I’d read so many reviews about Nk Jemisin’s Fantasy/SF that my curiosity got the better of me, and I splurged on a Trilogy. In my defence, it was a reduced price, bargain offer. I’m happy to report it was money well spent.
NKJ has won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Her Trilogy is intricate and extraordinary, displaying originality both in the world building and the characterisation.
What I enjoyed about the trilogy was that women were front and centre stage, including a brave girl-child, Nassun who in Book 3 faces off against her powerful mother Essun in a battle to either save or destroy the earth. The female characters are shown as being strong, resourceful and courageous. All necessary qualities if they are acting against an epic backdrop. Make no mistake, NKJ has written an Epic Saga, and carried it off in style.
NKJ has impressive World Building talent and doesn’t put a foot wrong. She succeeds in creating true aliens, the Stone Eaters, who were utterly foreign to me, in concept. However, she uses sufficient current earth flora and fauna details to make the setting and background events recognizable and plausible. There’s nothing wo-woo about the Broken Earth Trilogy. It is no exaggeration to say she expands the range of what Fantasy can achieve in the hands of an excellent writer.
What made the trilogy stand out were the earth sciences which are crucial to the story: volcanology, geology, plate tectonics plus climate related natural phenomena. The trilogy is not in the sword and sorcery genre, nor in the supernatural genre, which came as a happy relief. With this Trilogy NKJ has moved the genre into an altogether different place. The results are seismic (insider quip).
A significant recurrent theme is personal sacrifice, and to a lesser extent: vengeance. The main characters encounter tests, trials and tribulations some of which were horrific, but the ending comes to a satisfying and credible conclusion.
I can’t wait to read more of N K Jemisin’s work.