Series: The Broken Earth #1
Published by Orbit on September 4, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
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Synopsis of The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth Series):
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.
“Let’s start with the end of the world, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things.”
My Opinion of The Fifth Season:
It was a really interesting read!
This was such a popular book. It won the Hugo award in 2016, and was nominated for a Nebula Award.
Not to mention the other two books in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth series also won the Hugo award for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
This book was huge so I needed to get in and start reading it.
“I’m taking her to the Fulcrum. There she will be trained to use curse. Her sacrifice, too, will make the world better.” The Fifth Season p.32
Where do I start? The book was great.
I really loved everything about the book – except the ending which seemed to suggest that I need to read the next two books. Not that I’m complaining! haha
N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth series starts off with this book and it’s a fantastic start.
The world that N.K. Jemisin builds in The Fifth Season is really detailed and authentic. We don’t get all the details of the world, but I assume she’s keeping it all for the next two novels.
“That she is a slave, that all roggas are slaves, that the security and sense of self-worth the Fulcrum offers is wrapped in the chain of her right to live, and even the right to control her own body.” The Fifth Season p.348
Talking about this novel though, we can see a lot of inclusion for minorities and LGBTQ+ characters as well as themes.
They are not just stereotypes but wholly taking part in the novel and feel like real people you can meet on the street.
It really is great that we can have a more inclusive science fiction community, especially since N.K. Jemisin won triple Hugo Awards for her recent novels.
N.K. Jemisin’s Use of Perspective
One of the most interesting and potent eye-catching elements of The Fifth Season is N.K. Jemisin’s use of perspective throughout the novel.
Some chapters use second person when describing what Essun does, i.e. “you did this” “you did that”.
Other chapters use third person when describing Damaya and Syenite’s experiences.
Also, ever-present is a sort of third person omnipresent narrator who presses their own opinion and point of view on everything that is happening.
“You are she. She is you. You are Essun. Remember? The woman whose son is dead.” The Fifth Season p.15
These three different narratives (for Essun, Damaya, and Syenite) move through different points of time.
Also, these different narratives gradually give away details of the world and begin to build up the tension underneath the surface of the novel.
In the first chapter, Essun’s child is dead and she needs to chase down her husband who took off with her daughter.
Damaya is a young girl just discovered to be an orogene (those people who can control energy from the ground and temperature) by her parents. She hides in the roof of a barn but is taken Schaffa (a guardian, those who attempt to train and control orogenes).
Syenite is an orogene who is at the fulcrum (a place run by guardians and where orogenes are trained to learn to control their powers).
“And Syen could do it in her sleep. A two-ringer could do this. A grit could do it – though, admittedly, not without substantial collateral damage.” The Fifth Season p.61
In the end, these three narratives weave and wind together and finish in a masterpiece where your only want is to reread the entire novel to catch everything you didn’t catch the first time.
The Fifth Season would have seriously taken a lot of effort just to conceive and write down.
There are great ideas out there, but N.K. Jemisin’s put her words down on paper and just makes The Fifth Season into something quite beautiful.
Sometimes the narrator forces their ideas into your head, but it’s no problem. It’s good to get different perspectives once in a while.
I really love what N.K. Jemisin did with her book and highly suggest you read it straight away! You certainly get hooked and want to read all the books in N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth series.
I highly suggest you read The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin!
There’s so much in the book that I would love to scream about, but I don’t wanna give away too many spoilers.
Most importantly, it really is an amazing and fantastic book that you should have read already. If not, now’s your chance! Go and get it today!
My Rating: 5/5★