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The Obelisk Gate

The Broken Earth, Book 2
Written by: N. K. Jemisin
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Series: The Broken Earth, Book 2
Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (264 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This is the way the world ends, for the last time.

The season of endings grows darker, as civilization fades into the long cold night.

Essun - once Damaya, once Syenite, now avenger - has found shelter, but not her daughter. Instead there is Alabaster Tenring, destroyer of the world, with a request. But if Essun does what he asks, it would seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

Far away, her daughter Nassun is growing in power - and her choices will break the world.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2016 N.K. Jemisin (P)2016 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"Exceptional." ( Library Journal)
"Robin Miles continues as narrator, and the large cast of characters allows her to draw on her vast store of accents. Her narration is intimate and engaged, and she enriches the complicated relationships.... Miles draws out the emotions - sometimes volatile, sometimes seething beneath the surface--as the complexities of this postapocalyptic world unfold." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Weakest of the Trilogy

This book brings the Stillness into greater detail. Jemisin has envisioned a startlingly realistic fantasy setting. A dynamic, dying planet, social castes, different species, powerful mutations, believable ' human' prejudices. She writes very well, fleshing out her concepts.
This second in the Broken Earth Trilogy follows two plotlines, not degning to bring them together except very superficially. Good set-up for the third novel, but not really able to stand on it's own. The action is too spaced - diluted throughout the novel - a shame given Jemisin's talent for writing with pulse-pounding pace when she wants to.
Unfortunately, this novel starts to suffer from "Battlestar Galactica Syndrome". It gets bogged down in clever metaphysics. I also don't understand her fascination with gay sex, or her insistence on using the First Person Immersive perspective. Telling her reader "You feel angry" or "You think about..." is presumptuous. Just tell us the story...we'll figure out what we feel.
Robin Myles is again an above average reader. She fleshes out some unique dialects - combinations of East Indian, Scottish, and Irish accents. - depending on the character's birthplace in the Stillness. Brilliant. She unfortunately has a tendency to lecture rather than relate the story.
I give this installment 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Exceptional Storytelling and Narration

The pacing in this book is incredible, it moves along with every chapter, bringing more and more to the story. I cruised through this book in a third of the time it took me to finish the first.

With the addition of each new character it feels as if the narrator gets to flex her impressive skill even more. She helps build the world, giving each important voice a personal flair that makes it unmistakably unique.

The story takes off at a breakneck pace, never dropping you. It kept me listening long after I would have regularly switched to something else and constantly rewinding and re-listening in case I missed an important line.

N.K. Jemisin builds a remarkable and one of a kind world that, once it draws you in, presents you with mystery after mystery that you can't wait to hear solved. The way each new discovery layers over previous shows her skill in building a world that both makes sense and is fascinating in its obscured past.

I can't wait to start the next book in the series... In fact, I think I will right now.

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World building at it's creative best

The story was beauitfully crafted to give a vivid image of what was happening. Overall a solid book with a plot that could go anywhere. There was once or twice that I went back and listened to a part again to make sure I understood, but otherwise it was clear throughout.

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Novel, but flawed

Decent story, performer occasionally makes mistakes in pronounciation/goes over the top. Plot sometimes irrational, hard to connect to. E.g. main character destroys a large city where she didn't have to, and the book does not address the moral issues with that. Just proceeds as if that's what anyone would do. Lots of focus on father/daughter issues, need for strong male, etc.

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great story line

great story line though sometimes a little difficult to follow if your attention wanders. The woman who reads is absolutely fantastic

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A strong sequel...

This is a very good follow up to Fifth Season, and where book 1 was dedicated to multiple time sequences, this book has the room to develop multiple, interesting plot lines and drive the story forward quite strongly. The narrator puts in another excellent performance, and I am more committed to getting book 3 than I was to getting book 2, so I think that shows how the story is gaining strength and momentum.

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wonderful!

if i could rate this higher than 5 stars i would!!! this is a wonderful story!

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Love the performance to a decent story

Pretty decent book. I found it quite a bit more predictable from the first, but I did enjoy seeing where the story went. I thought the audio performance was superb though.

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love it

I loved this book as much as the first. I didn't want to put it down.

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The narrator was SO AMAZING. A+++++

I had read the first book in print, but with a new long commute, I wanted to listen instead of read, so I got the audiobook for the second book. A lot of the terms are complicated and, thus, the PDF is necessary for new listeners, but, holy smokes, the narrator made this story EPIC. She took on new voices and accents for each character; she made the unfolding of the narrative feel real, actual, close, profound. A+++++ to her and, naturally, to N. K. Jemisin. I was practically moved to tears as the book ended. Thank you.

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  • Jesslyn H
  • 2016-08-29

Miles is becoming my favorite narrator

Can I give this 10 stars? Jemisin is a freaking writing god. If anything, this was better than the 1st book. I rate this series alongside the Stormlight Archive and have no doubts that I'll be reading and rereading them both many, many times.

The narration was just beautiful. I love the varied accents that Miles can bring to the table.

My only complaint is that the audio and Kindle versions aren't synced so I had to always make sure I switched back and forth at a chapter break. That is more than a bit of a pain.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 2020-02-01

Father Earth's Lost Child

"But just because you can’t see or understand a thing doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you.”
- N.K. Jemisin

Book two in the Broken Earth trilogy, The Obelisk Gate is reallytwo (well perhaps three) stories woven together. Essun, the primary focus of Book 1 (three stories/narrators in one, perhaps?), and her daughter Nassun This really is one book, but it is a bit like juggling how talented Jemisin is at transitioning voices, perspectives, weaving up/down/forward/backward/in/out and creating a story out of the Earth and out of a mother's need to find her daughter.

If you consider these three books to be one, with one giant narrative arc (which you should) this is the point where the momentum twists, where it seems for a second or forever, like the death of the world will never end. But then the gravity of the series pulls the story back down again and accelerates the reader right into book three.

5 people found this helpful

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  • S. Hayes
  • 2016-08-27

Excellence - A rare gem

If you could sum up The Obelisk Gate in three words, what would they be?

This books continues the story lines from book one. The world is going through another season but this one will last thousands of years with the resulting planet being inhabitable. But the people do not accept this or understand it. It seams that the extinction of the human race is eminent but Alabaster has been to the mountain top and returns (broken and half-dead himself) to tell the only person who can finish what he started to heal the Earth. Tons of questions are answered. Revelations are realized. Nassun comes of age in this madness. Essun grows in her craft, realizes her potential and that she can't do it alone.

It is nothing like N.K. Jemisin's other series which is nothing short of amazing because world building is hard and that is exactly what the writer does here. Among horrifying post-apocalyptic events, dogmatic guardians who believe their evil is good, the mysterious absence and presence of celestial staples we continue to learn about the relationships of the characters, their histories as to how they came to be who they are and one I didn't see coming...Father Earth.

What did you like best about this story?

This books has something for fans of Octavia Butler, Jules Verne, world ending scenarios, dysfunctional families and of course...N. K. Jemisin.

Which character – as performed by Robin Miles – was your favorite?

Alabaster (sp?). I think Robin did an excellent job capturing his unique personality and quirks.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The constant struggle for acceptance for who a person is as a human being.

Any additional comments?

This is the third world built by this author. I don't know many who can do this. I am not surprised that the author won a Hugo for this series.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Rudranil
  • 2018-08-06

Like a song with beautiful lyrics, but dull tune..

All the 3 books in the series have beautiful prose. But, the pace is agonizingly slow. Same things are repeated countless times before anything actually happens and the story moves forward. In the end, I just finished the last book only out of obligation to complete the series, but can't say I enjoyed the journey.

The narration, however, is top notch. It complements the beautiful prose and elevates it to a magical level.

9 people found this helpful

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  • theresa saso
  • 2016-09-06

Love this series!!!

Where does The Obelisk Gate rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Current fave in all fiction

What about Robin Miles’s performance did you like?

Mile's voice is like a massage on my ears, and her performance drops me right into the middle of this world.

Any additional comments?

Such an amazingly rich and different world. Extremely unique and a wonderful travel experience. I'm going to listen to the first book again right now.

12 people found this helpful

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  • just for reviews
  • 2019-03-13

Mostly ok, but confusing

Because of the way this book is written, critical parts of it are very confusing. There are sections where you cannot tell through the narration process which character is telling certain important parts of the story. Probably in the text the author might use fonts or something tho give readers clues, but it leaves listeners guessing. The story is good enough to continue the series and hope the parts come together in the end, but it might require a trip to the library.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Heather
  • 2017-06-20

Interesting Reveals but Mostly Filler

As a follow up to book one, I found this book to be mostly filler. It was one of those books where I was willing to give the author a pass on some style choices but then it really got on my nerves towards the end.

What I enjoyed - We get to learn some interesting information on why there are the seasons. I like the idea of post-humans evolving special abilities (I think that's what happened, anyway). We learn a lot more about the different types of post-humans and their function. Nessun was interesting to see how she learns and deals with her past. I liked the interactions with Alabaster and learning more about stone-eaters. It's a very interesting world she has created.

I had hope, after book one, that she was going the direction of Mark Lawrence's first two series. The idea of a future Earth where they are interacting with old tech that we recognize. While I believe there was this tech in "Obelisk Gate," I could not determine what she was implying they were interacting with. I was especially disappointed when we learn there is magic (instead of them just being post-humans). Finding out that magic is in everything felt like - oh, it's just pantheism. It was like something unique just became cliché with these choices.

The author continues the issues with murkiness in other ways: The use of pronouns became very confusing with several choices the author made. One is the continued choice of using a second person pov for Essun. There are also sections with first person pov and others with third person but you don't know who is talking or being talked to. There are also quotes with redacted parts at the beginning of chapters. I found myself often unsure of what person a pronoun was referring to and the style felt pretentious and not well-deployed.

Another source of annoyance is the extensive focus on everyone's appearance - their hair especially. I have no idea why we should care. Is she trying to imply the movement of humans/post-humans through Earth? As an aside - also there is so much focus on the interpersonal community stuff and I just didn't see how it was relevant to the plot in the end.

The book was okay, but I just think the author fell victim to hubris. I do admire her creativity but she was unsuccessful at implementation of her ideas. She made too many bad style choices and needed more editing.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Brian Gray
  • 2016-10-31

Loving and recommending frequently

Still living this amazing trilogy from N K Jemisin. The characters are so real and 3 dimensional, the story is fascinating–I really never want to be not reading this book–and the metaphor to our own world makes the reading a thoughtful experience. obelisk gate also somehow contains even more reveals and surprises even though it essentially picks up just where broken earth left off. I can't wait for the final installment.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-02-28

Very good Sci-fi.

The second book in the Broken Earth series is just as good, if not better than the first. Higley recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Virago
  • 2020-02-25

Wonderful Sequel!

This was a phenomenal sequel! I love this story and am excited to get to the next book in the series. excellent storytelling, fascinating plot, amazing characters. All the adjectives.

1 person found this helpful