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The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)
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"The Obelisk Gate" Discussion > "The Obelisk Gate" First Impressions *No Spoilers*

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Jul 02, 2017 07:24AM) (new)


Chris | 551 comments Sometimes when I think back about a book that I rated highly, I wonder whether it was really that good. Yes, The Fifth Season was really that good. I know it because The Obelisk Gate is bringing me back to the same place.


Nicholas Kotar (ravenson) | 23 comments The thing I worried about when starting this one is that The Fifth Season really hinged on that big reveal about the "three" main characters. To surprise the reader again like that a second time would be really hard. Will she manage it?


message 4: by Jeanette (new)

Jeanette Revie | 46 comments My problem is we keep selecting books that are part 2's and I haven't even read the first one so I end up having to read book one so I don't get lost in the details that one needs to know from the beginning. Happened to me with the Mistborn series. I just ended up reading all three which were AMAZING.


message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 3879 comments Luckily we only do sequel themes once per year :) You'll have another year of book 1 only.


message 6: by David (last edited Jul 01, 2017 11:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Holmes | 368 comments It might just be because I was already used to the setting and structure of The Fifth Season, but this book felt less experimental to me, and more readable.


~ Giulia ~ | 77 comments It's the first time the group has chosen a book I've already read. And such a good book!
Are spoilers about the first book allowed?


message 8: by Trike (new)

Trike | 3265 comments ~ Giulia ~ wrote: "It's the first time the group has chosen a book I've already read. And such a good book!
Are spoilers about the first book allowed?"


Wait until the full discussion thread starts on the 15th.


message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 3879 comments Spoilers about The Fifth Season are fine.


message 10: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy (Kathy_H) | 118 comments It has been a year since I've read The Fifth Season -- I gave it a 5-star rating, but I'm not remembering the details at all. I'm wondering if I should do a quick reread on that one and then start this book?


message 11: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim ~ Giulia ~ wrote: "It's the first time the group has chosen a book I've already read. And such a good book!
Are spoilers about the first book allowed?"


I'd recommend finding our threads from when we read The Fifth Season and use those. I'd dig them up but I'm on mobile.


message 12: by Lars (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lars Dradrach (LarsDradrach) | 32 comments The fifth season displayed a masterly control of narrative and structure, apart from a very fresh world building.

The obelisk gate start out on the same path but slightly less controlled and a little repetitive at times.

That said it's still way above average


~ Giulia ~ | 77 comments The Fifth Season was mostly about world building, instead here we have the first part of the actual plot and, in spite of it being a middle book, we get a good amount of answers.

The narration style keeps messing with my head, but I really liked what she did with the narrator.


message 14: by Anna, Labyrinth of Foxes (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 1080 comments Mod
I read Obelisk straight after the first book. Even though the "twist" wasn't hard to guess, it was still very interesting to read the three stories and find out how and why things went the way you'd already guessed. I loved the first book and gave it five stars.

So after that, where could Obelisk have gone that was just as amazing? If I compare it to other books/series, it's very good. But compared to The Fifth Season? It almost felt boring. It was like running on one of those very long moving walkways in an airport, and then hitting the end and feeling like you dropped into a vat of glue. It'll be interesting to see if the third book continues the same structure as this one, or maybe (please?!) there's some new mindblowing trickery going on.


Nicholas Kotar (ravenson) | 23 comments I'm sure there some new mindblowing trickery up her sleeve in the third one :)


message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 3879 comments I attached threads for The Fifth Season to the first post for those who want to discuss that book. However, there will be spoilers in this thread for that book. It would be impossible to talk about a sequel, even our first impressions of it, without spoiling the first book.


Donald Shepherd | 230 comments Neither of the books so far have been my usually enjoyable reads, but for some reason I've found them both riveting stay-up-one-more-hour-to-finish reads. So grim and depressing but so "one more page".


Rachel | 398 comments Donald I agree - with both I had to set the book aside after reading the initial imagery for a while and come back when I was ready. I have two little kids so maybe it's extra hard to read....


Jenny (JennyC89) | 151 comments I'm listening to this on Audible & it's keeping my interest for the most part. I really loved the very first bit, it really pulled me in.


message 20: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan | 1 comments Already liking the new POV we get in this one.


