Hey! What’s up, you guys? It’s promotekdbook.com, and today I’m gonna be doing a book review for The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin.
If you guys don’t know, The Stone Sky is the third book in the Broken Earth trilogy, and as it is the third book, this review is going to contain some spoilers for the series just because… Why would I keep it spoiler free?
It’s the third book. I did book reviews for the first two books in the series, and I will leave those up in the card symbol as well as down in the description if you want to check out my non-spoiler thoughts on the series which both of those posts are non-spoiler. But for this one there’s not really a reason to keep it spoiler-free, so this one is going to contain spoilers.
Since this is the third book in the series, I’m just gonna jump right into my review, give you my pros, give you my cons, give you my rating, and be done because I don’t need to go through the whole spiel about what the first book is about.
I love that this future earth has all of this history, and it kind of went from a very advanced technological society and then reverted into one without as much technology because they got a little bit too big for their britches and took on more than they could handle and the earth kind of backlashed and knocked them down a few pegs.
I thought it was cool that we got to learn a little bit more about the stone eaters, and the origins and how they came to be, and how they came to be because of genetic manipulation and genetic engineering. And I think my favorite part of this book was that past part. It has two different timelines.
It has the current timeline where Essun and Nassun – I can’t say their names – are working towards their goal of either saving the Earth by capturing the moon or destroying the Earth which is what Nassun is trying to do. I preferred the past storyline where we’re learning a lot more about the world, and learning about the origin of the stone eaters, and everything like that, and the first kind of Fulcrum-like area.
I liked learning about Hoa, and all of the different stone eaters, the original stone eaters, and how they were kept, and how they were kept as other even though they were a product of what humans had created. I guess they technically were a flawed product of what humans created because they weren’t supposed to have many emotions, and they did.
They just got better at hiding them because every time one of them displayed emotions, they were taken out to the garden and basically used as, like, a human battery similar to how the nodes would have the young orogene children put into them and were just used to as, like, a conduit, and it was terrible. Keleni was one of my favorite characters in this book because she bridged the gap between the stone eaters and the humans. She could understand both sides, but she wasn’t a part of either one.
She’s kind of parallel to mixed-race children and mixed-race people because they have elements of both and they can identify as both, but then neither fully accepts them sometimes. So I felt like there were some parallels there. I like Essun’s journey in this as well. That was probably my second favorite part of this novel.
It was that she goes from being this very secretive, very reserved woman to allowing herself to set roots a little bit with this travelling community that she’s going around with. She lets herself loosen up a little bit, and she starts to invest herself in these people. She starts to make more connections instead of keeping herself at arm’s length. She accepts that her past has happened, but she somewhat allows herself to step away from that and to grow again.
She does a lot of growth in this book especially in terms of motherhood. I think that motherhood is something that’s really addressed in this book, and I liked that exploration. You see Essun as she is struggling to realize that her little girl Nassun is now growing up into a woman and she doesn’t have control over Nassun anymore. And it also talks about Nassun understanding Essun a lot more which happens with children.
So the mother is having to let go, and see their children making their own mistakes, and everything like that, and then the child is starting to understand their parents a little bit more and realize that the parents did certain things further own good. But they still don’t have to like everything that their parents did.
So Nassun finally understands why Essun was so harsh on her as a child and how Essun really gave Nassun the ability to survive in this world and to survive as an orogene when people really hate orogenes. She made her strong and resilient to a lot of different punishments and terrible things,. But she treated Nassun terribly, so Nassun’s allowed to be upset about that. But she appreciates a little bit more how her mother raised her. Essun repeated some terrible processes that occurred to her as a child, but it preparedness Nassun.
And so she understands it, but she still is bitter towards her mother about it if that makes sense. So I loved that whole aspect of the book, and I thought that it really accumulated well in that final scene where they’re competing with each other to try to save the world or destroy the world. Essun realizes that she’s not going to be more powerful. She cannot control Nassun anymore, and she has to let go.
And so Essun finally lets go and allows Nassun to make her own choices…you know, she saves the world, and recaptures the moon, and all that stuff. But I thought that whole mother-daughter exploration was fantastic.
One of the best things about this series is that there are some real consequences for different choices that they have. So with that whole mother-daughter dynamic that is happening throughout this book and I guess the whole series but especially in this book, Essun has a lot of consequences, and some of them kind of relate to that mother-daughter thing.
Like, every time that Essun uses magic, she has one of her body parts turned to stone, and she loses that body part because Hoa the stone eater eats it.
At the one part where she uses the magic and then one of her breasts gets turned to stone, she has to lose the breast and everything like that. She immediately starts thinking about her motherhood, and how she raised her children with them having access to her breast milk, and everything like that. And it pains her more emotionally than it does physically because she’s starting to lose her ability to feel pain in those areas, and once it turns to stone, it doesn’t hurt her.
