Author: NK Jemisin
Pub Date: Aug. 2015 (read Mar. 2018)
I’ve only heard good things about this series and I’ve been dying to read it for ages, but this was quite different than all the other fantasy I read and I really struggled to get into it.
I definitely liked the story, but it took me a while to get into it and it wasn’t until the first “twist” of the story that I started to understand how clever this was. I’ll be honest, I mostly read YA fantasy, which is why I think I initially struggled with this.
The Fifth Season supposedly tells the story of how the world ends for the last time. This world has been through many seasons that have threatened the existence of humans, but they have always managed to survive. The book starts off with a huge earthquake that destroys the major city of the continent, Yumenes, and with a mother fleeing her community after the death of her son. We follow the perspectives of 3 women as we learn about the intricacies of this world.
The continent is largely dictated by earthquakes. There are many fault lines and the ground is never stable. The communities are used to frequent shaking of the earth and many communities struggle to survive beyond a few seasons in this hostile world. There is one thing that can stabilize the earth and prevent earthquakes, the Orogenes, who can communicate with the earthquake and quell and create shakes. They can be extremely dangerous if not trained, so there is another group called Guardians, who seek out orogenes and bring them to the Fulcrum in Yumenes to be trained. Our three main characters are all orogenes. Essun has just lost her son after the great shake in Yumenes, Syenite is completing a mission on behalf of the Fulcrum, and Damaya has just been discovered in her community by a Guardian.
It’s a hard book to get into because there’s a lot to learn about this new world and it’s hard to keep up with the constantly changing perspectives. I also found the timeline a little confusing and had a hard time with Essun’s perspective because it’s written in 2nd person POV. But I did start to get into it after about the half way mark and I think the next two novels will be easier now that I understand the baseline of the story. Like I said, this book is quite clever and the writing is good.
I’m not sure when I’ll get to the next book, but I probably will try to do it soon because I’m worried about forgetting what happened in this book and I don’t want a steep learning curve again! Hoping the next one will be a 4 star read for me.