Travis Foster (travismfoster) | 312 comments I read this book back in October and LOVED it. The last 150 pages or so were very, very hard to set down. I ended up staying up way later than I'd intended in order to finish.


message 22: by Hank (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hank (Hankenstein) | 544 comments I loved this book and the series so far and this would have been my Hugo vote before I read Too Like the Lightning. Two great books in one month.


Michael | 1276 comments Just started and the first chapter is making me cry all over again. Such a poignant storyteller. Also having to get re-acclimated to an irreverent narrator talking to me in second person. It's a fun challenge for me.

Katy wrote: "It has been a year since I've read The Fifth Season -- I gave it a 5-star rating, but I'm not remembering the details at all. I'm wondering if I should do a quick reread on that one..."

Me, too. Can anyone point me to a synopsis of The Fifth Season somewhere? The Wikipedia page doesn't cover plot.


Michael | 1276 comments I still haven't located a summary, but as I get further into the book I am finding Ms. Jemisin is doing a fantastic job of incorporating quick reviews of previous events into the storyline as characters are re-introduced.

Still, I'm feeling I'm missing some of the visceral memory of the previous book because I can't remember specific scenes/betrayals/motivations. But in many ways this new book seems to be telling a brand new story, so it is possible I don't have to remember all of it to enjoy this one...


message 25: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy (Kathy_H) | 118 comments I am with you on this Michael. I feel that I am understanding the story fine, but every now and then, I look around to see what I missed and realized it must just be my faulty memory.


message 26: by Allison, Whom the Clayr Saw (new) - rated it 4 stars

Allison Hurd | 3862 comments Mod
This is the most complete synopsis I was able to locate quickly on Fifth Season. It helped me jog my memory, at least :)

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I have just started the book, and already I'm happy to be back in this awful (but brilliantly created) world. After a string of books that don't think hard about the implications of the world that has been created, this is very satisfying.


Michael | 1276 comments Thanks, Allison! I was actually hoping for more spoilers. I checked out the Fifth Season from my library again so I could look up a few things.

Spoilers for Fifth Season: (view spoiler)


Valerie (DarthVal) | 735 comments My first thought is, why in the heck did I only give The Fifth Season 3 stars? I tell people who original and awesome it is all the time. Then I remember....I was irritated by the "teaser" toward the next books at the end. Pet peeve. However, until I read my review, it was a peeve that I did not remember that this book violated. I will have to go back and change my review.

As for The Obelisk Gate, I have not been pulled into this one as much as the first book, yet I am still enjoying it quite a bit. Jemisin incorporates so much complexity in her world and characters. I often find myself horrified and touched at the same time.

As many of you, I also struggled to recall some of those details from the first book. Some things stuck more than others. Yet, I am still able to follow the story even with my gaps.


Amanda (LadyCello) | 50 comments It took a few chapters to recall the last book, but I think the essentials have come back to me now. I had forgotten Essun's story was told from the second person perspective, which I have yet to see with any other author, and is pretty cool. It really makes it feel like I'm more immersed in what the character is going through.

I'm really looking forward to reading more of Nassun's point of view. She and her father were only nebulous characters in the first book, and I'm looking forward to getting their perspectives.


message 30: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Does anyone else keep picturing all orogenes as redheads?


message 31: by Allison, Whom the Clayr Saw (new) - rated it 4 stars

Allison Hurd | 3862 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Does anyone else keep picturing all orogenes as redheads?"

This is hilarious to me but I don't know why! LOL! No? I don't think I do. Why do you think they are redheads? "Strawberry Hay" yes, I see her as a redhead.


message 32: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Because of the term "rogga". It's very close to names used for redheads.


Valerie (DarthVal) | 735 comments For some reason, I think of them as white haired. But, I think that is because of my mental concept of the older Essun.


message 34: by Allison, Whom the Clayr Saw (new) - rated it 4 stars

Allison Hurd | 3862 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Because of the term "rogga". It's very close to names used for redheads."

Amazing.

I picture most of them (ash blow hair) as being hair types IV, and on the monochrome spectrum. I think Alabaster has white/grey 4c hair, for example.

