📕 What It's About
The Fifth Season is book one in the Broken Earth trilogy by N. K. Jemison.
It's about 'beings' living on a supercontinent called the Stillness. Every couple of centuries, the planet goes through what they call a Fifth Season and is basically a planet-resetting cataclysmic event.
Society is based on a caste system. There's a wide spectrum of roles ranging from laborers to magic-wielding orogenes who can control the energy in the ground to the strangely powerful Guardians to keep the orogenes in check.
The story follows three female orogene protagonists named Essun, Damaya, and Syenite, each at a different point in their life although they seem to be heading in a similar direction.
🔍 How I Discovered It
The Fifth Season randomly popped up as a recommended book on Amazon while I was browsing for new material to read. It was mentioned that this novel won the Hugo award in 2016. If you're unaware, the Hugo award is given to the best fantasy or science-fiction of the previous year. It's basically the Grammy for this genre of books.
The Fifth Season brought back my love for reading fiction. I've been on a non-fiction kick for a few months now but there's nothing like a good story to take you out of the real world for a while.
Something that stood out to me was how grim and dark this book felt as I was reading it. I assume it's because of the re-occurring cataclysmic events but the world is in a post-apocalyptic-esk setting and everything just feels grimey and cloudy.
Lastly, I hope this turns into a TV show. N. K. Jemison's built an incredible world on paper and I couldn't imagine how fantastic it would be on screen.
What I Liked About It
- All of the characters were great but I particularly loved Shaffa. He's a guardian who escorted Damaya to the Fulcrum to learn the ways of orogeny. While he's escorting her, you learn how hard of a 'being' Shaffa is. He's an interesting blend of ruthlessness and comforting.
- I loved how the book shifted to a second-person point of view when describing the story for Essun. It's not something that I've come across before and it kept my mind curious about what was going on.
- This book takes originality to an extreme. This is easily the most original book I've ever read with a unique kind of magic.
- The last quarter or so of The Fifth Season really makes it hard to put the book down. You start to build this connection with all three protagonists and the ending is absolutely flawless.
What I Didn't Like About It
- I wish more time was spent in the Fulcrum. The Fulcrum is where orogenes learn how to control their powers and they progress through ranks. It's a Hogwarts of sorts.
🦉 Who Would Like It?
People who love science fiction and fantasy would absolutely love this book. As I mentioned previously, there's an interesting thing going on with the changing of the reader's point of view which I thought was great.