Review: The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

Synopsis from GoodReads: This is the way the world ends… for the last time.

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.  


I’m afraid this book suffers a little from being the second book in a trilogy. There is a great deal of exposition here and for some reason, I didn’t find those sections as engaging to read as in the first book. I will reread The Stone Sky soon (probably some time in the next few weeks) but I hope I don’t forget anything important, because some of the details of the setting just didn’t stick in my head the way they have with other books. (I am one of those people who loved all the footnotes in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, so I can really get into this sort of thing with the right book.)

This book is told from three perspectives: Essun, Nassun, and Schaffa. Most of that slightly frustrating exposition is in Essun’s chapters. Essun spent most of the first book searching for her daughter, and in this book we find out where she is: her father Jija took her to a community called Found Moon hoping to cure her orogeny. Nassun’s chapters have a lot more dramatic tension than Essun’s, and we learn a lot about her difficult relationship with her both her parents. I liked having Schaffa’s point of view; in the first book he’s almost a villain but I had some sympathy for him here. 


This is a tricky book to review because there are some things I’d like to discuss (mostly related to the ruthlessness of the characters) that would involve spoilers. I never discuss spoilers in reviews but for The Stone Sky I might have to. I’ll figure out what to do about that when I read it, I guess. 

Some of my favorite quotes:
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.  

It’s not hate that you’re seeing. Hate requires emotion. What this woman has simply done is realize that you are a rogga, and decide that you aren’t a person, just like that.

View all my reviews

Published by Beth @ Beth's Bookish Thoughts

This blog is for my thoughts on reading. A couple of my friends on GoodReads have blogs, so eventually I decided to start one myself. I hope to get involved in the book blogging community and become a better reader and writer! I am not accepting copies of new books for review, but I would be interested in new editions or new translations of classic authors. Find me on Upwork (as an editor) in the profile link. From September 2018 to October 2020 I blogged at Blogger.

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