I'm still trying to figure out what Sanzed looks like, generally, and Midlatter, though I picture their hair less coily for no real reason I can recall.


message 35: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim I read all the descriptions, and I know they aren't redheads, but every time I don't pay full attention... they're redheads.

I also had no idea there were hair types with numbers and all.


Valerie (DarthVal) | 735 comments I didn't know that, either!


message 37: by Monica (last edited Jul 12, 2017 01:35PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Monica  | 295 comments Here is some fan art out there on tumbler. This is Damaya, Syenite, and Essun (I think):

Fifth Season characters


message 38: by Allison, Whom the Clayr Saw (new) - rated it 4 stars

Allison Hurd | 3862 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "I read all the descriptions, and I know they aren't redheads, but every time I don't pay full attention... they're redheads.

I also had no idea there were hair types with numbers and all."


I know what you mean, I keep making several of the characters men, even though I know that's not the case. And yeah! Curls, man. Trickier than we ever thought.

Monica wrote: "Here is some fan art out there on tumbler. This is Syenite, Alabaster, and Innon:

"


Oh I love these!!


message 39: by Kim (last edited Jul 12, 2017 01:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Here's a piece Jemisin wrote on the races - http://nkjemisin.com/2015/08/creating...

No spoilers for Obelisk Gate


message 40: by Allison, Whom the Clayr Saw (new) - rated it 4 stars

Allison Hurd | 3862 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Here's a piece Jemisin wrote on the races - http://nkjemisin.com/2015/08/creating..."

Wow. This is super interesting. I love how much thought she's put into this.


message 41: by S.E. (new) - added it

S.E. Zell | 1 comments I absolutely looooved the Fifth Season, mostly because of the character reveal at the end. I'm not so sure about this one yet. She has a true knack for making characters seem almost androgynous, which is kind of cool in the sense that you don't get bogged down with gender roles, but I'm not feeling the same momentum as #1 yet.

Hoping it will pick up.


Michael | 1276 comments Kim wrote: "I read all the descriptions, and I know they aren't redheads, but every time I don't pay full attention... they're redheads."

As a white guy, I will come forward and admit I still get into trouble by superimposing pale skin on a lot of these characters. The name Alabaster is supposed to be ironic, but I have forgotten how dark he is more than once. And Eitz is described as "very black" but the russian/german-sounding name has me forgetting that.

All this is a strong argument for having more books with dark-skinned characters. A lot of us readers have been "seeing" white for so long, it has become the norm for our brains...


Michael | 1276 comments S.E. wrote: "I absolutely looooved the Fifth Season, mostly because of the character reveal at the end. I'm not so sure about this one yet. She has a true knack for making characters seem almost androgynous, wh..."

I think it is harder this time around to create the same sense of mystery. The three different storylines in the first book kept me wanting to know what was going on. In this book, it is clear how all the characters (both from book one and book two) are related to each other, so there isn't the same mystery. I am still enthralled by the orogeny, though, so that and the speculative ideas are keeping me going.

And also the fact that her writing is like comfort food for me. Yeah, there is that. (And when I say comfort food I mean disturbing comfort food!)


Travis Foster (travismfoster) | 312 comments Michael wrote: "All this is a strong argument for having more books with dark-skinned characters. A lot of us readers have been "seeing" white for so long, it has become the norm for our brains..."


Totally agree. I just finished Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, and it was a nice disruption to the sci-fi/fantasy norm for Genly, the main narrator, to have dark skin and nonwhite facial features.

As far as this series, I think I enjoyed Obelisk Gate just a bit more than Fifth Season, though I found both great. I cannot wait for this August when the third comes out!


message 45: by Jenny (last edited Jul 15, 2017 05:19AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenny (JennyC89) | 151 comments I'm struggling with this one! I went almost two weeks without listening to the Audiobook. I'm less than 3 hours in & I want to keep pushing myself. It's something about the perspective it's written from... I can't put my finger on it...

I'm going on a little road trip this morning. I'm going to listen to at least a little of the audiobook, but I have to admit that I'm more tempted to listen to my podcasts.


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