We start the book with a global disaster and the setting that the world is not in a good place. The world is one giant continent called the Stillness and time is measured between catastrophic events from massive earthquakes to super volcanoes and even the occasional tsunami.
There are different use castes for everyone on what gifts they have and each comm (community) will bring in only the strong and what it needs and weed out the weak in hopes that the comm will survive the next season.
The book revolves around three storylines each feature an Orogene. They are one of the use castes that have the ability to control seismic activity and temperature. They can still earthquakes or cause them.
Review – Definite Spoilers:
1. Concept: 10 Jemisin created a new world with a brand new concept that I haven’t come across. It’s a mix of futuristic x-men and all the racial and social biases that have come from the fear and hatred of being different. The world is on the verge of tearing itself apart and everyone hates the Orogenes.
2. Writing: 5 I had a really hard time with parts of this book. I read this on my Kindle which was probably part of the problem because only after I finished the book and got to the appendices did I find a dictionary to all of the words that Jemisin created. That being said I did find myself rereading multiple pages to figure out exactly what was happening.
3. How long did it take to get into the book: 5 Going back to the style of writing. I had a hard time getting into the book initially because I just couldn’t follow exactly what was happening in parts and had to reread it to figure it out. The book is definitely worth getting into, I just wish it had been easier to pick up.
4. Character Development: 6 We follow Damaya, Syenite, and Essun throughout the book. For most of Syenite’s story she was just so full of angry at everything. It never really explained why she hated everyone she came into contact with. She called Alabaster crazy multiple times, but that was never really fleshed out about what made him crazy. Essun and Damaya were much easier to relate with and I understood what drove them to do what they were doing.
5. Plot: 10 There were three events in the book where I just had to stop and say “Wow”. Part of it is that I have a four-month old son so at the end of the book with Coru it really hit me. When we find out that Damaya is Syenite is Essun it was another crazy plot twist that I didn’t see coming. Jemisin did a great job at writing all three narratives without giving too much away too quickly.
6. Pacing: 8 Jemisin did a great job at progressing the story. After I figured out that the protagonists were all the same person it made it a little frustrating as I didn’t want to switch out of one characters story when something crazy was happening, but it brought everything together and really made the book flow nicely.
7. Ending: 8 The next to last paragraph was haunting at best. It was so wonderfully written that I reread a couple of pages just to take it all in again. The last line of the book is a little mysterious, but Syenite called Alabaster crazy so many times who knows if this is just another crazy rambling. (Although I assume it’s not and we’re going to blow up the moon!)
8. Cover Art: 8 It’s not really of anything, but it goes well with the book. It shows architecture that could go with just about any part of the book.
9. World Building: 10 Jemisin has created a masterpiece that is the Stillness. From the Fulcrum to Meov to the node stations every part of this world was so intricately laid out that I didn’t have to imagine much. This was such an awesome world that I can’t wait to jump into the next book.
10. Would I read other books by the Author: 10 I can’t wait to start the next book. I have so many unanswered questions that I am dying to know.
What are the obelisks and why can only Alabaster and Syenite use them?
What was the pink sword that Alabaster had at the end? Was it a piece of an obelisk that allowed him to link to it somehow?
How did Alabaster end up in Castrima?
Is Syenite’s guardian still alive?
What does Hoa want?
What has Alabaster been up to since Antimony took him from Meov?
Where is Jija?
How did Castrima come to be and who created it? Why is it powered by Orogenes?
How can Ykka summon Orogenes and Stone Eaters?
What does Lerna want?