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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Broken Earth trilogy

N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy seems to have received pretty much universal acclaim.  I enjoyed the series, but I don't know that I'd agree with the most effusive critics, who have given it labels like "one the greatest works of fantasy literature ever put to page".  The person who wrote that isn't alone.  When the last book was published the author became the first to win three consecutive Hugo Awards and the series became the first to have all of its works awarded the Hugo for best novel.

The writing style takes some getting used to.  It has the typical problem in sci-fi and fantasy novels with making up to many words.  While I get that it can be seen as adding flavor and depth to the author's world, I would sooner them just use existing words for things that are already real.  There is also a seemingly random use of perspectives for the narrator.  There's a reason for this, but it can be jarring at first and you don't really know why it's happening until late in the first book.

Jemisin does weave a fairly rich narrative and world.  Her characters a complex and generally very well made.  The work is fairly progressive in its portrayal of sexuality, sexual identity, and marginalization in society.  I'm no developmental psychologists, but the reaction of children to abusive situations seemed off to me.  A big positive is that she actually finished her series in a timely manner, which is a lot more than you can say for some fantasy authors.

I recommend the books for anyone who likes fantasy.  I will note that they do have mature topics and have sexually explicit scenes, so keep that in mind.