The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
**reread 9/5/2020** Hmm. . . I thought I would have more to say about this conclusion to the trilogy when I reread the series. It was definitely worth rereading, and The Stone Sky certainly makes up for my slight disappointment with The Obelisk Gate. But contrary to what I was hoping for when I started this reread (June), I don't have much to add. I was more emotionally invested this time because keeping track of the plot didn't take up so much of my attention, so that was satisfying.
Here are some of the highlights:
"Say nothing to me of innocent bystanders, unearned suffering, heartless vengeance. When a comm builds atop a fault line, do you blame its walls when they inevitably crush the people inside? No; you blame whoever was stupid enough to think they could defy the laws of nature forever. Well, some worlds are built on a fault line of pain, held up by nightmares. Don’t lament when those worlds fall. Rage that they were built doomed in the first place."
"What he offers, and what she has finally realized she needs, is purpose. Not even Schaffa has given her that, but that's because Schaffa loves her unconditionally. She needs that love, too, oh how she needs it, but in this moment, when her heart has been most thoroughly broken, when her thoughts are at their least focused, she craves something more... solid.
She will have the solidity that she wants. She will fight for it and kill for it, because she’s had to do that again and again and it is habit now, and if she is successful she will die for it. After all, she is her mother’s daughter—and only people who think they have a future fear death."
"There isn’t a single evil to point to, a single moment when everything changed. Things were bad and then terrible and then better and then bad again, and then they happened again, and again, because no one stopped it."
"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."
**review 9/19/2018** I suspect these books would benefit from rereading. It would be interesting to read them again knowing what's going on and how things resolve, but at the same time I don't know if I loved these books quite enough to want to reread them. Now that I've finished the trilogy I think The Fifth Season is probably the best of the three. There’s just a lot going on in these books, and the first book is the one that does the best job of balancing the focus on the characters with other aspects of the story, I think. In the other two I felt less connected to the characters, but I still definitely recommend reading the whole thing. I don't read very many series, but this barely feels like a series to me because the books are so closely connected.
So I'm left a tiny bit unsatisfied, but still — as someone who rarely reads epic fantasy (or post apocalyptic sf — and these books are a little of both) I am very impressed. I haven't read anything else quite like this.
I'm having a hard time writing a real review for this one, but here are some longer reviews that I thought were insightful.
https://www.npr.org/2017/08/19/542469... (a very good discussion with only minor spoilers)
http://wrongquestions.blogspot.com/20... (major spoilers, don't read if you haven't read the book)
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