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The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)
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Books of the Month > The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (May 2019 Adult/Non-Fiction BOM) - starts 2 May 2019

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

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Synopsis
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 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.


message 2: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

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What is a BOM (Book of the Month)?

At NRBC we use a more structured approach to our BOMs. We have a discussion leader and a reading date is set to start the book. A reading schedule is posted prior to the start date and discussion questions are posted each day regarding that section of the book.

More info under spoiler
(view spoiler)


message 3: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited May 10, 2019 01:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Moderators of NBRC | 30795 comments Mod
Chapter Breakdown

Date Chapters Pages MPDQs

2/3 May 1 to 5 1 - 83 Cathy M
4/5 May 6 to 9 84 - 171 Ashleigh
6/7 May 10 to 14 172 - 263 Susanne
8/9 May 15 to 19 262 - 360 Sammy
10/11 May Interlude - end 361 - 454 Lauren


(view spoiler)


message 4: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Moderators of NBRC | 30795 comments Mod
Ruby Coin Book of the Month ~ Ruby Coin Ruby Coin

How to Earn:
Ruby Coin 1 Ruby Coin for half DQ participation
Ruby Coin 1 Ruby Coin for Writing Disscussion Questions
Ruby Coin 1 Ruby Coin for completing ALL days DQs within month of BOM start
Example of ways to Earn Ruby Coins: (view spoiler)

Learn about Gem coins here


message 5: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Apr 24, 2019 02:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Moderators of NBRC | 30795 comments Mod
Volunteers:

Cathy M
Sammy
Ashleigh
Mary HDLS
Susanne
Lauren


Cathy M. (mccathy77) | 5663 comments Guess I'll be the first one to volunteer for DQs! Have the audio and ebook ready to go.


message 7: by Devann (new)

Devann (devannm) | 2671 comments i'm awful at thinking up questions but i can't wait to start reading! this book has been recommended to me a lot


message 8: by Pamela (new) - added it

Pamela Marie | 39 comments I can't wait to read this book.


Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments I'll volunteer. been um-ing and ah-ing over this one, as it didn't appeal when I picked it up, but several people have said it's really good...


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Cat (cat_uk) | 6480 comments Mod
Sammy wrote: "I'll volunteer. been um-ing and ah-ing over this one, as it didn't appeal when I picked it up, but several people have said it's really good..."

Sammy, it is SO good!
I listened to the audio, which was excellent.


Ashleigh | 584 comments I would like to volunteer to write DQs please :)


Mary C (marymaryalwayscontrary) | 4920 comments I'll try this one and write questions if chosen.


Marythios (AkaSusanne ) | 163 comments I will volunteer to write questions if chosen


message 14: by Roz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Roz K (irasobrietate) | 211 comments Oh I love this series and it's definitely time for a reread! I'll volunteer for DQs as well.


message 15: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Moderators of NBRC | 30795 comments Mod
We've randomised and assigned days to volunteers!
Please PM or coment here if you have any problems with the date or writing questions :)


message 16: by Sammy (new) - rated it 1 star

Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments I've never done any of these before, so apologies if I mess it all up, lol.

How many questions are required?


message 17: by Cat (new) - added it

Cat (cat_uk) | 6480 comments Mod
Sammy wrote: "I've never done any of these before, so apologies if I mess it all up, lol.

How many questions are required?"


I normally aim for 3 - 4 questions, but if you have more then ask more!
As for messing it up - that really won't be an issue if you pop by with some questions on the day assigned! Check out other BOM discussions to see how it goes, and - of course - join in the chat here for the days before & after your section - we're here to talk about books, not to grade each other on how well we set a question! ;-)


message 18: by Sammy (new) - rated it 1 star

Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments Cat wrote: "Sammy wrote: "I've never done any of these before, so apologies if I mess it all up, lol.

How many questions are required?"

I normally aim for 3 - 4 questions, but if you have more then ask more!..."


