The Stone Sky

November 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

skyThe Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

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It took me longer than expected to finish this book. Part of it was me not wanting it to end, part of it was a beginning that confused as much as enlightened, and part of it was me reading it around the 2017 eclipse weekend (I had big plans). I find that to be fitting, since the book is, in part, about reuniting the Moon with the Earth, and smack dab in the middle of it, I sat down to watch the Moon put on a show for the Earth.

Along with reuniting the Moon and the Earth, The Stone Sky is about reuniting Essun and her daughter, Nassun. Readers of the trilogy thus far won’t be surprised by that revelation (it was inevitable), but it’s a nice thematic parallel. Two years have passed since Essun’s husband murdered their son and took Nassun away, and the two have seen (and instigated) a lot of change during that time. Much of The Stone Sky passes before we see that reunion, but everything that has happened since that moment has brought us to that point, and that point is when we learn the answers to all of our questions.

The ending was surprisingly emotionless. I was so invested in both characters, hoping they would find each other again, that when it finally happened I was surprised to find it so anticlimactic. I didn’t get choked up or teary-eyed; it was just another series of events unfolding in the story. I don’t know if that’s intentional on Jemisin’s part or if I was too disconnected with the book (other reviews I read suggest I’m in the minority).

As I mentioned above, their reunion is inevitable, not just because Jemisin leads us there, but also because the story requires it. The book (and the series) is about family and loyalty, and to not bring the two characters together would be a disservice to the reader. She still surprises us, which is also inevitable; the story hasn’t developed using the usual tropes and devices seen in fantasy fiction, so why would one assume to see it end that way?

I had to think long and hard about how to rate this book. By itself, the book isn’t as effective as the first two, but as part of a larger story (which is how the author sees the trilogy), it works well. My first thought was three stars, since I liked it but didn’t really like it, but I couldn’t dismiss how much the first two books played into the conclusion. Then I waffled over four and five stars, because while the last book in the series lacked the emotional connection the first two books, the series overall came to a smart conclusion with some heavy themes. In the end, I would rate this 4.5 stars, rounded up because Jemisin did something amazing with the whole trilogy.

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