Thursday, September 22, 2016

Seismic Events in The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Series: Broken Earth, #1
Relesed: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Orbit
Length: 468 pages
Source: Publisher for review

A season of endings has begun. 
It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. 
It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. 
It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. 
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy. 

As a Hugo award winner and Nebula award nominee, among many other awards and accolades, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin leaves very little doubt about its own quality. But even without the official recognition, The Fifth Season enchants easily, making it clear from the prologue that Jemisin’s writing is something extraordinary. This novel shines in its every aspect and shows precisely what a fantasy novel should be. It carries in itself everything from shiny worldbuilding to superb characterization and cleverly inserted traces of metanarration and metafictionality.

The Fifth Season flows easily, but not without effort on our part. It demands a bit of investment, a more careful consideration, but it isn’t intimidating or inaccessible. Jemisin’s writing is a symphony of words, a work of art in and of itself. She cleverly leads us through the story, often addressing us directly, and allows us to see what she wants us to see and realize only that she wants us to realize at any particular moment. At times the writing is so good that it temporarily draws our attention away from the storyline, leaving us breathless in anticipation of Jemisin’s next artful turn of phrase.

We begin with three very different women, of different ages and different social status. Their situations are vastly different but they all have one thing in common – they are orogenes, able to control various forms of energy and cause seismic events. Orogenes aren’t celebrated in their society, they provoke fear and disgust and they have two options upon discovery – they can be killed by their communities or they can go to the city and essentially become slaves.

Jemisin weaves this story like an intricate piece of filigree work, cleverly introducing new information and shocking discoveries at precisely the right time. There is an Appendix, glossary included, at the end of the book that is most useful since the author doesn’t spend much time explaining herself or her world. She sacrifices everything, even (or especially) the comfort of her readers for the good of the narrative, and the end result is nothing short of glorious.

The Fifth Season is a beautifully constructed, masterfully executed work of fiction that everyone needs to read. It may require some investment from its readers, but the rewards are more than enough.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I've always wanted to read her books. I think I have a trilogy of some other series that I bought many moons ago. She sounds brilliant!

  2. What beautiful review Maja..oh how you tempt me!

  3. Hm. I'm in a quick and entertaining kind of place at the moment, so I think something that takes careful consideration probably isn't for me in my current mood, but I'm making note for when I'm looking for something that challenges me in the best possible way. Gorgeous review Maja!

  4. I've been meaning to pick up something by this author for years now and this is exactly the motivation I need! So glad you enjoyed this, Maja, and stunning review! :)

  5. I am so tempted to stop everything and read this now. I know that you, like I am, are stingy with those five stars, so when I see it on your blog, I know I need to read it. I see you are already working on the second book.

  6. I am not sure, I loved a book in another series, then I also hated one

  7. It sounds like you have to be in the right mood and needing some challenge to read it. It does sound interesting i'll be reading it someday

    Great review

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