Thanks! I'm worrying myself now that I won't be able to think of any, but I shall certainly do my best! :)


message 19: by Cat (new) - added it

Cat (cat_uk) | 6480 comments Mod
Sammy wrote: "I'm worrying myself now that I won't be able to think of any, but I shall certainly do my best! :) "

I doubt that will be an issue, from my recollection of the book, but if all else fails you can go for questions like "How do you think characters have developed? Has your opinion of them changed since the start? Why?" or "What would you do if you were [character x]?"

Or google for ideas! ;-)


message 20: by Sammy (new) - rated it 1 star

Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments Cat wrote: "Sammy wrote: "I'm worrying myself now that I won't be able to think of any, but I shall certainly do my best! :) "

I doubt that will be an issue, from my recollection of the book, but if all else ..."


Brilliant, thank you for the tips, I'll keep them in mind.
Out of interest, as I struggled to find info about this anywhere else, can you only earn one coin at a time, or if you do all of it, can you earn all three?


message 21: by Cat (last edited Apr 26, 2019 09:06AM) (new) - added it

Cat (cat_uk) | 6480 comments Mod
The coins aren't my baby, so I might be overridden by a more senior mod, but, if you set questions, and answer all question sets within a month of the start of the BOM then you get 3 coins; if you answered all DQ sets within a month but didn't set questions you'd get 2 coins.

The info is under the spoiler in post 4 above, with a link to info on the coins: info link


Mary C (marymaryalwayscontrary) | 4920 comments You can probably find book discussion questions online for ideas if you are struggling to come up with some.

Looks like I was spared this time. I'm good with that because I might be a little behind on this because I was only able to get the hardcover from the library and I'm much slower with print books, especially if they won't fit in my purse.


Cathy M. (mccathy77) | 5663 comments DQ's Day 1: Chpts Prologue-5


1. This is my first N.K. Jemisin book so I had no idea what to expect. Have you read anything else by this author? What made you pick this one up? Any expectations going into it?

2. I found the world-building in just these first few chapters pretty complex. Do you think the author wrote in a way to pull in the reader, or were you confused by this world?

3. The author's use of the 2nd person point-of-view for Essun's story was interesting. Did this turn you off (I know some people really hate it)? Who do you think the narrator is?

4. The way the people treat orogenes is pretty harsh, from Damaya's parents giving her away (thinking that she will be killed), to the way Essun is treated when leaving Tirimo especially since she essentially saved the town. What did you think about these final events at Tirimo - the attempt on Essun, and then her attack on the town?

5. I like that the three main points-of-view are three different orogenes in different stages of their lives. Whose story are you most interested in at this point?



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Cat (cat_uk) | 6480 comments Mod
I'm not rereading this one at the moment, but want to comment a couple of things, from my recollection:

2. I listened to the audio (which was brilliantly read by Robin Miles) which meant that I was immersed in the story and trusted (in large part because of the awesome narration) that I'd understand what was going on in due course - it really worked for me. I don't know if I'd've been more distracted if I was just reading it though.

3&5. I enjoyed the different narration styles (iirc, isn't the Essun story largely present tense too?), and thought Jemisin handled them well. I think that having the three different strands helped reduce the possibility of annoyance. Also, the you helped me buy into this really weird world easier than if it were just 3rd person


message 25: by Sammy (last edited May 02, 2019 02:07PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments 1. This is my first N.K. Jemisin book so I had no idea what to expect. Have you read anything else by this author? What made you pick this one up? Any expectations going into it?

It's my first also, and picked it up for the BotM. I didn't know what to expect, but I did remember why I ended up putting it back on the shelf originally! (more on that in Q3, lol)

2. I found the world-building in just these first few chapters pretty complex. Do you think the author wrote in a way to pull in the reader, or were you confused by this world?

I found it a little difficult to take in, because of the delivery method, but the world itself is a very good one, and very well-crafted.

3. The author's use of the 2nd person point-of-view for Essun's story was interesting. Did this turn you off (I know some people really hate it)? Who do you think the narrator is?

