ARC provided by Hachette in exchange for an honest review.
“Some worlds are built on a fault line of pain, held up by nightmares. Don’t lament when those worlds fall. Rage that they were built doomed in the first place.”
You guys, I’m speechless. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read as perfect of a conclusion as The Stone Sky. The Stone Sky easily makes my best of 2017 list, and is also without a doubt one of the most powerful masterpieces I’ve ever read in my entire life. I will cherish this book series until the end of my days, while also trying to convince every single living soul to give this series a shot. Please give The Fifth Season a shot. It is worth more than every ounce of hype and praise it has received. I recommend this series to any and everyone I know. Not just SFF lovers, hell, not even just book lovers; I recommend this to every human being. And I dare you to finish this series, turn that last page, and not feel the urge to change this ugly world we live in today.
This series is a SFF dystopian, where earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other terrible things impacting the earth are constantly happening, but orogenes are able to manipulate the earth to ease them. Even though orogenes are continually saving the world they are constantly oppressed slaves. This world has convinced everyone that orogenes are dangerous and need to be controlled at all costs. Everyone in the Stillness is trying to survive the world’s unforgiving environment. This planet is beyond unstable, because of Fifth Seasons. Two years have passed since The Fifth Season and in this concluding book our main characters are looking for a way to stop the Seasons once and for all.
“They’re afraid because we exist, she says, There’s nothing we did to provoke their fear, other than exist. There’s nothing we can do to earn their approval, except stop existing—so we can either die like they want, or laugh at their cowardice and go on with our lives.”
The greatest thing about this series is that it seamlessly mirrors the world we live in today. This book will make you think about your internalized racism and the prejudices that you hold without even realizing it. I mean, look at what is going on in the United States right now. Look at how we are allowing actual Nazis
free hate speech. Look who we elected, because people’s hearts were filled with so much hate. Look how we are trying to protect confederate statues, while allowing our government to bulldoze native sites for pipelines. Hate is a powerful force, and white supremacy is real. Charlottesville is happening all over our world, and we don’t need orogeny to stop it, either.
“But for a society built on exploitation, there is no greater threat than having no one left to oppress.”
I wrote in my review for The Obelisk Gate that the heart of this novel is oppression, but the soul of this novel is motherhood, and I stand by this assessment even more so. Again, I’m not a mother, but the underlying theme of parenthood and the indescribable love between a mother and child is something so pure and beautiful. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings and emotions this book was able to evoke from me.
The constant messages and reminders of the importance of found families is also something that I appreciate with every bone in my body. I don’t want to keep using the word beautiful, but these messages that N.K. Jemisin has created are nothing short of the word beautiful. Blood is just that, blood, but choosing to spend your days with people who unconditionally love and support you is the true meaning of family.
Just thinking of the people who have followed Essun throughout her journey makes me weep from equal parts of joy and sadness. I loved seeing people love the broken parts of Essun, seeing her friends love the strong woman she always was all along, seeing her family choose to follow her to the end of the Earth.
“…if you love someone, you don’t get to choose how they love you back.”
And seeing the choices that Nassun made all by herself from both places of hurt and love just broke my heart. The choices we all make from being hurt or being loved is a discussion I could write pages and pages on. The feelings and emotions in this book are so very complex and the narrative only makes you feel everything intensified. Right now, as I’m writing this review, I’m equal parts heartbreak and hope.
“It’s just that love and hate aren’t mutually exclusive”
And the representation in this book is the best I’ve ever read in all my years. First off, this book is unapologetically and beautifully black. Next, N.K. Jemisin writes about systematic oppression expertly. Then, she also seamlessly writes in LGBT+ representation effortlessly. This book has the best written trans side character I’ve ever read about. I’ve said it before, and I’ll scream it from the rooftops again: Every author should strive to write representation like N.K. Jemisin.
The writing is also exquisite. The prose is a tier above the rest. The narrative in unique and heartfelt. The world building is nothing short of perfection. The themes are relevant, important, and inspiring. The acknowledgments broke my heart. This series is truly a masterpiece.
This is one of the best stories I’ve ever read in my entire life. No amount of words I can write here is going to do it justice, so I can only ask, or beg, you to pick it up and see for yourself. Thank you, N.K. Jemisin, for this masterpiece. I will never stop moving forward, and I will never stop fighting for a better world.
“We could’ve all been safe and comfortable together, surviving together, but they didn’t want that. Now nobody gets to be safe. Maybe that’s what it will take for them to finally realize things have to change.”