A sign of a good writer is if they can maintain the pace and suspense of a series while tidying up all the loose ends, and in this respect N. K. Jemisin comes up trumps in this final book of the series. The earlier books – The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate – have set the scene for an apocalyptic ending and while I don’t do plot-spoilers it will come as no surprise to readers of the first two books that not everyone involved lives happily ever after ;-)
The book follows Essun and her daughter Nassun as they make their separate ways to the time and place where the future of the earth will be decided. Along the way the origins of the Stone Eaters and the Guardians are revealed along with what happened to the moon and even smaller details such as ‘why metal cannot be trusted’ in an exceptionally well-crafted final book. It is darker than the previous books and the rationale given to the creation of the Obelisks and the Stone Eaters (especially the ‘briar patch’) may be uncomfortable reading for some, even if it is essential to the story.
While I personally enjoyed the series enormously, I can see why critics (particularly ‘hard sci-fi’ readers who expect a rational explanation of all the science involved) have given it the thumbs down – in the fields of orogeny and ‘magic’ which are central to the series and especially this final book there are a number of ‘get out of jail cards’ i.e. how things work is not explained in terms of 21st century science. This is OK by me as all the other loose ends are cleaned up nicely but I can see why some readers wouldn’t like it.
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Orbit (15 August 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316229245
- ISBN-13: 978-0316229241
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.2 x 21 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 386 g
- Customer Reviews: 810 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)