her humanity to varying degrees. The world-building is top-notch and epic in scope.

My only complaints are (1) present tense throughout (I realize this is a personal, subjective thing), (2) the first and third book are out of chronological order, skipping around in time quite a bit, often without warning, and (3) use of the second-person was distracting and took me out of the story until my brain began auto-translating the pronouns from “you” to “her”.

Майя Ставитская

1,752 reviews180 followers

June 29, 2021

Разбитые земли

Ты живешь в расколотом мире. Давно, когда тут еще смотрели на небо, на планете были города с асфальтом на мостовых и электрическим освещением. Красивые люди в нарядных одеждах гуляли по бульварам среди цветников и фонтанов, говорили о музыке и поэзии, ох Отец-Земля, и о поэзии! Лучший город на свете звался Юмен, столица Империи. Мир был един, говорил на одном языке, нечего было делить им, жив��им на материке. И был великий маг, кому подчинялись стихии. Однажды он сделал что-то, что раскололо твой мир. Империя теперь раздроблена на коммы – множество мелких сообществ, каждое из которых ревниво блюдет свою целостность, привычки и обычаи. Коммы могли бы показаться ужасающим анахронизмом в более стабильном сочетании времени-места, но в разбитых землях они предоставляют большинству единственную возможность выжить сообща: запасы продовольствия и необходимых вещей, созданных кустарями, закон и порядок, который обеспечивают силы местного самоуправления. К четырем привычным сезонам здесь прибавился Пятый – сезон локального Армагеддона. Никто не знает, когда он начнется в очередной раз, сколько продлится, и в чем будет заключаться. Все знают, что большая часть живущих не переживет Пятого сезона. И никто теперь не смотрит в небеса.

Трилогия Норы К.Джемисин «Расколотая Земля» - вещь, во многих смыслах, уникальная. Произведения, удостоенные высших степеней престижных мировых премий, переводятся на русский язык, как правило, оперативно. И не суть, что Хьюго. Небьюла, Локус – премии фантастические. Это на русскоязычном пространстве фантастика загнана в гетто, мир давно признал за ней равенство прочим видам литературы и рассуждать о второсортности Кларка, Азимова, Саймака, .Бредбери, Шекли, Симмонса, Гибсона, или Нила Стивенсона никому в голову не придет. Это отношение англоязычного мира к своим фантастам потеснило привычный российский снобизм и лауреатов переводят достаточно скоро. Всех, кроме Джемисин, которая третий год подряд берет Хьюго со своими романами о Расколотой Земле. Я все ждала перевода, не бралась за чтение, но с третьим романом цикла, награжденным не одним только Хьюго, но и Локусом, и Небьюлой не выдержала. И не пожалела.

В фокусе внимания три женские фигуры, к которым повествование будет циклически возвращаться: девочка, девушка, женщина. Между ними ничего общего, кроме обладания магическими способностями, орогенезем. Имеет смысл подробнее остановиться на особенностях социального устройства здешнего мира. Очень небольшой процент населения потенциально способен производить магические действия с земной твердью, вообще, это совершенно ориентированный на земную стихию мир, о привычных нам четырех (пяти, считая китайское дерево и металл) стихиях в разбитых землях не упоминают. Всегда только Father Earth – Отец-Земля. Магов зовут ородженами и участь их здесь незавидна, ребенок, в котором родственники или знакомые углядели магические задатки, скорее всего, будет убит... родителями. Как вариант – отдан стражникам, которые собирают маленьких волшебников вместе, воспитывают и обучают их, главным образом, контролировать усилием воли спонтанные разрушительные импульсы. Нет, не Хогвартс, здешняя образовательная система более всего напоминает пенитенциарную, а детей, недостаточно хорошо справляющихся с овладением навыками самоконтроля убивают. Такая история: направо пойдешь – коня потеряешь, налево пойдешь – себя потеряешь. В случае, если студент справляется успешно, он подвергается испытаниям и получает право на ношение кольца, как знака своей причастности к касте ородженов. Каждая новая ступень мастерства – дополнительное кольцо. Лучшие маги останутся в почетном пожизненном рабстве у правительства, худших - отправят смирять небольшие локальные землетрясения на станциях Императорской Дороги, предварительно подвергнув лоботомии (чтобы ненужных мыслей не рождалось).

«Господа, вы звери»? Нет, просто они хорошо знают, что может натворить даже один стихийный ороджен (рогга - так их тут обзывают). Девочку по имени Дамайя (Дама-Дама), которая едва не убила обидевшего ее одноклассника, родители держат, как собаку на цепи в ожидании стражника, который заберет в столицу. Учиться. И не хотят отдать пальто, а на улице зима. У нее есть троюродный брат, ему пригодится. А помрет – так помрет. Он заберет ее, Шаффа, укроет от холода, впервые в жизни накормит досыта, и будет заботиться о ней, и сломает руку – просто за тем, чтобы преподать первый урок повиновения, смирения и самоконтроля. Молодая прелестная, но уже обладающая четырьмя кольцами Сайенит (Сайен для близких) путешествует в обществе мага высшей ступени Алебастра (занятно, он чернокожий, если вы понимаете, о чем я). Их отправили в рыбачью деревушку, выход которой в море перегородил кусок скалы, обелиск, и нужно разрушить его направленной магией. Сайен терпеть не может Алебастра, но в здешнем мире полезные человеческие свойства культивируются, руководствуясь примерно теми же принципами и методами, какими мы при селекции породистых животных и растений. Дополнительным (или основным?) результатом совместной поездки должно стать зачатие юной волшебницей ребенка от мага.

