Like earthquakes, volcanoes, and seismic catastrophes? Well imagine if you could control those things with magic because your planet is unstable. That is the premise of The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin and it is highly imaginative.
Recommendation: If you like highly imaginative world building fantasy then this one is for you. The world building is definitely the most focused element in the story. I recommend a buy on this book when you want a complex and original fantasy experience.
The Fifth Season is a story about three women surviving in a harsh environment. This world is so inhospitable that there are volcano and earthquakes happening all that time that threaten life. In each age though, a group of people survive, and rebuild. The story is about three women, all of them orogenes, individuals that can control the earthquakes and volcanoes, to help people survive. Orogenes are looked down upon my normal people though because they believe that orogenes cause most of the issues instead of help. One woman is a mother that came home to find her child murdered by her husband. She is now on her way to find her husband, for revenge, and take back the daughter he stole from her. The second point of view is a young girl that finds out she is an orogene, and must go to a special school to learn about her powers. The last point of view is an active assistant oregene that is under a much powerful oregene. Their job is to quell a city’s quakes and find out what is happening in their world. Is this the end of another age? Will they survive this one?
This book was fantastic. I initially rated the book a 5 star rating but after some thought I think the plot could have been a little tighter. There were moments when I was a little bit confused why certain parts of the book was added but I think it is going to be referenced in later books. Jemisin held back a lot while writing this and made it a better book. We kind of understand how this world works at the beginning of the book but as the characters progress we realize that not everything is as it seems.
The world building in this was fantastic. I have always been interested in the techtonic plates that the earth sits on. I find it fascinating that the world used to be one large landmass and that the movement of these plates shaped our world. So right away, the world building had my interest because this world that N. K. Jemisin wrote is much more active than earth as far as seismic activity. Listen, volcanoes are cool, being able to control a volcano is even cooler. What more can I say? It is an entire book that revolves around people that are like the earth kid from Captain Planet. There is even a stone eater race that, well, eats stone. This stone kid can make his skin turn however he wants it to look and turn giant mammoth things into stone by touching them.
This book is all about different skin colored individuals and crazy hair. Seriously, this is one of the more diverse fantasy books I’ve ever read. There is a transgender character and many character’s sexuality is very fluid. All of this never takes away from the world and the story. This is a story without a male point of view, just multiple female points of view. Really cool.
I really liked this book and I think this is going to be N. K. Jemisin’s most successful franchise. She deserves it. She puts out solid books, that are really inventive, but this one is a cut above the rest.
19/25 Possible Score
Heart & Mind Aspect-3(Good)