Put me in the hate category, unfortunately. I dislike present tense narration intensely, and I positively despise second person. Put together I would have put this book aside by chapter two already if I could. :(

4. The way the people treat orogenes is pretty harsh, from Damaya's parents giving her away (thinking that she will be killed), to the way Essun is treated when leaving Tirimo especially since she essentially saved the town. What did you think about these final events at Tirimo - the attempt on Essun, and then her attack on the town?

It's harsh, but believable. People fear what they don't understand, and anything that is different from the "norm". They don't think of the person, or their feelings; all they will see is someone with the power to destroy the world (and I guess they were proven right). Add to that the mob mentality, and the way the Orogenes are treated is entirely expected. Heartbreaking, but expected.

5. I like that the three main points-of-view are three different orogenes in different stages of their lives. Whose story are you most interested in at this point?

By default, I like the other two voices better simply because they aren't in second person, lol. But to be honest, I don't actually like anyone yet. I'm hoping that will come in time.
I also have a theory in relation to this, but will wait to see if it pans out. (If I'm wrong I'll sound like an idiot, and if I'm right it could spoil things for people, lol)


message 26: by Marythios (AkaSusanne ) (last edited May 05, 2019 01:37PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marythios (AkaSusanne ) | 163 comments DQ's Day 1: Chpts Prologue-5


1. This is my first N.K. Jemisin book so I had no idea what to expect. Have you read anything else by this author? What made you pick this one up? Any expectations going into it?

No I never read anything from this author. What made me pick it up is I try to participate in the BOM so that I can expand what I read. No expectations other than I hope I enjoy it.

2. I found the world-building in just these first few chapters pretty complex. Do you think the author wrote in a way to pull in the reader, or were you confused by this world? No, I think it was confusing at the start you have to understand every detail. To much information can be a disaster and confuse people and I think this is what happened here. I am not a big fan of fantasy so that can color my view.

3. The author's use of the 2nd person point-of-view for Essun's story was interesting. Did this turn you off (I know some people really hate it)? Who do you think the narrator is? I am turned off it makes things confusing and hard to follow. I think damaya is the narrator.

4. The way the people treat orogenes is pretty harsh, from Damaya's parents giving her away (thinking that she will be killed), to the way Essun is treated when leaving Tirimo especially since she essentially saved the town. What did you think about these final events at Tirimo - the attempt on Essun, and then her attack on the town? I think she reacted because she thought he life was in danger but she may have overreacted.

5. I like that the three main points-of-view are three different orogenes in different stages of their lives. Whose story are you most interested in at this point? Damaya because her voice is interesting being so young and how her pov is interesting. The treatment of orogenes is so cruel that if found death is certain.


message 27: by Devann (new)

Devann (devannm) | 2671 comments @Sammy I did quit after chapter two lol. I feel bad because I'm the one that nominated in the first place but the 2nd person narrative combined with the confusing dump of information right at the beginning made me not want to continue with it. I hope the rest of you find enjoyment in it though!


message 28: by Roz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Roz K (irasobrietate) | 211 comments 1. This is not only not my first Jemisin book, it's not even the first time I've read this book. I think the first book I read by Jemisin was The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms in 2013. I promptly went on to read everything she's ever written because her writing is so good. In fact, the first time I read The Fifth Season, I didn't even bother reading the description and had no idea what it was supposed to be about. I just knew it was a Jemisin book and was sure to be great. And it was.

2. I like being thrown head first into a new world, where I'm not really sure what's happening at first and only understand everything retrospectively. It makes rereading even more enjoyable because there's sure to be something I missed the first time when I didn't understand everything going on.

3. I definitely don't go looking for second person, but again I was already hooked on this book just because of the author so it almost didn't even register. I think I wasn't surprised by it in this book because Jemisin has used similar narrative styles in her other books; they are often addressed at an unknown reader that'll be revealed late in the narrative. I like it because it feels like it helps to develop this new fantasy world and makes it feel like an oral story rather than a traditional novel but I can also see why it would turn some people off.