Эссан за сорок, она – ты (потому что часть этой героини всегда во втором лице единственного числа). Жила в маленьком южном городке с мужем и двумя детьми, дочерью Нассун, отцовской любимицей и сынишкой Ича, он младший и больше похож на тебя. Ты пришлая в этом комме, тебя тут терпят, устроилась учительницей в начальную школу, а мужа твоего, силача и красавца Джийю все любят и знают. У вас отличная семья. Была. До вчерашнего дня, Вчера Джийя забил Ичу насмерть, обнаружив у него унаследованный от тебя орогенез. Страшно? Да. Страшно интересно, я серьезно, это интересно читать и тут очень простой английский язык, без постмодернистских вывертов и намеренной остраненности. И объем не кажется таким уж неподъемным. И финал окажется совершенно неожиданным. Это я еще о камнеедах ничего не сказала. Будем надеяться, что трилогию Джемисин переведут таки на русский, она того стоит.


223 reviews24 followers

May 1, 2020

i like the way the story flow into each other and stand alone. i had a different experience this time, because I read the books consecutively. it kept things fresh while i plodded through all those pages. i didn't have to rely on faded memories to fill in plot connections because everything was fresh; even though the sequels are written with enough overlapping/background information that you can still gist without reading them in order. i know the author said she doesn't revisit worlds after she moves on to new storylines; but I really want to know what happens after Hoa finishes telling Essun the story. What was stone-eater life like with Alabaster? How does his reunion with Essun go? What is the wold like after the moon resets the environment? Whatever happened to Antimony's baby? How was the Folcrum during the other seasons? We can skip a few thousand years to the end of the Season of Ash, but we need more details. #foreverfan

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.

Zachary Scribner

4 reviews

July 17, 2019

A transcendent work. If there is any justice in the world these books will one day be considered classics of equal caliber to Tolkein's Rings trilogy and similarly seminal works of fantasy and genre fiction. The prose is elegant and poetic without ever veering into the purple or excessively flowery.
Jemisin's work tackles themes of bigotry, othering, and prejudice in direct ways entirely refreshing in a genre too often obsessed with tackling these subjects through allegory, which can be obfuscating. The things she does with POINT OF VIEW ALONE in the first book are worthy of euphoric dissertations. The plotting is incredibly tight and the pacing perfectly intense. The characters are all engaging and stunningly human, and thematically the novels are perfectly composed. Jemisin is an unparalleled talent and I'm on tenterhooks awaiting whatever she does next.

Binati Sheth

Author0 books14 followers

September 20, 2023

One sneakily powerful thing about this series is how it gets you to introspect.
The (sometimes justified) fear of the different (from your pov).
The (always justified) feelings of those mistreated for reasons beyond their control (like say ethnicity or race).
The Orogenes are powerful and they bear the burden of their power unfairly. You know it is unfair and yet, a part of you justifies the mistreatment. When you realise this, you see how easy it is to default to labels and just disregard a person as a person because 'reasons'.

The intention-obstacle-tension trio do their job.
The world building is great.
Give it a shot if you can invest the time.

To summarise - I loved this rusting series.

Anna van Gelderen

26 reviews


September 7, 2020

"Let's start with the end of the world, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things." Een roman die zo begint, heeft natuurlijk onmiddellijk je aandacht: de wereld staat op het punt te vergaan! Hoe heeft het zover kunnen komen? Wat is er aan de hand? Een ramkoers met een meteoor? Een op handen zijnde explosie van de zon? Een gigantische kernramp? En wat bedoelt de verteller vervolgens met 'more interesting things'? Is dit ironie? Cynisme? De antwoorden zijn in ieder geval niet wat je denkt. Jemisin heeft een wereld geschapen die hier en daar aan de onze doet denken, maar waar wel hele vreemde dingen gebeuren en die bevolkt wordt door mensen die nog vreemder zijn. Elk deel van de trilogie won de prestigieuze Hugo Award, dus je kunt er wel bijna van op aan dat we hier iets bijzonders hebben. Bijzonder is het inderdaad en ook zo fascinerend dat ik de drie delen achterelkaar uitgelezen heb.

