Book Review: Fifth Season by N.K.Jemisin


Oh my f''ing God. This book was so good.  This is not a spoiler free review so be fair warned.  

"This is the way the world ends. Again. 

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze -- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years -- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She'll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter."

Fifth Season is told by three people and two different perspectives. Third person point of view by  Damaya, a young girl, Seynite, who I think is in her twenties, and from second person point of view, Essun who is in her mid forties.  All of whom turn out to be the same person, telling the story at the same time from three different timelines.  It isn't revealed until more than half way through the story that the narrators are one and the same. The clues are there, but it still comes as a surprise. You sit there thinking, oh my gosh, that makes sense now. 

The character is an orogene, which is a person who can control the earth, stopping earthquakes and freezing the world around them. The orogenes are feared and hated by all and treated like slaves, answerable to the Fulcrum, and controlled by the Guardians, even though they protect the land and everyone around.  

The theme of slavery is pervasive through out the story, child are hated because of their ability to control the land, and unfortunately they are abused and or killed because of it.   The story is well written and the author very bluntly shows the reader what is happening, without getting preachy.  There are several twists and turns and of course the story doesn't end, and will be continued in the Obelisk Gate. The Broken Earth is a dark story, but well worth reading.

Dusty, Dystopian sci fi / fantasy, 468 

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