4. & 5. Everything I want to say about these two questions is kind of wrapped in spoilers so I think I'll save my thoughts for later in the week ;)


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Aymee (asphaltcowgrrl) | 59 comments @Devann - I'm having the same issue with the 2nd person POV chapters. It grates on my nerves and I don't even know why. Hahaha. I'm pushing through though.


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Aymee (asphaltcowgrrl) | 59 comments 1. This is my first as well. I bought it on a whim when Amazon had it on sale for $1.99 a couple years ago.

2. I read a lot of fantasy novels so this kind of world building is pretty normal for me. It was a lot of information presented in an odd sort of way though, so I can see why a lot of readers might abandon it after the prologue.

3. I almost put the book down when I got to the 2nd person POV. I decided I'd give it another chapter and it blessedly doesn't continue in that POV. I have put aside my annoyance in favor of the author has something they don't want us to see quite yet and, since it's in Essun's head, this is the only way to go.

4. I was pretty aggravated with the way it all went down and, while she overreacted, I'm not sure I can really blame her in this situation. It's like killing someone who assaults you - was it necessary? Maybe not BUT you felt like your life was in danger so you reacted as you saw fit in the moment.

5. So far, Damaya's because I like her 'voice'. That could change at any time though. :D


Ashleigh | 584 comments DQ's Day 1: Chpts Prologue-5


1. This is my first N.K. Jemisin book so I had no idea what to expect. Have you read anything else by this author? What made you pick this one up? Any expectations going into it?


This is also my first N. K. Jemisin, but I've heard nothing but good things about this book and her other works, that I know I will love this! So far, it is not disappointing me!

2. I found the world-building in just these first few chapters pretty complex. Do you think the author wrote in a way to pull in the reader, or were you confused by this world?

I'm a little confused by the world, but as it goes on, I am getting used to it and really enjoying the world. I would like a bit more explanation on the magic system and see the magic in play more.

3. The author's use of the 2nd person point-of-view for Essun's story was interesting. Did this turn you off (I know some people really hate it)? Who do you think the narrator is?

It's quite interesting. I can only think of one other book that I've read (outside of choose your own adventure books) that has had similar style. That was You by Caroline Kepnes, and even though it read like the narrator was talking directly to the girl he meets and treats the reader like they are that girl, but I think this book is different. In You, the narrator was a different person and it was like he was talking to you, whereas this book is treating you as if you were the main character (Essun) and puts you into her shoes. I'm liking it.

4. The way the people treat orogenes is pretty harsh, from Damaya's parents giving her away (thinking that she will be killed), to the way Essun is treated when leaving Tirimo especially since she essentially saved the town. What did you think about these final events at Tirimo - the attempt on Essun, and then her attack on the town?

Oh, the treatment of orogenes in this book is horrific! The fact that Damaya's parents are that scared of her and her abilities that they would give her away to be killed is crazy. Also, the murder of Essun's son and the townspeople sort of defending it and wanting to harm Essun is disgusting. We're told that her son was 3 years old when he died, and the people are like 'yeah that's okay with me, he had magic in him'. Absolutely wild.

5. I like that the three main points-of-view are three different orogenes in different stages of their lives. Whose story are you most interested in at this point?

My opinion on whose story I like the most changes from chapter to chapter. It's interesting having three different POVs all being orogenes and they're all at different stages of life and they all have different perspectives on how orogenes are treated and how they have to 'deal' with it. I'm interested to see how all of their stories will develop.


Ashleigh | 584 comments DQs Day 2: Chapters 6-9

6. Schaffa has shown his true colours with Damaya, and we had the horrific scene when he breaks her hand to test her control. Do you think she is safe with him? Do you have any theories on what he will be doing with her?

7. Essun has found herself a little travel companion, a small boy. Again, do you have any theories on who this boy is? Do you think she will allow him to continue travelling with her?

