Book Review: The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin

Posted April 28, 2021 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

The Stone Sky

The Stone Sky

by N. K. Jemisin

Series: The Broken Earth #3
Publisher: Orbit Books on August 15, 2017
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Target Age Group: Adult
Content Warnings: Death, Death of Parent, Genocide, Grief, Violence

Rating: ★★★★½

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This is the way the world ends... for the last time.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.


What a fantastic ending to this trilogy.

Every book in the Broken Earth trilogy ramped up the pacing a little bit until we reached the steady jogging pace of The Stone Sky.  I feel like I flew through this book.  It kept me engaged and enraptured.  Which is amazing.  I’m still in awe of the world building of this one and fascinated to find out a little more of the true distance of this timeline – more than 40,000 years in Earth’s future.

Sections in The Stone Sky were both finale as well as prequel.  In The Obelisk Gate, Nassun’s voice was added to the narration.  In The Stone Sky, we learn about Hoa and the Stone Eater’s history… and a little more about the distant history of orogeny.  I continue to enjoy the depth of the storytelling here – the slow, thoughtful way it is shared (and now there’s even a reason why which I didn’t see coming and probably should have… but I won’t spoil it!).

More than The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate… there is a lot of thinking in The Stone Sky.  There are Major Decisions to be made and much about the peoples and the Earth itself to understand.  The breadth of this story encompasses not just Essun, not just her kin, but the greater story of ancient peoples and their greed for power and luxury.  There are reminders in this book about human greed and about the dangers of not respecting the planet that gives us life.  Earth is a formidable force in this book, thirsty for revenge.  The outcome of the war feels a bit easy for me, a bit sudden… but I’m happy to accept it because this is science-fiction-slash-high-fantasy and it’s understood that some suspension of disbelief is required.

From a character perspective, though, I thought The Stone Sky was excellent.  There was a lot of closure for me in regards to Hoa’s character as well as Essun.  I liked that Tonkee continued forward in the story as well and grew as a person because of her time in the comm.  In most books in this vein, the climax is thrilling, filled with magic or otherworldly things.  In The Stone Sky this is still true, but Jemisin has infused it with heartbreak, so just as much as you feel like the ending is coming together… things are also falling apart even more.  And that’s the sacrifice.

While I very much recommend the whole Broken Earth trilogy, it does take some patience to get into it.  For me, that made the audiobooks the best possible way to ingest this story – you can disappear into the world without having to hold your attention on to the book, particularly in The Fifth Season where the POVs are a little confusing and the pace is much slower.  Regardless of all that, though, Jemisin’s prose is absolutely breathtaking and for that alone is this series worth reading – I know I’ll be reading more of her work.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★ 1/2

4.5 stars overall rating


What futuristic science fiction books have you enjoyed?  Did they go as far in the future as the Broken Earth trilogy – tens of thousands of years?  Recommend some of your favorites in the comments!

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