The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

Paperback - 2015
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In a post-apocalyptic world plagued by natural diasters, Essun lives in a small comunity barricaded against the outside world. When her husband relizes that she and her children are orogenes with the ability to manipulate seismic energy, he kills their son and kidnaps their daughter. Against the backdrop of the end of the world, Essun follows, beginning an odyssey which will not end until her daughter is safe.
Publisher: New York, NY : Orbit, 2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316229296
Characteristics: 498 pages : map ; 21 cm.
Alternative Title: 5th season


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Michael Colford Dec 31, 2019

What an intricate, dark and fascinating world N.K. Jemison has created in The Fifth Season. It starts with the beginning of the end of the world, and it spools out in three separate tales that tell one complete and fascinating story. This world is filled with fascinating and varied people. There are stills, who are basically regular humans, who are divided into different classes based on their skillsets. There are Orogenes, feared and depended on, who can still the tremors in Father Earth, freeze the life out of any living thing, or far, far worse. There are the Guardians, whose job is to keep the Orogenes in check, through love, through fear, through cruelty. There are the mysterious and unfathomable stone-eaters, who pass through stone the way we pass through the air.

The Fifth Season seems to serves as a prologue of sorts, launching us into The Broken Earth series, but it does so with such a riveting and coherent tale, that it doesn't feel like merely an introduction. Jemison has quite an imagination, and handles the English language beautifully in order to bring that imagination to life. Her characters are complex and intricate, and evolve like real people. I really loved this book and am looking forward to the next in the series.

Dec 30, 2019

first book of the Broken Earth trilogy

Dec 27, 2019

Rec by Emily Cook Dec 2019

Dec 24, 2019

Odd and unappealing writing style.

PimaLib_ChristineR Dec 09, 2019

I don't know that I can add anything to the praise being heaped on The Fifth Season, but I'm sure going to try.

We are told the stories of three women. Essun has found her young son murdered by her husband. In her story, Essun is "you", the unknown narrator feeding Essun's horrible memories back to her. The story of Syenite, an "orogene" (a person with the ability to transfer energy from the earth's deeper layers, creating geological and temperature changes) is told in the third person. Syenite seems to have had a safe, if directed, upbringing as she learns to use her skills in the Fulcrum. And finally Damaya, a young girl whose family has discovered she is an orogene. Unlike the privileged life of Syenite, Damaya's family is terrified of her and her ability, and it is clear that an orogene not living in the Fulcrum is considered nearly too dangerous to live. Like Syenite her story is told in the third person.

And that's just a bit on each of the main characters. There are so many complete characters, so much world building, such intricate plotting, that to try to describe it all would be to write a review as long as the novel itself. This is one of the few novels that I would say falls firmly in the "speculative fiction" category. Jemisin herself calls it fantasy in the Acknowledgements. I could see much of it fitting into a dystopian sci-fi future. But above all that it is simply excellent writing that defies more specific pigeonholing than "speculative."

As a long-time sci-fi lover, I may be biased, but this novel has a reach far beyond sci-fi readers. Like all great works of literature it rises beyond its genre to tell us something about the human condition in all its weakness, and small-mindedness, but also in its strength, adaptability and capacity for love. I would highly recommend this read for anyone who loves a good story.

RyanR_KCMO Nov 08, 2019

This book was staggering. It was my first time reading Jemisin and I wasn't ready. I don't know if you could ever be ready. This book is the first installment of The Broken Earth trilogy. It won the Hugo Award for best sci-fi novel in 2016 making Jemisin the first African American woman to receive the award. She then proceeded to win the same Hugo award in 2017, and 2018 as she continued the trilogy.

Staggering worldbuilding. Heartwrenching plot. Epic, sweeping story that a review just cannot do justice.

This is what the best sci-fi looks like.

Oct 23, 2019

I just finished this book and my mind is BLOWN. Jemison fits SO MUCH into her writing-- I loved being swept up into this fantastic world she's created that has so many nods/references to our current world whether it be issues of oppression, power structures, ownership of our bodies, climate catastrophe...SO MUCH. I learned about NK Jemison from an episode of LeVar Burton reads. I picked up her collection of short stories How Long Til Black Future Month, and was really taken with her creativity and writing style. Those short stories were just a small taste of her greatness as a novelist. Highly recommend The Fifth Season, and I will be picking up the next books in this series ASAP.

Oct 12, 2019

Such a unique fantasy world, simple but very compelling. I enjoyed the 3 different perspectives and thought the characters were well thought out. The remaining mysteries are powerful and are pulling me along to the next book in the series!

Sep 20, 2019

N.K Jemisin is a fantastic writer. She's compelling, imaginative, and her characters are truly new to me. And I cannot read anything she writes. Her ability to evoke brutality and abuse just undoes me. It's not like she's brutal for the sake of being brutal, she has important stories to tell and I admire her. But, I've tried two of her books, and disassociated most of the way through both. If you're tougher than me you might love her dark, brutally honest and creative writing. For those of us who must be mindful of protecting tender hearts, take care!

IndyPL_SteveB Aug 17, 2019

Immensely creative and readable fantasy, the first in one of the greatest series of all time.

There is a world which might be the Earth of millions of years in the future (or just an alternate Earth). All of the continents have drifted back together. Civilization has been hanging on by its teeth for thousands of years. Every few hundred years, some climactic disaster occurs, creating chaos for years and wiping out large chunks of human culture. Some humans have developed the ability to use the energy in the earth, water, and wind to stabilize the land, to hold back volcanoes and earthquakes. These people are called “orogenes” and they are seen as heroes by some and terrifying by others. At the beginning of the book, we discover that an especially powerful orogene has, in revenge for something, torn a rift clear across the continent, from sea to sea, splitting the land in two, killing hundreds of thousands of people.

The story then breaks off into the story of three female orogenes, in three different time lines. Each story is compelling on its own; but the book becomes spellbinding as we begin to see how the three stories will connect together.

Jemisin’s world is detailed in its multiple cultures, connected by trade and by some shared ancient history, but separated by just as many differences in race, language, and daily life. There is another race of beings, made of stone, living in the Earth, and generally hateful toward humans and the way they have treated the planet. Spellbinding writing.

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haushallmartinez Apr 11, 2019

haushallmartinez thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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haushallmartinez Apr 11, 2019

Violence: LOTS of child abuse.


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