The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – Review

Cover- The Fifth Season

Published: August 24, 2015

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Broken Earth #1

Pages: 468 (Paperback)

My Rating: 3.5/5.0



A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, from which enough ash spews to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

And it ends with you. You are the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where orogenes wield the power of the earth as a weapon and are feared far more than the long cold night. And you will have no mercy.

The Fifth Season is one of those books that throws you right into the middle of a new world, with new terms, concepts, and cultures and lets you figure it out as you. This is pretty overwhelming and I almost put it down twice as I progressed, but decided otherwise. I’m glad I finished it because by the middle of the book things start to make much more sense and the enjoyment factor increases considerably.

The book begins with a massive earthquake, a mother grieving her murdered child, and a secret revealed. Sounds interesting right? IT is, but at this point in the book so many foreign terms are thrown around that nothing makes sense and the way the book is written (as if you’re the character) is confusing. Now introduce a few more character POVs. More confusion. Just keep on going, because eventually things do start to become clear!

In this world, magic is connected to sensing rock, changing temperatures, and moving the earth. Those who possess this skill are feared and, if not found soon enough, are often killed by neighbors, family, or anyone else who finds out. The world is in constant upheaval and the orogens can keep the quakes and eruptions minimized, or they can exacerbate them and cause a ‘season’. Seasons are periods of time where the sun is blocked, water is contaminated, or a number of other catastrophes occur and life is threatened. They can last for months or years or centuries. The latest quake was a world ender. This basic, bare-bones summary of the worldbuilding gives you an idea but know that the whole story is so much more complex.

I thought The Fifth Season was a really unique book and despite the initial complications I was impressed. I don’t think I’ll continue on with the series simply because I didn’t LOVE it. I listened to the audio version, which had great narration!



4 thoughts on “The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – Review

  1. I loved this book. I had it as one of my top reads the year it came out in fact. I am glad you liked it a little, though sorry it didn’t hit you as hard as me. The sequel I still liked, but it was a step down so if you didn’t love this one then it is probably best to give it a break as planned.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by the same author and absolutely adored it. I need to finish that series before getting onto her other work but I’m excited to get to this. If you like the authors writing and plot then you make want to give The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms a try, it doesn’t feel as foreign or abstract as this one is seeming.

    Liked by 1 person

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