8. In another horrific scene, we see Syenite and Alabastar go to the node maintainer, and Syen discovers that they've been using orogene children to power them, putting them into a coma-like state and attaching them to the machinery. How did this scene make you feel? Do you believe that Alabaster truly has no feelings toward the child, or towards how the children are treated?

9. After the interlude, Syen and Alabaster check into an inn after reaching the town where their assignment is based. But Alabaster's food is poisoned and he draws on Syen's abilities to help save his life. Who do you think poisoned him?


message 33: by Sammy (new) - rated it 1 star

Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments 6. Schaffa has shown his true colours with Damaya, and we had the horrific scene when he breaks her hand to test her control. Do you think she is safe with him? Do you have any theories on what he will be doing with her?

I think she is as safe as she would be with any Guardian. It seems like the way the system is set up is very brutal and definitely geared towards keeping Orogenes subjugated.

7. Essun has found herself a little travel companion, a small boy. Again, do you have any theories on who this boy is? Do you think she will allow him to continue travelling with her?

He seems to be of the same race/species as the "woman" with the Orogene that breaks the world in the prologue. no idea who they are yet - there's not enough information yet.

8. In another horrific scene, we see Syenite and Alabastar go to the node maintainer, and Syen discovers that they've been using orogene children to power them, putting them into a coma-like state and attaching them to the machinery. How did this scene make you feel? Do you believe that Alabaster truly has no feelings toward the child, or towards how the children are treated?

I thought it was rather obvious that he did feel very strongly, and that the child in question was likely his own. But Alabaster has obviously learnt to control his emotions to the point where he can suppress them entirely - likely a necessary skill for a high-level Orogene.
Personally I hated the scene. I don't deal well with any kind of child abuse, even in fiction. I never can wrap my head around how an author can go there! Some of the best books I've ever read had a horriffic thing such as this happen, and I've never been able to bring myself to re-read the book. :(

9. After the interlude, Syen and Alabaster check into an inn after reaching the town where their assignment is based. But Alabaster's food is poisoned and he draws on Syen's abilities to help save his life. Who do you think poisoned him?

The easy answer would be the staff/owner of the inn, as they are mistrustful of Orogenes, but I rather suspect the Deputy governor, as she seemed to give in to them too easily, considering she wasn't supposed to have the authority to agree to cover their stay in the first place.


Marythios (AkaSusanne ) | 163 comments DQ's Day 3: Chapters 10-14

10. What do you think about about Crack encouraging other students to bully Damaya?

11. Why does the kirkhusa not kill the women or Hoa?

12. Why does Alabaster say that the village on the island of Meov has survived for so long?

13, Why do you think Syen not want to try to clear the harbor without doing more research about the blockage?

14. Are you having difficulty following the whole story because it switches back and forth in narration? Do you think that books like this spend to much time in world building that it pulls from the story or forces the writer to do the story in more than one narration which turns readers off?


Marythios (AkaSusanne ) | 163 comments 6. Schaffa has shown his true colours with Damaya, and we had the horrific scene when he breaks her hand to test her control. Do you think she is safe with him? Do you have any theories on what he will be doing with her? I was freaking out imagining someone breaking my hand for control like to me that is crazy. I do not like him I feel he uses love as an excuse to abuse isn't that common in abusive relationship that men confuse love with the violence they use against the women the supposedly love.

7. Essun has found herself a little travel companion, a small boy. Again, do you have any theories on who this boy is? Do you think she will allow him to continue travelling with her? I think the little boy is a guardian of some sort. Yes she allows him to travel with her.

8. In another horrific scene, we see Syenite and Alabastar go to the node maintainer, and Syen discovers that they've been using orogene children to power them, putting them into a coma-like state and attaching them to the machinery. How did this scene make you feel? Do you believe that Alabaster truly has no feelings toward the child, or towards how the children are treated? It made me feel sick to use children this way it was way cruel to me. I think Alabaster does care but he hides his emotions in the way he feels.

9. After the interlude, Syen and Alabaster check into an inn after reaching the town where their assignment is based. But Alabaster's food is poisoned and he draws on Syen's abilities to help save his life. Who do you think poisoned him? The owner of the inn I believed who tried to poison him because of being orogenes but maybe as the well the deputy governor may have played a role in this as well. They gave in to easily to allowing him to stay in the inn that seemed sort of suspicious to me.


message 36: by Sammy (last edited May 06, 2019 04:58AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments 10. What do you think about about Crack encouraging other students to bully Damaya?

It's horrible, of course, but unfortunately pretty common in our society too.

11. Why does the kirkhusa not kill the women or Hoa?

I'm guessing Hoa has some sort of control over it. He's already proven to have a kind of telepathic ability to living things (just like Orogenes have an extra sense for stone - they're kind of like counterparts for their respective species, I'm guessing)

12. Why does Alabaster say that the village on the island of Meov has survived for so long?

I think I missed this bit! I tried scanning back over the section, but can't find where he mentions this Island, so can't answer the question...

13, Why do you think Syen not want to try to clear the harbor without doing more research about the blockage?

Because she didn't know what was causing it, and not knowing could lead to a dangerous mistake.

14. Are you having difficulty following the whole story because it switches back and forth in narration? Do you think that books like this spend to much time in world building that it pulls from the story or forces the writer to do the story in more than one narration which turns readers off?

The difficulty I'm having is because of the second person POV and the tense, not the world building itself. I love good world building, and the switching between different POVs usually serves to keep me engaged for far longer. There's always the temptation to see how the other character is getting on, and before you know it, you're half-way through the book, lol. A lot of my favourite books do this, so for me it's not a bad thing at all.


So far I'm just about managing to cope with this book. It's giving me a headache, but I shall persevere, lol.
It also seems that the theory I had about the three POVs at the beginning of the book is definitely panning out that way. I shall put my thoughts behind the spoiler tag, so that it is hidden from people who haven't gotten there yet :)

(view spoiler)


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Aymee (asphaltcowgrrl) | 59 comments DQ’s Day 2:

6. In a weird way, I think she is safe with him. He showed his dominance in a rather brutal way, but he could have killed her. I want to suspend my disbelief enough to say she’s okay with him for now. No ideas on what his plans are other than training her probably.

7. No idea about the boy, although his appearance has finally made me interested in her story, 2nd person POV be darned. Now that he has given her reason, I think she’ll keep him until she gets what she’s looking for (her daughter).

8. As a parent, this horrified me. Just the thought of using a child – even a potentially dangerous one – this way is disturbing. I’m sure he has many emotions on the subject, but at this point, he’s learned how to turn them off in the way an ER doctor might. He would have to or he’d go even crazier than he already is.

9. I’m thinking the deputy governor or whatever she was. But knowing how people hate the oregenes, it literally could have been anyone.


message 38: by Roz (last edited May 05, 2019 06:18PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Roz K (irasobrietate) | 211 comments 6. Damaya is "safe" in the same way that any person with an abuser who claims to be doing what's best for the person in their power is safe. Which is to say, not at all. The Guardians are there to control orogenes with extreme prejudice if necessary so no orogene is going to be totally safe in their presence and yet they are never totally free of them either. It's an extremely oppressive state of affairs. Which means Damaya's future is bleak. But her past was as well, given her parents were willing to give her up.

7. I think Essun is a cranky, crotchety woman who wants to believe that she's completely hardened her heart to others but is in reality a total bleeding heart who couldn't watch a young boy walk off on his own. She's constantly reminding herself not to feel because she feels too much. And I don't think that's just related to her son's death; that was just the most recent catalyst. So no matter what she tries to justify to herself, he's staying with her.

