The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin is an epic fantasy worthy of the name. N. K. Jemisin introduces the reader to a world where Father Earth hates His people to a point where He tries to extinguish every last one of them. But human beings prove to be too resilient to give up that easily.
Sometimes, first sentences of a novel set the mood for everything that is coming:
LET’S START WITH THE END of the world, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things.
And then we get our first glimpse of the setting:
It moves a lot, this land. Like an old man lying restlessly abed it heaves and sighs, puckers and farts, yawns and swallows. Naturally this land’s people have named it Stillness. It is a land of quiet and bitter irony.
The novel truly packs a punch – it deals with race (albeit made-up), class, sexuality, fear and prejudice. It also deals greatly with loss and the impact of murder not only on the family members, but also on the murderers themselves – in this fantasy world one simply has to be able to kill to survive or to save themselves.
Character development is crazy good in this story. The reader is introduced to three points of view and is yet to figure out how the three are connected (and there is quite a bit of masterfully done foreshadowing – abrupt changes in narration here and there, a strange thought creeping into the mind of the narrator that seem to make no sense – so it should not come as a huge surprise).
Anyway. It’s all there if you put the facts together and think beyond what we’re taught.
The Fifth Season is an elegantly crafted story of a very twisted world, and it is full of surprises, morally grey, yet likeable characters, and humorous and sarcastic banters.
There is an art to smiling in a way that others will believe. It is always important to include the eyes; otherwise, people will know you hate them.
Things are, of course, left on a beautifully done cliffhanger that promises that the next instalment will be even more brilliant!
Why I rave about this book and not give it the highest rating, you ask? Even though I absolutely loved it, such a complicated world takes time to build, so the story did seem confusing and a little bit boring in the beginning, which is obviously understandable. Which is why I feel like the next book will be pure perfection!
Accuracy is sacrificed in the name of better poetry.
“Home is people,” she says to Asael, softly. Asael blinks. “Home is what you take with you, not what you leave behind.”
“Timay. Control yourself.” Timay’s not home, Damaya thinks.
(Friends do not exist. The Fulcrum is not a school. Grits are not children. Orogenes are not people. Weapons have no need of friends.)