The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Page count: 468 pages
Content Warnings: sexual abuse, slavery, death
Star Rating (out of 5): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Spicy Rating (out of 5): n/a
An artful masterpiece is the only way to describe The Fifth Season, the first book in The Broken Earth series. A fifth season occurs every couple hundred years in the Stillness – times of wide-scale catastrophe brought on by natural disasters. This time, a fifth season is set off intentionally by a powerful orogene (those who can wield power drawn from the Earth), ending the world as it is known, and setting off what is to be the longest season yet. The novel centers around Essun, as she searches for her kidnapped daughter while trying to hide her powerful secret as the world begins to change around her.
Typically, I am not a fan of science fiction or books with apocalyptic events. However, the world-building, character development, and artfully written style of this book work so well with the science fiction and apocalyptic elements to make a captivating fantasy story. The internal dialog delivers everything you expect from an emotional read. It’s raw, complex, and has a good dose of sarcasm and dry humor- at least for me. Stylistically, this novel is phenomenal and in a class of its own. The use of different perspectives, choice of words, interludes, stone lore passages, and even the layout of text on the page, all add to the emotion of the moment and allowed me to empathize with the characters. As any good author can do, Jemisin also delivered a couple of great surprises in the course of the book, which really hooked me as I started picking up the clues along the way.
There is still so much to be uncovered about this world between the different races, orogenes vs. guardians, stone eaters, and the obelisks. Jemisin carefully laid out just enough in this first book to keep me interested without being overwhelmed by the world. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for an emotional yet rich fantasy story. On a personal note, this book has *finally* gotten me out of a fantasy reading funk after binge-reading all three of Sarah J. Maas’s series last year, so if you’re going through something similar, give this book a try!
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