The Broken Earth Trilogy Review

  • Author: N.K. Jemisin
  • Series: Broken Earth
  • Number of Books: 3
  • Genre: Science Fantasy
  • No. of pages: 1,294 pages
  • Star Rating: 4.5 stars

Plot of Book 1: Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

What a trilogy. I always find it hard to talk about books I actually like. My brain just cannot come up with the words. But I am going to give it a go.

This was a series I saw promoted all over social media for years. I finally gave in and read it. I will say at first, while I loved book 1, I think I set my expectations to unreachable heights. I enjoyed the book but I wasn’t getting the same exhilaration everyone else seemed to be getting. That was until Book 2. I read book 2 in 2 days and was obsessed with it. That was the book that fully sold me on this series. It was so good that I read book 3 not that long afterwards which was just as good. Jemisin’s brain is incredible and I need to read everything by her!

Starting off with the setting. I have never before experienced a setting like the one in this book. I had never really read science fantasy before this series. Set in an apocalyptic world we follow numerous characters as they try to survive in this awful climate. It was super refreshing to have a world like this. Don’t get me wrong I love my space settings and my high fantasy LOTR settings but this was just so exciting and new and I loved it. I loved the world-building in this story, learning how the world functions during these periods and learning the history of the this world.

The lore of this series is by far one of my favourites. Jemisin does a brilliant thing of giving you only small amounts of information at every turn but enough to keep you wanting and reading more. You don’t fully get the picture of the world until the final book. I loved trying to figure out what was going on but let me tell you, you do read this book giving full faith to Jemisin as she is the Queen of revealing very little. But that final book when all the tidbits fall into place was one of the most perfect reading experiences ever!

Character-wise. I am an Essun Stan. I love her with every fibre of my being. This woman has literally been to hell and back. The ordeals she goes through is this series is like nothing else I have seen ever! I supported her through this entire journey and I just wanted nothing but good things for her. One of Jemisin’s strongest points is creating really interesting character dynamics and then adding those dynamics in a world where survival is key. My favourite dynamic has to be that of Essun and her daughter Nassun. They have such a complicated relationship that I think gets explored really well. But I cannot say too much about the characters and their relationships to one another without spoiling anything.

Writing style. Jemisin and this series as a whole are known for their super interesting 2nd POV narration. Going into the first book, I was nervous that I wouldn’t like the 2nd POV and that it would hinder the reading experience but it just adds to it. It is so well done and the reasoning behind it is just beautiful. I also enjoyed the multi-POV that we get of other characters, not just Essun. I love a book with multiple narrators and I felt that flicking between all these characters meant that I just had to read on.

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