All My Thoughts on The Broken Earth Series

All My Thoughts on The Broken Earth Series

When I first started this series, I thought this was going to be a Dune-style story of a future where the world is covered in sand, people are trying to live and not doing a good job at it, and the politics is a little funky. What I got was nothing close to that and I’m grateful for it.

NK Jemisin decided to write The Broken Earth trilogy after thinking about the future of our world. What would happen if we continue to move the way we have? Well, that answer is a terrifying one where the Earth takes out its revenge on its surface and all the living creatures on it.

We open the first book, The Fifth Season, with Essun finding her son’s been murdered by her husband. She also finds that her daughter has been taken by him and now she’s on a mission to find her. However, Essun isn’t her first name. As you continue to read the story, you find out more about Essun. It feels like the entire first book is dedicated to Essun’s story and it’s not a short one.

As a personal story, I absolutely loved the first book. It really gets into the world you’re about to dive into and shares the story of its main character. I thought this was genius; you learn about the world (albeit with a ton of questions) and you learn about the main character’s life. Essun’s real name is Damaya, which she abandoned when she was taken from her home and turned into an Orogene solider. Then her name was Syenite and she was a bad ass with her Orogenic powers.

While not a lot of questions about the powers is answered in this book, you get a sense that Essun is important. She’s not just important because she’s looking for her daughter, but she’s got incredible power. In this world, there are some gifted humans called Orogenes that can kill thousands of people with a blink of an eye and cause a cataclysmic fissure in the earth just by thinking it. In this world, they’re dangerous people because orogene is difficult to manage. If you’re not careful, an orogene kid with a temper tantrum can take out the whole town.

This is kind of the extent of what you get in the first novel. I was still a little upset that I had no clue how the Earth came to this reality and what an orogene was and how they got their powers.

The second novel, The Obelisk Gate, felt more like the world building that I was looking for, but at the same time a little stale. Honestly, it felt like the second novel was a lead up to the third novel. But the parts that were important to the story were really important to the story. For example, we get to hear more from Nassun (Essun’s daughter). She meets an old friend of her mother’s when her father finally settles on a community that promises to dispel orogenic powers from people. LOL, what a joke.

At this point in the book, I’m more intrigued by Nassun’s story than by Essun’s. Essun is just sitting in some underground community waiting to see her mentor and lover, finding out more about the stone eaters (another human form with extraordinary powers), and planning a battle with another community. Ok, she’s doing more than that, but it felt a little dry.

Nassun’s story and meeting Schaffa is so much more intriguing. You find out about Schaffa in the first novel and immediately you think he’s the bad guy. But then he kind of warms to you even though the entire time I was waiting for the knife behind his back to make an appearance. But despite Nassun’s story being interesting and more of the world being revealed, I wasn’t as thrilled to read The Obelisk Gate as I was for The Fifth Season. 

The third novel, The Stone Sky, was the best out of all three. There’s a few different reasons for that. First, there’s the story of Essun finally finding Nassun (her daughter) and reuniting. While the circumstances aren’t in their favor and a whole lot of stuff goes down, they do find each other so that’s a fun treat. Then, you learn about Nassun and her abilities. Oh, she’s got abilities and it’s way more than what Essun has. Finally, you learn way more about Hoa and the other stone eaters. In this whole book, I thought it was humans vs. humans, but the real story is humans vs. the earth.

That’s right, Father Earth (in this book) is the actual villain in this series. Once you find out more about the origins of the stone eaters and orogenic people, then you realize that what’s happening is that the Earth is a little mad about what has happened to it. This is where NK Jemisin’s original question gets answered. What would happen to the Earth if we keep going the way we have? Self-destruction.

This was quite a series and will definitely keep you thinking more deeply about how we treat the Earth, how we treat each other, and the possible consequences if we keep going the way we do. When you think about all the efforts we make that seem small like recycling or not using plastic straws, think about an Earth that won’t hesitate and wipe out every living thing like an ongoing deadly plague except the locusts are bugs with boiling blood that burst and burn you.

My initial thoughts on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale

Ooooh lawdy, I’ve got thoughts on this one.

A few posts back, I talked about my adoration for Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale and the premiere of this show. Now that the show’s been out and circulating, I took some time over the past week to watch the three episodes currently available on Hulu.

I. Am. Shook.

I could get pretty lengthy in the description of the show, so I’m going to just leave it up to you to either check out this trailer or at least watch the first episode.

We’re all aware of the fact that this book had an uptick in sales for the first time in like 30 years after Donald Trump became president. But is the story relevant after thirty years? Here’s my top five thoughts about the show (spoiler free).

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  1. The first thing I noticed is that this is loosely based on the novel, but not brick for brick. I actually like it this way because then you don’t find yourself trying to match it to the book. I’m a huge advocate for movies taking their own creative choices with the way the story is written. If it makes sense and still respects the novel then I’m OK with it. Even without it being completely based on the book, you still get the dark feeling you get when you’re reading the novel
  2. Speaking to the point just made, what I find really interesting is how the mood is strikingly dark. Like super dark. Like watching Stranger Things but knowing that people bought this book in 2016-2017 because they felt like it could possibly happen. I left my couch feeling like I was going to get kidnapped in the middle of the night
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  3. One of the many things I was thinking about was how realistic this story feels in a day and age where technology and science have caught up to science fiction in a way. However, the story takes care of that by using chapters from the Bible to justify the stuff that happens and it really annoys me as a Christian woman to take the Bible out of context. It’s just frustrating to see people not seeing the bigger picture when it comes to biblical text and just use it as a way to punish people (I think that might speak too much about me)
  4. Ofglen. Just watch it for Ofglen
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  5. Margaret Atwood makes a super quick appearance in the first episode. If you know anything about her, you know she’s got this signature perm and you just can’t not see it when she comes up

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Lastly, just watch it. I would say be careful to believe that this is reality because it’s not. While our country is in its own personal crisis, it’ll make you feel like the end is near but also remember that this is a novel and sometimes novels have a happy ending.