The Fifth Season Review

  • Author: N.K. Jemisin
  • Series: The Broken Earth Trilogy #3
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • No. of pages: 468
  • Dates read: 09.01.21 – 21.01.21
  • Star Rating: 4 stars

Plot: 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 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.

So, I had heard so much and I mean, SO MUCH, hype surrounding this book. Last year, I bought a couple of books that book twitter, at the time, had been raving about and this book was one of them. I was really nervous starting this book as I so desperately wanted to like it as much as everyone else did so I could join in with all the conversations. While I really enjoyed this novel, I do wish I went in blind or without seeing as much hype as I did as I think the hype slightly spoilt my expectation of it. If I had gone in blind this probably would of been a 5 stars.

The main thing that everyone says when you start this book is the writing style. I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. You follow 3 different POVs in this book and through the POVs you get to understand the world and the magic system a bit more but 1 POV, Essun’s, is written in 2nd person. I have never read a book written with a 2nd person narrative for so I was really intrigued. I would agree with everyone else’s opinions of it takes just that bit of extra time to get into, especially if you haven’t read a 2nd person narrative before, it does start off a bit slow trying to adjust to all the phrases and ways of the world but once you pick it up and start to understand it’s then easier to read. I always love a multiple POV story as I have a short attention span so flicking around the place following numerous people works really well for me over a just following one person through a story.

The plot itself, I have to be honest, I was a bit confused initially. By the end of the book, I did feel like I had a grasp on everything about the characters and the world etc. but when I was reading it I was confused. I was putting the book down and literally closing my eyes and going over all the events in my head and what they could all mean. But you get to one point in the story where everything falls into place and I just had to sit there and admire the layers and detail of this plot. I feel like there are certain elements of the story where you do need to wait and read the following sequels, to fully understand what is happening. But I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to spoil anything.

What I will say is, while I enjoyed Essun’s POV, a lot, my absolute favourite was Syenite. I really enjoyed watching her throughout her journey and learning more about her abilities and how the world works and functions.

Essun, though, is a woman after my own heart really. Strong-willed, powerful, kind, compassionate and a powerful mother. We meet so many characters in this novel, each with a task to explain to the reader a little bit more about the world and the magic system. As I just stated, I loved Syenite. Strong-willed, knows what she wants, doesn’t take shit. I really enjoyed Syenite’s relationship with Alabaster. This complicated frenemies situation they had going on was great, watching them grow and develop and learn from one another. One of this book’s highlights were how varied and detailed these characters are.

The worldbuilding as well was amazing. I will admit again, I was a bit confused at the beginning with how the world worked and functioned. Again, I don’t feel we have the full picture and that’s what the sequels are for and probably why I got that bit confused. But… Jemisin knows how to put a world together. From the natural geography under the world’s crust to the complex intricacies in politics and power. I just need to know more about everything that this woman has to offer.

I don’t think a single read is enough to do this book justice. I know that when I re-read this book I will find more information and more details that I missed the first time round.

The next book I’ll be reviewing is Descendent of the Crane by Joan He!

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