8. Alabaster cares so deeply that if he shows even a sliver of his emotion he'll crack like an egg and so will the earth around him. He has to be as calm and nonchalant as possible to get through the day, knowing what he knows. And on the one hand, he wants everyone to know and to realize just how awful orogenes are treated because he wants it changed, he wants his children to have better options. And on the other, he knows how dangerous it would be for orogenes to actually try to agitate for change. They have very carefully been placed on the bottom of the hierarchy of the Stillness and brutally been kept there for centuries without most people - even orogenes! - being fully aware of how thoroughly they are used and debased. Alabaster presents the hypothetical of orogenes being in charge and respected and Syenite shoots it down without even considering it because it is too ludicrous to even consider but what if? What if in a land of continual geological activity, the people who could harness and dissipate that activity were respected and promoted and helped instead of hunted and despised? Why is it inevitable for orogenes to be feared and controlled as closely as possible? (I actually know the answers to some of these questions because I've finished the series but food for thought for some of the rest of y'all!)


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Aymee (asphaltcowgrrl) | 59 comments DQ’s Day 3

10. That caught me by surprise, but it shouldn’t have. She was an outsider, too, one who had been bullied. Made sense for her to try and deflect the attention away from her.

11. No real clue other than it has something to do with Hoa. He seems to have some kind of power he’s keeping under wraps for the time being.

12. I’m with Sammy – I missed this completely. Don’t remember it even being mentioned. Ooops.

13. Because she’s cautious and realizes she could do a lot more harm than good if she does.

14. Nope. I read a lot of fantasy novels that do this, often with a lot more POV’s than we’re getting here. No, I don’t think they spend too much time on world building. It does make the novels longer than say, a thriller or romance, but that’s not always a bad thing either. Honestly, I prefer more than one POV in a novel and three is about right for my tastes.


message 40: by Aymee (new) - added it

Aymee (asphaltcowgrrl) | 59 comments @Sammy - I like your theory and it was what I was thinking as well, although I wasn't quite able to put it into words like you did.


Mary C (marymaryalwayscontrary) | 4920 comments I'm not far enough in to fully answer the questions yet.

I'm listening to the audio version and love the narrator.

Day 1 questions:
1: Honestly I picked it up because of the right side up spring challenge. But I wouldn't have even for that if it didn't interest me in anyway. I like the world building so far.

2: It is a complex world and a little confusing but that's usually the case with the first book of a fantasy series.

3: this is the first book I've read written like that and I'm not far enough to decide if I really like it or not. But so far I don't mind it, especially since it's just in Essen's story.


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Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments Discussion questions 8/9th May

Because there's some spoilers here, I'm putting the questions behind a spoiler tag for those who are still catching up :)

(view spoiler)


message 43: by Mary C (last edited May 09, 2019 01:24PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary C (marymaryalwayscontrary) | 4920 comments I think people treat the orogenes the way they do is out of fear. Fear of their differences. And genuine fear of their powers considering all the damage and death a pissed off orogene can cause.

I'm really liking this book. Love the concept and the world she's building. Although I am finding it a bit hard to keep track of the different story lines a bit.


Cathy M. (mccathy77) | 5663 comments DQ's Day 1: Chpts Prologue-5


1. This is my first N.K. Jemisin book so I had no idea what to expect. Have you read anything else by this author? What made you pick this one up? Any expectations going into it?


Picked up this audio months ago when it was on sale at Audible because it had such great ratings but finally got around to it because it was the BOM. This is my first by this author.

2. I found the world-building in just these first few chapters pretty complex. Do you think the author wrote in a way to pull in the reader, or were you confused by this world?

Confused mostly but understood more the more I read. But there are still some aspects that I don't get.

3. The author's use of the 2nd person point-of-view for Essun's story was interesting. Did this turn you off (I know some people really hate it)? Who do you think the narrator is?

I can't remember reading anything in the 2nd person POV before so it felt a little awkward. But to me it was more about figuring out who the narrator was. I thought it was Essun telling the story but detached from herself.

4. The way the people treat orogenes is pretty harsh, from Damaya's parents giving her away (thinking that she will be killed), to the way Essun is treated when leaving Tirimo especially since she essentially saved the town. What did you think about these final events at Tirimo - the attempt on Essun, and then her attack on the town?

