Book review: The Fifth Season (N.K. Jemisin)

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fifth season

The Fifth Season

N.K. Jemisin

ISBN: 0316229296 (ISBN13: 9780316229296)

Published  August 4th, 2015






The world has been broken, again and again. Out of the ruins of past technological ages rises the people of Sanze, who weather through countless fifth seasons of disaster. Helping them through the chaotic movements of tectonic plates, calming the roiling earth are humans born with the ability to move mountains. The orogenes. The rest of humanity persuades them to collar themselves, to serve humanity like slaves or face death. They teach them in the great city of Yumenes.

Some communities kill orogenes as children out of fear. No one wants another Season of disaster to come.

Essune’s village is spared when a roiling tectonic wave rips through the land. Her husband assumes the destruction is the fault of their three year old son, Uche. Essune is an orogene, and so is her son. He beats the boy to death, and flees with their daughter. Essun comes home to find her son’s broken body, and her husband and daughter gone.

She takes to the road in search of her daughter, passing the destruction that came from the direction of Yumenes.

The Fifth Season gives us a view of a life in pieces, trying to cope with being different, with the destruction of the world she knows, with pain. Jemisin creates a vivid and multifaceted world that is thoroughly developed, and characters just as developed to populate it. It shows us the result of marginalizing people out of fear, and the desperation of a woman living through a life full of violence and fear. Despite swearing off friends, family, attachments, she gathers a family to her again and again. Again and again, it is torn from her.

With incredible worldbuilding and rich characters (main characters of color, LGBTQ characters, polyamory–simply well developed characters), The Fifth Season is solidly on my list of books you must read in 2015.


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JL JamiesonBook review: The Fifth Season (N.K. Jemisin)