The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season
This review originally appeared on

I'm always in search of the next novel that really breaks free from the shackles of common science fiction and fantasy tropes and begins new ground. I think The Fifth Season might be the closest thing I've read to that in quite some time. The novel is told from three female points of view in a world not too dissimilar to our own but that's ravaged by seismic activity. 

There's a group of people that have the ability to both quell and create seismic events. You can consider this their magical powers. The novel weaves these three women's narratives together at what the onset of the novel is considered the end of the world. I have to hand it to N.K. Jemisin because the way in which she is able to keep these three threads moving forward at a similar pace is quite impressive. I was never bummed to go from one perspective to the next. Each of the plights was quite engaging and a fun ride. 

My biggest issue with The Fifth Season was trying to keep all the stories straight. One of the perspectives is told in the second person which is kind of an odd choice. I'm not sure I've ever read a book that's had it told in that perspective and it threw me off for a while. About half way through I started to become more comfortable with the characters, the setting, and the rules of the world. 

With about a quarter of the book left there are some plot lines that finally come together in some of the most spectacular twists in a novel I've had in a long time. I really enjoyed The Fifth Season and am intrigued to keep on with the story. I didn't fall in love with the book like I was hoping but I enjoyed the ride enough that I could see continuing on with it. 

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