Broken Earth · N.K Jemisin · Young Adult

The Fifth Season (Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin

 

~Review~

This was amazing! I can’t even describe to you how incredible this book was without giving everything away. This is one of those books in which you want to know nothing upon delving into the world. I must say that I had trouble at first getting into it. I read about two chapters and put it down for a month (though I was in a reading slump) and finally decided to pick it back up again. Once I got past those first chapters I was hooked. I highly recommend giving this book a try and don’t feel bad if you are completely lost because I was. It starts making more sense towards the end but there are still a ton of unanswered questions and I am dying to know more. