While I enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy immensely, the final installment—The Stone Sky—consumed me. The last three chapters are one of the most exciting and most satisfying conclusions that I’ve ever encountered.
One thing I repeatedly noticed as I read this trilogy is that I was reading faster than my brain could keep up with. There are many sections in the book that get almost technical in their description and explanation of the geological events that are occurring, and I would fly through all of it whether I fully comprehended what I was reading or not. I don’t think it’s inherently bad to read in this way; it’s the way I tend to read a lot of page-turning fiction, but it is definitely a shallower, surface-level method of reading. The point of explaining this is to emphasize that the moment I started the third to last chapter of The Stone Sky, I was suddenly reading slowly and meticulously. I had been racing through this crazy, chaotic, emotional turmoil of a trilogy and then the last 60 pages hit me so hard that I stopped in my tracks and had to slow down and take in every single word. There are many great novels that don’t need their endings or don’t truly have one, and their effectiveness is found in the telling or in the small moments or in the overarching message. The Broken Earth trilogy is made complete by its ending. The ending is the heart of the story, and I wasn’t able to fully love the story until I reached it.
What is so powerful about this trilogy is the ways it illuminates the injustices and greediness of our own reality. It’s been a troubling year to say the least, and The Stone Sky makes abundantly clear that our country and our leaders are going in the wrong direction, making the wrong choices, choosing the wrong priorities. Jemisin shows us how much worse-off the world can become if we continue to follow this path, while also showing us that it is never too late to change course. And this is what the conclusion achieves in a remarkable 60 pages. It’s tragic, gripping, emotional, realistic, but ultimately so full of hope. Heart-wrenchingly full of hope. How often does that happen? How often do we get to be crushed and then uplifted by a realistic conclusion? The Broken Earth Trilogy is a classic and a Must Read.