So, I finished this book quite a while ago actually (about two weeks to be more precise) but I still have some difficulties to order my thoughts and feelings about this one.
“THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. FOR THE LAST TIME.
A season of endings has begun.
It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.
It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.
It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy. ”
Book synopsis from the Orbit website
After this blurb, you may still ask yourself “Okay but about what this is really about ?!”. Oh well. In this story you follow three main perspectives, Essun a fourty-three years old who just lost her son who was murdered by his own dad, Damaya a young child (around 8 years old I think) and Syenite a twenty something woman. All three of those characters are orogenes which mean that they can manipulate Earth and, on the Stillness, the continent where they live, this ability is both a power and a danger.
Indeed this continent is subject to a lot of earthquakes and magmatic activity (hence its ironical name the Stillness) and so being an orogene means that you can both be needed to protect its inhabitants but also be their biggest danger. Being an orogene doesn’t allow you to be seen as a human being and so you often are not treated like one.
This book was powerful, it pretty much blew me away in the first page. N.K. Jemisin has a way to create such great beginnings to her works that almost always drew my interest right at the first chapter. This book is also quite ambitious in its realization, Essun’s POV is told in the second person during the entire book while the others are in the third. You may ask yourself why this is important but I assure you that it does change the way you see Essun. This is not a spoiler since you know this right at the first page but Essun’s son is murdered and her daughter is kidnapped by his father because they are orogenes like their mother which put our main character in a depressive state (believe it or not). The use of the second person allows us to feel and to relate to this situation quickly but also understand her reactions to this event. I don’t think I’ve ever felt to much for a character so different than me (she’s an orogene of 40 years old living in a fantastical world where her planet is almost wanting to kill her who just lost her children, I think it’s quite difficult to relate to that… I hope so at least).
My two only complains about the story are probably how the ending was made, I didn’t quite understand what happened but I guess it was kind of make to be because now I really need book 2. The other tiny problem was the romance, I find it a bit weird, I just don’t know how the characters involved let it happen the way it happened. I know this is vague but if you read the book, I think you’ll know what I meant. 😉
I would recommend this book to you if youwant something new in your fantasy book. I mean : are you sick of the typical medieval setting and white male protagonists in a world where women are not treated as they should ?
If yes then this book is for you.
Please share you thoughts in the comments ! 🙂