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I wasn't particularly impressed with this story at first. The writing was at times sort of clunky, the story had a disjointed feel to it. Characters I wasn't particularly impressed with this story at first. The writing was at times sort of clunky, the story had a disjointed feel to it. Characters excepted strange occurrences in the blink of an eye and didn't ask many questions. However as the story progressed I could tell the author began to hit her stride and I could see why so many love the writing of Octavia E. Butler.
Now that I'm finished reading all I can say is this book is going to haunt me for a while.
I have an ancestor named Jinney. That's it, just Jinney. She didn't have a last name because she was a slave. And she had several children with the white man who owned her. But her children got to go by their biological father's last name, the eldest son is named after him. They were free. And for whatever reason I wanted to believe that perhaps Jinney's life wasn't too horrible. That maybe, against all odds, she was loved by the father of her children. I wanted to believe that she might have, at the very least, found some small piece of happiness with him because he clearly cared for their children. He claimed his mixed race children at a time and place where such a thing was just not done and he gave then their freedom. In my mind that had to mean something.
Don't get me wrong, for as long as I can remember I've been aware of slavery. As I grew up I grew to understand the horrors endured because of slavery. I know all the disgusting details. I just didn't think of the possibility that Jinney might have lived a life similar to Alice's. Trapped in a relationship so sick and one-sided.
I can see now how stupid I've been. Even a relatively kind slave owner is still a slave owner, a light lashing is still a lashing, a master having sex with his slave is still rape because a slave can't say no.
I have nothing more to say besides this book is great, I highly recommend it, the last line especially hits it out of the park. 5-stars.
I read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin's debut novel, waaaaaaay back when it came out and I genuinely enjoyed it. Jemisin's brand of storyI read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin's debut novel, waaaaaaay back when it came out and I genuinely enjoyed it. Jemisin's brand of storytelling was something uniquely all her own, and so was her writing. As soon as The Broken Kingdoms came out I was all over it like butter on bread and I loved it even more than the first book in the Inheritance trilogy. Then book three came out and I couldn't even finish it as it was a bit too much-much, in the sense that it was full of sexual situations I couldn't wrap my head around (insest, quasi-molestation and so forth). I also realized that I didn't actually care about any of the characters featured in the story so I jumped ship.
A few years later I went back and read the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and I didn't really love it anymore, the writing was messier than I remembered, not quite cohesive, though I went on to reread the Broken Kingdoms and discovered I still had a special place in my heart for it.
I genuinely came to the conclusion that maybe N.K. Jemisin wasn't for me, or possibly she was a one-trick pony of sorts. So I didn't read the next series she wrote.
Then at the tail end of 2015 I discovered everyone was peeing their pants over N.K. Jemisin. It took me a while to pick up the Fifth Season because I don't tend to enjoy most books that the rest of the world loves as they are typically predictable and formulaic.
All that said, I'm glad I took the plunge and purchased the Fifth season. It really is all that everyone is claiming it to be. Original storytelling, interesting writing and full of adventure. Though it was all new to me it felt familiar in the best way possible. The Fifth Season has all the elements I appreciated from the Broken Kingdoms and then some.
The world building is done in an easy-to-digest fashion, where bits of information are doled out only when necessary so it comes up in an organic manner. I never felt overwhelmed as there never is an info-dump.
POVs are switched from time to time and one POV is told with second-person narration but it works because of the character's situation, you need to read it to understand why. I believe there is a total of 5 different POVs but 2 of the 5 are very minor.
I could go on, discuss the plot extensively, but that would take much too long and it would do no justice to the story.
If you're looking for a great fantasy/sci-fi (honestly I never really thought of what genre the Fifth Season falls into until now, though I feel its much more fantasy than anything else) please consider giving this book a try. It is worthy of all the hype.
ETA: The Fifth Season is easily among my favorite reads in recent years.
ETA: Please excuse any mistakes in this review, I have a baby that's learning to crawl. It's so difficult to write anything these days....more