Feb. 21st, 2017

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N. K. Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate continues from the point where The Fifth Season left off, but where the first novel told the story of its protagonist Essun at three different points in time, The Obelisk Fate us divided between Essun in the present, and her missing daughter.

Both Essun and Nassun are powerful orogenes - people with the ability to perceive and manipulate various form of energy, often to deadly and devastating effect. For Essun, trained in the limited ways of the Fulcrum - the order of orogenes used and controlled by the former government - and for Nassun, virtually untrained save for the skills Essun was able to teach her before the breaking of the world, the focus is on discovery - of their abilities, of the nature of orogeny, of the task that only they, out of all the surviving orogenes, may be able to fulfil.

As Essun attempts to become part of the underground community of Castrima, and to come to terms with the fact that her former teacher and lover, Alabaster, caused the massive destruction that threatens to end the world as she knows it, the novel moves back a little in time to follow the journey of her daughter Nassun, as her father follows a vague rumour that somewhere there is a place where orogenes can be cured.

In Castrima, Essun learns from the dying Alabaster, from the rogue orogene Ykka, from the stone eater Hoa. In a Fulcrum outpost far to the south, Nassun encounters, not a cure, but a community of Guardians (one of the keepers, trainers, and controllers of Fulcrum orogenes) and orogenes.

In The Obelisk Gate we learn more about the history of the world that Essun and Nassun inhabit, the interrelationships between the three kinds of human - stillminds, orogenes, and stone eaters, and the true purpose of the mysterious obelisks that hover above the surface of the planet. But there is still much to discover, and both Essun and Nassun have much still to learn, and far to journey.

Jemisin continues to be brilliant. I am eager now for the third volume.

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