Audiobook Review: The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
Narrator: Robin Miles
Series: The Broken Earth #2
Also by this author: The Inheritance Trilogy - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Published by Hachette Audio on August 4th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Epic
Length: 15 hours 31 minutes
Also in this series: The Obelisk Gate
THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. FOR THE LAST TIME.
A season of endings has begun.
It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.
It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.
It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.
A new fantasy trilogy by Hugo, Nebula & World Fantasy Award nominated author N.K. Jemisin.
For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out:The Inheritance Trilogy The Hundred Thousand KingdomsThe Broken KingdomsThe Kingdom of GodsThe Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition) Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction) The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella) Dreamblood DuologyThe Killing MoonThe Shadowed Sun
The Fifth Season is a book that is not obvious in its strengths until you read it through to the end. Don’t get me wrong, this is a book that had me hooked from the beginning, but one that I felt even more appreciation for after finishing and seeing how the multiple storylines tied together. This is a book that will make you uncomfortable at time, feel heartache at others, and almost certainly you should always be grateful that you do not live in this world, as amazing as some of the abilities sound, the world is hard and harsh. But I don’t want to sound negative, because this book is nothing short of amazing.
The Fifth Season takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, one where the human population has been decimated. Disasters happen on a regular basis, causes lands to inhabitable, wiping out populations, so the people are perpetually preparing. This is the beginning of such a season, a season of death.
The book follows three story lines, all of which I found captivating and heartbreaking. The people of this world do not have it easy, don’t expect a happy feel good type of story, because this is dark. Brilliant, but still dark. In this scarred world, there are people that have powers, the power to control the earth, start or still seismic activity, cause flash freezing or explosions. Since the land they now live in is under constant threat of seismic events like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, etc, this power is even more impactful in this world, as it takes place in The Stillness, a land that is under constant threat of any of these seismic disasters.
And seeing as how human nature seem to be scared of what they don’t know or understand, it is not considered a blessing to have this power, but instead a curse. To be fair, I suppose fear is understandable as untrained, and uncontrolled, someone with this power could level a town unintentionally, just from an emotional reaction that caused them to trigger an event. Scary stuff.
So bear that in mind as we get the perspective of one child who is sent off by her own family because she has begun to shows signs of this curse. With her we get to see the fear and prejudice that occurs, but was also get a view of the training and how the children are raised in a very emotionally detached way at the Fulcrum. You can’t help but feel for her, this system just feels so wrong, even if it is helpful for maintaining control.
Another perspective is of a mother who comes to find one of her children murdered by her husband, the child’s own father, and her daughter is missing. She is on a mission to find her daughter, hopefully alive. Her POV is driven by love for her child, but it is still a rocky course, one full of humanity at its worst, but also another very interesting character that I still want to know more about. This POV was written in second person, which I honestly still have not made up my mind on. I will admit, I noticed the perspective at every switch. I don’t think it deterred my enjoyment at all, but I am curious about the decision to use that style here. It is different, it jumped out for me which is not necessarily a negative thing, but something I notice and did make me wonder a bit.
The final POV is of a young woman of the Fulcrum who is paired with a new, powerful mentor. One she is also expected to breed with, despite what either her or her mentor want, because that is what the higher ups determined would be best. They are sent a a town to investigate or fix some problem and along the way, their story takes a turn that is different from what their mission was.
I really can’t say enough good things about this one. I loved each perspective, I was captivated by every story and intrigued by the world and magic. The characters are all ones I still want to know more about. I am glad this is just the first in a series because I want to keep reading.
Audiobook Comments: Robin Miles gave a great performance in this. Between the narration and the story, I was captivated and enjoyed every minute of listening to this book. Highly recommend it in either format, I really think you can’t go wrong.