Book Review: The Fifth Season


Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Science Fiction Fantasy

Pages: 468



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.

N. K. Jemisin is one popular author in the fantasy world. Out of the three series she’s written so far, The Broken Earth Trilogy is her most well-loved and acclaimed. So what better place to start on my N.K. Jemisin journey?

What I liked the most about this book, is how different it is from anything else I’ve read before. From the world building to the characters, everything felt original. And its one of the reasons why this book was such a compelling read. However I will say, that this book is not one I think everyone will enjoy, but I certainly did. I was hooked the whole way through, and now I’m so pumped to read the rest of the trilogy.

You realise very early on that this is one of those books that purposefully keeps the answers from you and let’s you figure it out on your own. Sometimes this technique is done poorly, and when it is, it annoys the heck out of me. But in The Fifth Season, N. K. Jemisin got it spot on and it didn’t hamper the story in anyway. I actually liked the fact we got to figure stuff out on our own, as it made things more engaging. And the fact that it managed to keep me absorbed the whole way through, despite it being a slower read (focusing mainly on world building), is a real testament to the author.

The writing was also really good and a real joy to read. It had this elegance and simplicity to it that suited the story well. I particularly liked how Jemisin used the different tenses to differentiate between the narrators, but also using it to enhance the story. It’s not something I always see, so that was pretty refreshing.

The only thing that let The Fifth Season down for me, was my lack of attachment to the characters. I liked them and I was rooting for them, but I never quite got to that level of love that I have with some of my faves. We were kept at arms length, and were never allowed to fully connect with them. And that was because there was quite a few things to learn, in regards to the magic, the people etc. At first this did irk me (since characters make up a big part of my enjoyment), but having spent some time away from the book, I do think it fits the tone of the story perfectly. I don’t know if that was meant to be intentional or not, but it has made me appreciate the story and the characters more.

 All in all, this was a great start to an intriguing series. It took some time to get my head round things, but once I did, it was a very enjoyable read. So if you like character-heavy books, with a slow-moving, figure-stuff-out-on-your-own plot, then this is the book for you.

I’d recommend it.

As always, thanks for reading.

Marian ❤


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