Review: The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

In the lead up to the 2018 Nebula Awards, our sci-fi and fantasy guru Shaun Taylor reviews the nominees.

In the final installment of Broken Earth, N.K. Jemisin presents an incredible vision of the end or rebirth of the planet.
With Essun and Nassun – Mother and Daughter – against each other, the clock is ticking for each race across this apocalyptic landscape. The narration jumps between the two, with each character’s chapter being told in different tenses. Essun’s is told first person, present tense, while Nassun is third person, past tense.

While this does help differentiate the characters, and makes Essun’s story a little more personal, I found it a little unsettling until I got into the swing of things. The story of the two women is also broken up by a third story in the voice of the novel. Without giving too much away, the novel does reveal that the two strands of the novel are actually being told by the same person.  I found the interjections from this voice to tie the stories together a little intrusive, knocking me briefly out of the world of the novel. That didn’t last for long though – the rest of the world created here is so well described and inhabited, that I was soon back in the swing of things.

Overall, this is a good closing to a trilogy. The world, and the use of geology for magic are both interesting and well handled by Jemisin.

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