I really hated how the people treated orogenes, especially those scenes with Damaya's parents and the people of Tirimo. I could understand their fear but at the same time, think they can do good as well. In Essun's case, she lived in that town for 10 years! These people KNEW her, and she never once put them in jeopardy. At least until her departure but they instigated that. I wish she wouldn't have gone to that extreme because it just proved to them (the survivors) that she was what they fear of orogenes.

5. I like that the three main points-of-view are three different orogenes in different stages of their lives. Whose story are you most interested in at this point?

At this point, I wanted to know more about Syenite.


Cathy M. (mccathy77) | 5663 comments DQs Day 2: Chapters 6-9


6. Schaffa has shown his true colours with Damaya, and we had the horrific scene when he breaks her hand to test her control. Do you think she is safe with him? Do you have any theories on what he will be doing with her?


That was so horrible, she was a child! When Damaya was first with Schaffa I thought she was safe with him since she had no one in her life who cared for her but she also has no choice but to stay with him regardless. I didn't have any theories on his role besides training her.

7. Essun has found herself a little travel companion, a small boy. Again, do you have any theories on who this boy is? Do you think she will allow him to continue travelling with her?

I did think she would take him under her wing - she was a mother after all and couldn't see her abandon him. I thought he was a stone eater but had no idea what that meant (still really don't). Figured he was the boy who appeared from the rock from the earth in the Prologue.

8. In another horrific scene, we see Syenite and Alabastar go to the node maintainer, and Syen discovers that they've been using orogene children to power them, putting them into a coma-like state and attaching them to the machinery. How did this scene make you feel? Do you believe that Alabaster truly has no feelings toward the child, or towards how the children are treated?

Disgusted, especially with the abuse the child has to endure. I think Alabaster does care but he has to maintain control and not let it eat at him. Its one of the things of this world that he cannot do anything about or change.

9. After the interlude, Syen and Alabaster check into an inn after reaching the town where their assignment is based. But Alabaster's food is poisoned and he draws on Syen's abilities to help save his life. Who do you think poisoned him?

I thought it was the deputy leader they had previously met.


Cathy M. (mccathy77) | 5663 comments DQ's Day 3: Chapters 10-14

10. What do you think about Crack encouraging other students to bully Damaya?


I was surprised that she was the culprit, but could understand why she did it (so they wouldn't bully her). It was a shame really, they could've banded together.

11. Why does the kirkhusa not kill the women or Hoa?

I thought Hoa turned the kirkhusa to stone, so it couldn't? The others were too busy eating their kill.

12. Why does Alabaster say that the village on the island of Meov has survived for so long?

I think this might've been in the next section but because (view spoiler)

13, Why do you think Syen not want to try to clear the harbor without doing more research about the blockage?

She didn't know what was down there. It didn't feel like energy/earth (which she manipulates with her orogeny) and didn't want to cause something worse to happen.

14. Are you having difficulty following the whole story because it switches back and forth in narration? Do you think that books like this spend to much time in world building that it pulls from the story or forces the writer to do the story in more than one narration which turns readers off?

I've read a lot of books with multiple POVs/stories with multiple narrators so it doesn't bother me at all. And I've read a lot of books with extensive world-building (which a lot of fantasy books need) so that doesn't bother me either. The only problem I've had is that this world is so different, and trying to grasp all these terms/ideas.


Cathy M. (mccathy77) | 5663 comments Discussion questions 8/9th May

I'll put these under Spoiler tag as well :)

(view spoiler)


message 48: by Roz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Roz K (irasobrietate) | 211 comments May 10/11 Discussion Questions

Under a spoiler tag for anyone still catching up :)

(view spoiler)


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Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments Ekk! Have been so caught up in Terry Pratchett, I forgot to read the last section, lol. hubby and son will be out for a couple of hours tomorrow, so will get it read then :)


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Sammy (sammystarbuck) | 4289 comments Phew! I very nearly didn't make it, but I'm done! Final answers under the tag :)

(view spoiler)


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