The Stone Sky is the third novel in N.K. Jeminsin’s Broken Earth trilogy and it’s absolutely superb. The entire trilogy is excellent and this final entry provides a truly spectacular conclusion. It does create a bit of a dilemma for me, though.
Because this novel pulls together everything that has happened in the previous two novels so brilliantly, it is pretty much impossible (for me, at least) to go into any detail about the novel without spattering spoilers all over the place. So this may be my vaguest post yet.
The trilogy as a whole is set in the far future on a massive continent known as The Stillness. The Stillness is wracked with regular, world shattering events known as Seasons. The only way humanity can survive these is to hunker down until it passes and then climb out and start, once again, to rebuild civilisation. Among the human population are orogenes, people who can manipulate the thermal and kinetic energy in order to prevent — or cause — seismic events. Orogenes are feared, hated and essential to the survival of humanity.
The series revolves around the orogenes and this makes for a very effective narrative about power — who holds it, who exploits it and who is exploited by it. And all of this flows very naturally from a vividly realised world which very effectively manages to provide the perspective of of the people on the receiving end of structural oppression.
The Broken Earth trilogy really is epic fantasy at its best. It pulls together some very thoughtful, and always relevant, themes with several very engaging characters and a (literally) world-shattering narrative. I can’t believe it took me so long to finish it.