Book – The Fifth Season
Author – N.K. Jemisin
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter. – Goodreads Synopsis
The Broken Earth series has come very high recommended to me so I figured I would take a stab at it. (Instead of getting to anything else on my TBR pile.) I originally though that this was a sci-fi story that won a Hugo award, but I was pleasantly surprised at what it turned out to be – Fantasy!
The best thing that comes out of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy worlds are the new ideas that I never would have thought of before. The premise that there are types of people that can control the earth’s seismic events is absolutely incredible. I do not think that I have ever read anything quite like that before. It’s these things that get me excited and push me to keep reading all through the night.
The world building that ties into the story is equally amazing. One of the most satisfying feelings is when you can tell an author tied in everything together. The world building just makes sense when combined with the the “magic” system that was created. I am a big fan of seeing how all of the puzzle pieces fit together in the backdrop of the story, and Jemisin seems to be a master of that.
Post-Apocalyptic is an easy win for me too. I love anything that has to do with surviving during end of the world scenarios, so you mix that with my other favorite love fantasy, and then baby you got yourself a stew going.
I have talked about this in previous reviews (Usually Brandon Sanderson…), but I love when an author can set up a sense of mystery that wants you to keep guessing what is going to happen throughout the story. I’ve seen it done poorly, and I’ve seen it done well. Jemisin does it well. You wonder who the characters are, what they can do, and what is coming next.
Prose is something that I feel like I do not notice much until it is terrible or terrific. A lot of books I read just fall right in the middle, so I never think about it too much. Reading The Fifth Season made me think of poetry. A lot of the narration and interludes just have this language that flows together like water.
A the beginning of the novel I struggled a bit trying to keep all of the characters separated. I was trying my best to remember every name and place, but it ended up being a little foggy at some points. Once I finally got everything down, Jemisin dropped huge character reveals! It was awesome to find out that the characters that we have been reading about, were actually just the same character, but in different timelines. I think I may have got goosebumps when I tied all of that together. Truly a big payoff in that setup. Then she finished with a big cliff hanger that has to do with the moon and more obelisks?! (I had to drive to Barnes and Noble and buy the rest of series right after that!)
Should I Read It?
Hell yeah you should.