Emotionally she has a harder time letting go of those body parts that are associated with motherhood and stuff like that, so I thought that was really interesting. And I loved that she had some really big consequences for overextending herself in the previous book. I just love that over time she is giving more of herself physically and emotionally to save the world and everything like that, so I thought that the real consequences in this book were fantastic.
It was a good ending. I enjoyed it but I knew that Essun… At the beginning of the book when we found out that alabaster was a stone either now. I was like, uh well, Essun is definitely gonna become a stone either, and she did. And I predicted that they would eventually stop the fifth seasons from happening which also happened.
So a satisfying ending, but it wasn’t unpredictable. I’m trying to think if there’s any other pros, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. So let’s move on to some cons. Nassun was grating on my nerves during this book so much. I don’t know why I was finding her so frustrating.
She was preventing me from getting invested in the book a lot. It’s understandable that Nassun would be so attached to Schaffa because Schaffa saves her and everything like that and has been there for her where her parents have not been there for her. So it makes sense that she would become so attached to him, but she’s SO attached to him…ridiculously so.
And I just didn’t love it. I didn’t understand it. I couldn’t get behind it for some reason. Nassun kind of realizes that Schaffa is the person who treated her mother terribly, but then she’s totally fine with having such an emotional connection with him even though he was awful to her mother.
And just because he’s being okay to her means that he’s the greatest thing on the planet? I didn’t… I don’t know. I just couldn’t get behind it, and because of that she started annoying me throughout the whole thing. So I really didn’t like her chapters or following her because I didn’t like Schaffa and she loved Schaffa. But I also found this book A LOT slower than the other ones.
The plot of this one is so meandering. The main characters Essun and Nassun are just floating around not really doing anything. There’s not really that much drive in the characters. I mean, Nassun is going after trying to destroy the world and stuff like that, but it’s not happening very quickly. There’s a lot of traveling, and plotting along, and not getting anything done. And it was just not as interesting to me.
Like, I read way bigger books in way shorter of time frames, so I just was not invested in this. I actually ended up switching from reading the book physically to reading the book as an audiobook halfway through so that I could actually finish the novel. The audiobook definitely helped me push through this novel and finish it because the ending was good like I said in my pros, but it was just getting there that was a hard time for me.
Once you get past the halfway mark, things start to pick up and the action starts to happen. The characters are finally getting to their destinations and everything like that, so it gets a lot more exciting. But man oh man is it slow. Another con for me was that I was listening to the audiobook at the very end, and there’s just one random chapter from Alabaster, and I don’t understand why that was important to have at all.
It definitely threw me out of the story so bad because I didn’t know who it was at first. I didn’t know why that that was included at all. It was just, hey here’s a chapter from Alabaster as a stone eater. I guess it could have something to do with how when Essun comes back as a stone eater, she’s not fully herself. She’s just the core parts of Essun recreated in this stone eater body, and then that’s the whole trilogy.
Hoa is telling her the story of what she was doing during this time period and her life as a child.
That’s why we get the perspectives that we do in the first book, but I just didn’t think that that was necessary. And my last con and my biggest one that affected my whole reading experience was that I just couldn’t get invested. I’ve said that a couple of times in this review already, but I didn’t like Nassun.
I thought that the plot was really meandering and slow, and I just didn’t care as much as I cared for the first two books. I thought the first two books were freaking amazing. They were definitely some of my top books that I read in each of the years that I read them, but this one… I don’t know what happened. I wanted to love this so much, and so many of my friends freaking adore this book and this series as a whole.
And they talk about how this is the way to end a series and stuff like that, and I believe it. I don’t know if maybe it was my mood when I was reading it for two-and-a-half months or what, but I just could not get invested in this book and it really affected my reading experience.
So overall I really enjoyed this book. I really enjoyed figuring out where the characters ended up, and figuring out more about the world history, and all of that stuff. The storyline in the past was definitely my favorite because I loved learning about the history and everything like that, but I just couldn’t get invested in the present storyline because it was maybe a little bit too predictable and I don’t know.
I just wasn’t getting invested. I ended up giving this book 3.75 stars, somewhere in there. 3.5? It definitely was not as good as the first two books for me, and that’s why it has a little bit of a lower rating than those two. But it’s still an enjoyable read, and I think that it finished up the trilogy well. I just wish I had been able to dive right in and get as engrossed in the story as I did for the first two books.
So that’s gonna be my review of The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. If you liked it, please give it a big thumbs up and comment down below if you were totally invested in this story. What were your favorite parts of this book and of this trilogy as a whole? Is there anything else by N.K. Jemisin that you would recommend?
I know she’s written another trilogy and a duology, I believe. I am interested in those, but I want to know what you guys think of them if you have read them. Anything else you want me to know, leave it down below, and I will talk to you guys next time. Bye!