"The Broken Earth Trilogy" by N.K. Jemisin

By N.K. Jemisin

Reviewed by Shari

ISBN 9780316229296

N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth Trilogy was released consecutively in 2016, 2017 and 2018 winning the coveted Fantasy/Science Fiction Hugo Award for best novel each year. This was no small feat, as Jemisin was the first black women to win this award (and she won it three times).  In three volumes, The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky, Jemisin realizes a world where the earth itself, after eons of abuse from its human inhabitants, emerges as antagonist. In contrast, two fierce protagonists also emerge, Essun and Nassun, mother and daughter—both born Orogene, a despised caste of humans with misunderstood abilities. They can move, shake and ultimately communicate with the earth itself.  Orogene’s are the answer to saving the earth even as they are hated, hunted and enslaved. Much of the narrative revolves around Essun, a mother who has to confront her own daughter and account for the parental concerns of safety, care giving, protection, love, and ultimately, the fear and awe of watching a child come into their strength and power.

Jemisin takes her time with the narrative often pausing to tell the reader how this world was formed, its history and taproot into ancient human civilizations that look familiar and strange. Her use of geology, semi precious stones, magma, and overall understanding of the earth as an organism juxtaposes her unique confidence in claiming the word, magic.

If it is time for you to live in another world for for a spell this summer, a world that parallels our own yet is so wholly a world unto itself, pick up this trilogy. Take it with you on your vacation. You may look twice at your surroundings, as nature itself emerges from the background to take center stage.

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