***SPOILER ALERT: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ALL THE BOOKS IN THE SERIES. IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED THE SERIES AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, CHECK OUT MY SPOILER-FREE REVIEW.
This is one of my new favourite series. It’s so good. SO. GOOD! I can’t even, it left me broken in ways I didn’t think I was breakable. But I’ll get to that in a bit. First, I’m going to briefly talk about the one thing that I didn’t really enjoy.
As I said in my review, I wasn’t a fan of the polyamorous relationship between Syen, Alabaster and Innon. I just found it uncomfortable to read about and I didn’t enjoy that part of the first book. I know that it worked for the characters and they were all happy with it, but I am very much a monogamy kind of person. And I cannot, at all relate to or see the appeal of such a relationship. But even leaving that aside… it just seemed kinda… I don’t even know what word to use for it… but Innon to me just seemed like one of those outlet adaptors lol Like the only purpose he served was to make sure both Syen and Alabaster had sex with their preferred gender. But he was just the instrument rather than actually a part of the relationship. Like a living sex toy. I just really didn’t like that setup, I didn’t like that relationship. I loved the relationship between Syen and ‘Baster. And I don’t see why it had to be a sexual one in any capacity. Once they were away from the Fulcrum and no longer forced to reproduce… why couldn’t it have been a deep, loving and supportive friendship?
Now that I think about it, my other beef with this series (and I really only just realised because I guess I had other things to think about while reading the books) is that it doesn’t allow for male/female relationships that aren’t sexual/romantic. Or at least we don’t see any. Even with Alabaster who was gay, there’s still this weird sexual thing and it’s not only because they were forced to copulate. They got off seeing each other get off. It’s weird, I mean I really would not want to see any of my friends have sex. Male or female. It’s just weird. And I wanted it to just be a very close and genuine and deep friendship without the sex. And same with Lerna. I mean, I didn’t mind that they ended up together sort of. I get it. But I would have enjoyed their relationship more if it were just a friendship. And it’s weird that for example Tonkee could have genuine female friends even though she was into girls. Which I just find annoying. It’s one of my long-standing beefs with media in general. Because despite popular belief, people of opposite sex can have deep, meaningful, close and wholly platonic relationships.
Alright, now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about all the awesomeness that is this series. This is not going to be very well structured. You have now reached the fangirl section of this discussion.
As I said before, I loved the relationship between Syen and ‘Baster. Leaving aside all the weird sexual stuff, that is. But they were just so cute and they loved each other so much and even though they were apart for years, they never stopped thinking about each other and caring about one another and it made me happy.
And then when ‘Baster died… I’m still not over it. Even though he comes back sort of, but we don’t even know if he’s himself and… and Alabaster is my child and I can’t stand that he hurt so much and… and… I’m not okay.
I also loved the relationship of Syen and Hoa. So cute, I 100% ship them. Just overall, the relationships in this series… man. I ended up also loving the relationship of Nassun and Schaffa. Which just… mad props to Jemisin because if you had asked me in the first book if Schaffa could ever be redeemed, I’d have said without a shadow of a doubt NO. And I pretty much think anyone can be redeemed. Like honestly, in the history of me reading books, I think I came across maybe 5 characters that I thought were absolutely beyond redemption. But by the end, I loved Schaffa. I mean, he was still far from a good person. But I loved him as a character and I didn’t despise him as I did in the first book.
Don’t even get me started on the mum feelings. I am honestly the least maternal person I’ve ever met. I don’t really like children and my attitude towards having children and being a mother is… better you than me lol. But the mum feels that this book brought out in me… I can’t even explain. Nassun and Essun… I just can’t. I can’t. My heart cannot cope.
The story is so cool. I’ve never quite read anything like it. And so well told. I loved the format of Hoa telling Essun her own story and the way that that slowly started to make sense over the course of the books. I loved the Syl Anagist story line and how it all tied together. It was so intricate and cool and interesting. I had no guesses about what the hell was going on. It was just awesome. Masterful storytelling. I don’t even have the words to explain. I am just in awe of this story.
Also, possibly the most chilling line in the series “Life is sacred in Syl Anagist.”. Am I the only one who got chills when it was revealed why life was sacred in Syl Anagist? The name of the city always made me think of synergy. Which may have been intentional and if so, then it’s a clever little play on words because synergy was what was needed for the tuners to work the obelisks and accomplish what was Syl Anagist’s biggest goal.
I don’t even know what more to say about this. I could fangirl about absolutely everything. The magic system that was so sciency, it appealed to me so much. The overall atmosphere which was so well done, the writing was so evocative that I half expected to look out the window and see ash falling from the sky half the time. The stone eaters. They were so cool, the idea of them and how they worked. I could pretty much fangirl about everything, like I said. But this is already a behemoth of a post, so I’ll leave it at that.