Reading, Reviews

Review: The Fifth Season (Broken Earth #1)

TLDR: I gave The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Extremely impressive. This book had me turning back to re-read because I had begun skimming to find out what happens next.

There are three stories in one here and each is gripping in its own way. One of the stories felt like a cross between Harry Potter and Ender’s Game. Easy comparisons escape me for the other two stories, but the depth of NK Jemisin’s immersion in the perspective characters makes each of the three stories feel fresh.

Jemisin also takes some interesting risks (such as setting one of the three stories in 2nd person point-of-view) and building a fantasy story with an uncommon foundation for its magic: geology. There is also a ton of ambitious world-building, but nothing gets in the way of the storytelling. New aspects of the world are introduced gradually and organically when they impact the characters and the story. Furthermore, everything is shown through the characters’ perspectives.

I remember reading a description of some scenery and thinking to myself that the description was simplistic and weak. I snapped my writer suspenders and proclaimed that I could write something better than what had reached print in this Hugo-winning novel. But then I realized that the perspective character couldn’t have come up with a better description and I was floored.

The characters are always at the forefront. Their voices are honest. Every chapter peels off new layers of the world. There is a bread crumb trail of intrigue and surprising reveals that lead me by the nose the entire way through this book.


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