23 July, 2017


Title: The Fifth Season
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Series: The Broken Earth #1
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Publisher: Orbit
Release: 2015
Source: Audiobook
Pages: 468

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This is the way the world ends...for the last time.
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.

EXPECTATIONS: My mind drew me all kinds of pictures of what a fifth season could be out of the four that I knew, but I really couldn’t tell. I picked it up mostly because I was told there’s a transgender character there.

THE WORLD: The Earth is considered to be a god, Father Earth. People believe he is angry with them, and thus tries to kill them all with intense seismic activities, tremors, quakes, tears in the earth that go all the way down to the core, flooding surface with Sulphur, and Magma. Humans learned to live with it, by making storages that’d help them outlast these seasons of Father Earth’s wrath, where sun is invisible due to smoke, ash, and dust, and the ground beneath you constantly tries to shake you off, or swallow you whole. Possibly it was the reason why other races of people were born into it too, people who have magical abilities to quench tremors, and shakes. Beings that can walk through stone, and are themselves made of stone, and so on.

CHARACTERS: Damaya, later known by two other names I will not tell, due to it being a fairly delicious spoiler. She’s a child given to a Guardian due to being an Orogene, someone who can control the energies of movement, and temperature, thus able to calm the Earth. Often children like that get murdered by mobs due to their unconscious abilities. Make one such angry, and whole town gets swallowed in a brand new quake. Her character changes wonderfully via the book, development is delightful to witness, and more than a bit confusing if you don’t pay enough attention. Schaffa is the guardian she was given to. It’s easy to like him at first, but the more we get into the book, the more clear it gets: guardians are cold-hearted assassins, and he will execute her without remorse if need arises, no matter how often he claims to love the girl. Alabaster is a ten-ring, highest ranking orogene, and an assigned lover to Damaya. Breeding is very selective in this land, so they took her wild power, and his well-controlled power, in hopes of making a perfect orogen baby. The problem is, they’re not really attracted to one another. And Alabaster seems to prefer men just a tad more too. That all solves when they meet one damn gorgeous pirate whose name I sadly forgot, but he likes the pair of them, and they like him back. And Tonkee, an accidental friend to Damaya, a trans woman with more secrets, and disguises, than one person should ever carry around. She and Damaya discover something they shouldn’t have, and possibly trigger all the events that almost had them both killed. There’s, of course, many more.

ROMANCE: Alabaster, Damaya, and that pirate leader of theirs make a beautiful two-and-a-half-some couple (since Alabaster, and Damaya are not much attracted to each other, the man serves as a very decent proxy, making them a family of three before the kids). No drama about the lovers other than small worries Alabaster has. But no jealousy, and honest care for each other. Very refreshing, really.

GOOD: It’s a colossal idea, this whole world, this story. The beings described are amazing, the characters are great, and the secrets make me hope I can get the other two books soon, and that they’re as good as this one. The pace is perfect, not too fast, not too slow. Inner monologues are very well strung together, and no character has a feeling about someone else having a feeling.

BAD: Complicated. Oh boy is it bloody complicated. I didn’t realize that three out of, say, five characters, are one and the same person. And my brain can’t wrap around this being a perfect high-fantasy, but sci-fi book. Really. Truly. 

OVERALL: I loved it a lot. It reminded me of Mistborn series, which I also loved. It’s just one of those big stories that stick with you, and make a difference in your book shelves, not your common bestseller fillers. 

What do you think about THE FIFTH SEASON?



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