Nora Jemisin is niet bepaald een schrijver die alles uit spelt, maar de lezer tamelijk hard laat werken om zelf uit te vinden hoe haar wereld in elkaar zit en wat er met haar hoofdpersonen aan de hand is. Dat is natuurlijk ook precies wat de boeken zo verslavend maakt: je bent zó nieuwsgierig en geïntrigeerd dat je blijft doorlezen totdat je uitgeknobbeld hebt hoe de wereld op het randje van de ondergang is terecht gekomen en je wilt vervolgens weten of het nog gaat lukken om die ondergang te verhinderen. Wat ook intrigerend is, is dat het boek drie verschillende hoofdpersonen met drie verschillende verhalen heeft, die uiteindelijk op verrassende wijze bij elkaar komen. Die hoofdpersonen zijn een moeder van in de veertig, die thuis komt en ontdekt dat haar man hun zoontje heeft doodgeslagen (en daar in de ogen van de rest van de wereld een goede reden voor had), een meisje dat door haar ouders wordt verkocht aan een onbekende man uit de hoofdstad omdat er iets vreselijks met haar aan de hand is, en een jonge vrouw in een soort opleidingsinstituut die haar eerste opdracht moet uitvoeren ergens in een havenstadje onder leiding van een ervaren kracht waar ze tevens een kind mee moet zien te krijgen, als deel van de opdracht. Hm, geen al te leuke wereld, zo te horen.

Benieuwd naar de rest van mijn bespreking? Lees dan hier verder:

Dr. Block

Author198 books398 followers

December 15, 2021

I enjoyed this trilogy very much. I wish there had been more dialogue and less internal narration at some points, but the story was well told and interesting.

The first book in this trilogy was one of the most amazing works of fiction I've ever read. I couldn't stop talking about it and recommending it to people. I even convinced my wife, who rarely reads fiction, to read it, but she couldn't get past chapter two. So, obviously, these books aren't for everyone. I'll say this: If you think the first few chapters of Book 1 are good, then you'll enjoy the entire trilogy; if you struggle with the first few chapters, stop reading and find a new book because the storytelling style doesn't change.

Books 2 and 3 were also good, though I think the best book in the trilogy was the first book. I think I had become used to Jemisin's style after the first book, so the style of writing didn't seem as--pardon the pun--earth shattering as Book 1.

The climax of the trilogy--the penultimate chapter of Book 3--was one of the better final scenes I've read in a fantasy/speculative fiction novel in quite some time. Exciting, terrifying, and moving.

Highly recommended.


116 reviews1 follower

April 26, 2021

I might be reading this book in a perfect place (edge of a desert) in a perfect time (vacation) but I'm totally digging it. A post-apocalyptic story happening in a world ridden with cataclysmic event and society that lives constantly expecting doomsday(s) - what's not to like :)
Like the characters, really like the mystery and love the "Memento" movie vibes - how can you not trust the universal truths (literally) written in stone... and what is those truths are wrong.

What I didn't like was a bit limited number of characters (I guess I got spoiled by G.R.R.Martin and Elżbieta Cherezinska) and occasional excerpts written in second person - not really consistent with rest of the books and usually less interesting.


611 reviews16 followers

August 8, 2022

'The Broken Earth' trilogy by N.K. Jemisin.

1) The Fifth Season: 3.5/5.

2) The Obelisk Gate: 3.75/5.

3) The Stone Sky: 2.5/5.

Overall Rating for The Broken Earth Trilogy: 6.5/10.

PS: For a detailed review, check out my reviews for the individual books in this trilogy on their respective Goodreads pages.

Amy Borgstrom

199 reviews1 follower

November 9, 2022

This trilogy is well worth the time it takes to read it. Jemison gifts us with a completely imagined future world and the science that made it so, vividly realized characters, and a complex and propulsive plot that challenges and delights. She takes on race, politics, community, difficult family dynamics, climate change, mythology, and the power of story; asks big philosophical questions; and brilliantly examines the sometimes painful, impossible redemptive power of love. Best book I’ve read in a long time—I was sorry to reach the end.


48 reviews1 follower

March 27, 2020

This trilogy is tremendous. Imaginative, well-written. I read it through twice.

Elephant Abroad

151 reviews5 followers

July 23, 2020

Brilliant world-building. Depth of characterisation is impressive. This is something genuinely creative. And what a difference she brings to the genre.

Marta Wayne

56 reviews1 follower

May 18, 2021

Wow. Just wow. If you are an SF/fantasy lover and you were moved by the Black Lives Matter movement, you need to read these. Even if you weren't, they are quite simply the best I've read in a long long time. There is a reason that EACH BOOK won the Hugo! Difficult to describe without spoiling; let's just say beautiful literature, haunting imagery, and a story that makes it hard to put down-- what more can one ask for?

Brent Kelly

4 reviews

January 5, 2022

The first is a little slow to get going, but two and three maintain the momentum that builds. Great reads.

Laura Mills

9 reviews3 followers

July 18, 2022

Good trilogy, liked the lore and pacing.


3 reviews

June 4, 2024

All 3 books in this trilogy received Hugo awards and it was easy to see why. Complex and extremely imaginative world building and characters. Will be thinking about this for awhile!

Sarah Pavelko

126 reviews

March 9, 2019

Captivating read. I couldn't put it down.

The Broken Earth Trilogy (The Broken Earth, #1-3) (2024)
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