Sara's Reviews > The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: all-time-favorites, fantasy, female-protagonists, multiple-povs, world-building-love

Welcome to the Stillness, a continent where earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other natural catastrophes are the norm; and where Orogenes, who have the ability to manipulate the earth's energies, protect the land by preventing such disasters but are generally shunned by their "power-less" peers. All of this comes into play during N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, a (literally) ground-breaking tale of betrayal, heartache, and survival. This novel is told from the POVs of three Orogene women: Essun, pursuing her husband after he murders their son and kidnaps their daughter; Damaya, taken away from her family so she can learn how to control her powers; and Syenite, assigned to breed with an illustrious mentor as a coastal community calls for their aid. It's a challenge to summarize the story from here... Let's just say it's a jigsaw puzzle that you piece together to discover what caused the Stillness's newest apocalypse, with an ending that's bound to leave you slack-jawed in the best possible way.

I almost don't know where to go from here. That's just how awed I am by The Fifth Season. Every aspect of it, from its robust world-building to the complex characters, rocked me to my core. It's so different from other SFF stories or fictional worlds, and one where its residents are as tough, gritty, and enigmatic as the land itself. What also makes The Fifth Season such a triumph is Jemisin's ambitious approach. She gambles with structure and narration (Essun's chapters are told in second person), which makes the story a bit of an acquired taste. And while not everything makes sense at first, it all eventually clicks into place, and stunningly so. Seriously. This is a magnificent story. Demanding and intricate, too, but that's a penny-price to pay for a fantasy as inventive as this. Do yourself a favor, and check out The Fifth Season. It will be a journey unlike anything you've read before.
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Reading Progress

February 5, 2015 – Shelved
February 5, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
September 16, 2015 – Started Reading
September 16, 2015 –
page 60
12.82% "Holy... Wow. It'll take some time to get used to the 2nd person narration in Essun's chapters. But... Wow."
September 16, 2015 –
page 116
24.79% "Mind-readers? Hmmm. I hope we get to learn more about their powers and such."
September 18, 2015 –
page 171
36.54% "Alabaster must be crazy. He has to be. And I get the feeling that Syenite dreads where this might be going, even if she doesn't have a clue what that might be..."
September 19, 2015 –
page 231
49.36% "Every chapter leaves me floored. If it keeps up, this book might stand a good shot at being at the top of my year-end list."
September 20, 2015 –
page 343
73.29% "Just as I was beginning to wonder how Damaya's, Syenite's, and Essun's storylines would intersect - it happens, and in an awesome way I wasn't expecting. :)"
September 21, 2015 –
page 390
83.33% "WHOA, wait a MINUTE. Did I miss something? Or is what I think is happening, really happening?"
September 22, 2015 – Shelved as: all-time-favorites
September 22, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy
September 22, 2015 – Shelved as: female-protagonists
September 22, 2015 – Shelved as: multiple-povs
September 22, 2015 – Shelved as: world-building-love
September 22, 2015 – Finished Reading

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