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Publisher's Summary

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.

Essun - once Damaya, once Syenite, now avenger - has found shelter, but not her daughter. Instead there is Alabaster Tenring, destroyer of the world, with a request. But if Essun does what he asks, it would seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

Far away, her daughter Nassun is growing in power - and her choices will break the world.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2016 N.K. Jemisin (P)2016 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Exceptional." ( Library Journal)
"Robin Miles continues as narrator, and the large cast of characters allows her to draw on her vast store of accents. Her narration is intimate and engaged, and she enriches the complicated relationships.... Miles draws out the emotions - sometimes volatile, sometimes seething beneath the surface--as the complexities of this postapocalyptic world unfold." ( AudioFile)

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What listeners say about The Obelisk Gate

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed This, But Won't be Finishing the Series

I really liked the Fifth Season, but struggled a bit to finish this second entry to the Trilogy and won't be reading the last volume.

Jemisin is clearly an accomplished writer and imagines a very rich fantasy world. I never encapsulate plots in my reviews as there are many great resources for that. The themes (to the extent I can comprehend them) of class, race, family and tribalism along with gender contrasts are well presented and thoughtful. There is much to like about this book and it's understandable that NKJ has won many awards for Broken Earth books.

For me, this book suffered a bit from middle-book issues that tend to favor world and character setups over plot developments and resolutions. I can see the conflicts and concerns that will be likely be addressed in the third book, but I don't think I'll invest any more time to find out.

The narration is excellent, and overall, my feelings about the book are positive, but I can't give it a warmer recommendation than that. This is probably a result of my personal feelings about the characters whom I ended up caring less about at the end of this book compared to how deeply invested I was in this story after the Fifth Season.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Miles is becoming my favorite narrator

Can I give this 10 stars? Jemisin is a freaking writing god. If anything, this was better than the 1st book. I rate this series alongside the Stormlight Archive and have no doubts that I'll be reading and rereading them both many, many times.

The narration was just beautiful. I love the varied accents that Miles can bring to the table.

My only complaint is that the audio and Kindle versions aren't synced so I had to always make sure I switched back and forth at a chapter break. That is more than a bit of a pain.

48 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mostly ok, but confusing

Because of the way this book is written, critical parts of it are very confusing. There are sections where you cannot tell through the narration process which character is telling certain important parts of the story. Probably in the text the author might use fonts or something tho give readers clues, but it leaves listeners guessing. The story is good enough to continue the series and hope the parts come together in the end, but it might require a trip to the library.

12 people found this helpful

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Father Earth's Lost Child

"But just because you can’t see or understand a thing doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you.”
- N.K. Jemisin

Book two in the Broken Earth trilogy, The Obelisk Gate is reallytwo (well perhaps three) stories woven together. Essun, the primary focus of Book 1 (three stories/narrators in one, perhaps?), and her daughter Nassun This really is one book, but it is a bit like juggling how talented Jemisin is at transitioning voices, perspectives, weaving up/down/forward/backward/in/out and creating a story out of the Earth and out of a mother's need to find her daughter.

If you consider these three books to be one, with one giant narrative arc (which you should) this is the point where the momentum twists, where it seems for a second or forever, like the death of the world will never end. But then the gravity of the series pulls the story back down again and accelerates the reader right into book three.

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

First book was better

Narrator was great, but towards the end the story was dry. Almost didn't finish. Probably won't start the next book.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The story begins to take shape

I found the first book lacking for reasons mostly fixed in this book. Still a bit annoyed at the glacial pace certain things happen in but much of that is taking time to answer questions from the last book. I am more interested now after this book but only a little. The book has some fun concepts but the tenor and direction of the protagonist are not resonating with me and it brings down the enjoyment.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellence - A rare gem

If you could sum up The Obelisk Gate in three words, what would they be?

This books continues the story lines from book one. The world is going through another season but this one will last thousands of years with the resulting planet being inhabitable. But the people do not accept this or understand it. It seams that the extinction of the human race is eminent but Alabaster has been to the mountain top and returns (broken and half-dead himself) to tell the only person who can finish what he started to heal the Earth. Tons of questions are answered. Revelations are realized. Nassun comes of age in this madness. Essun grows in her craft, realizes her potential and that she can't do it alone.

It is nothing like N.K. Jemisin's other series which is nothing short of amazing because world building is hard and that is exactly what the writer does here. Among horrifying post-apocalyptic events, dogmatic guardians who believe their evil is good, the mysterious absence and presence of celestial staples we continue to learn about the relationships of the characters, their histories as to how they came to be who they are and one I didn't see coming...Father Earth.

What did you like best about this story?

This books has something for fans of Octavia Butler, Jules Verne, world ending scenarios, dysfunctional families and of course...N. K. Jemisin.

Which character – as performed by Robin Miles – was your favorite?

Alabaster (sp?). I think Robin did an excellent job capturing his unique personality and quirks.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The constant struggle for acceptance for who a person is as a human being.

Any additional comments?

This is the third world built by this author. I don't know many who can do this. I am not surprised that the author won a Hugo for this series.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Like a song with beautiful lyrics, but dull tune..

All the 3 books in the series have beautiful prose. But, the pace is agonizingly slow. Same things are repeated countless times before anything actually happens and the story moves forward. In the end, I just finished the last book only out of obligation to complete the series, but can't say I enjoyed the journey.

The narration, however, is top notch. It complements the beautiful prose and elevates it to a magical level.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love this series!!!

Where does The Obelisk Gate rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Current fave in all fiction

What about Robin Miles’s performance did you like?

Mile's voice is like a massage on my ears, and her performance drops me right into the middle of this world.

Any additional comments?

Such an amazingly rich and different world. Extremely unique and a wonderful travel experience. I'm going to listen to the first book again right now.

14 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting Reveals but Mostly Filler

As a follow up to book one, I found this book to be mostly filler. It was one of those books where I was willing to give the author a pass on some style choices but then it really got on my nerves towards the end.

What I enjoyed - We get to learn some interesting information on why there are the seasons. I like the idea of post-humans evolving special abilities (I think that's what happened, anyway). We learn a lot more about the different types of post-humans and their function. Nessun was interesting to see how she learns and deals with her past. I liked the interactions with Alabaster and learning more about stone-eaters. It's a very interesting world she has created.

I had hope, after book one, that she was going the direction of Mark Lawrence's first two series. The idea of a future Earth where they are interacting with old tech that we recognize. While I believe there was this tech in "Obelisk Gate," I could not determine what she was implying they were interacting with. I was especially disappointed when we learn there is magic (instead of them just being post-humans). Finding out that magic is in everything felt like - oh, it's just pantheism. It was like something unique just became cliché with these choices.

The author continues the issues with murkiness in other ways: The use of pronouns became very confusing with several choices the author made. One is the continued choice of using a second person pov for Essun. There are also sections with first person pov and others with third person but you don't know who is talking or being talked to. There are also quotes with redacted parts at the beginning of chapters. I found myself often unsure of what person a pronoun was referring to and the style felt pretentious and not well-deployed.

Another source of annoyance is the extensive focus on everyone's appearance - their hair especially. I have no idea why we should care. Is she trying to imply the movement of humans/post-humans through Earth? As an aside - also there is so much focus on the interpersonal community stuff and I just didn't see how it was relevant to the plot in the end.

The book was okay, but I just think the author fell victim to hubris. I do admire her creativity but she was unsuccessful at implementation of her ideas. She made too many bad style choices and needed more editing.

17 people found this helpful