Audiobook Review: The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2)

Published August 16th 2016

Author: N.K. Jemisin

Narrator: Robin Miles

Audiobook Length: 13 hours 19 minutes


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.

[The Fifth Season (#1) Review]

The Obelisk Gate is the second novel in the Broken Earth trilogy. After loving the first novel, my expectations for this one were fairly high. While I still greatly enjoyed this novel and plan to immediately begin the final novel, it was not quite at the same level, for me, as the first. The story picks up right where the last installment left off as Earth begins to prepare for a new Season. While there are still multiple perspectives in this novel, the main focus is on Essun, a powerful orogene. She is now living in a community with hope to still reunite with her daughter. While she has made some progress in her journey and gone through some character growth, there is still a long way to go for her.

 Essun’s perspective continues to be written in second person, which may not be for every type of reader. In this novel, the reader gets to explore Nassun, Essun’s daughter, and her journey as she develops more as a character. Another perspective in this novel is from a villain that was present in the first novel. It was a great addition as the author presented a new side to the story. The novel centers around the same set of characters as the first while also introducing some new ones. The series continues to stand out with its inclusivity as there is a lot of representation on the page and, similar to the first novel, it feels natural rather than forced or out of place.

The pacing in this novel is slower, especially in the first three quarters before the action picks up a lot to set itself up for the final installment. For me, it seemed to be a mix of telling and showing in the first novel, while this one skewed more towards telling rather than showing. When the reader is in Essun’s perspective, this is where the story is fairly info dump-heavy. The content itself is very interesting, but it was difficult, for me, to fully grasp everything as there is a lot given at any given moment.

Overall, while this novel did not fully succumb to “middle book syndrome,” for me, it was on the cusp. However, there is still a lot that this series has to offer to make me want to read the next novel rather than give up. The world continues to be fascinating and the characters are interesting. I could see this novel as dividing for readers with some with similar thoughts as me that this one did not live up to the first, but there are others that believe it was just as good, or even better. All in all, this series is still fantastic and I will easily start the final novel in the trilogy!

5 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2)

  1. Nice review.
    I just can’t seem to get into the audio books. I imagine if my eyesight got real bad then I would because I love books. I love reading. But it would be hard to get use too someone reading to me.
    It’s great that so many do love it though.


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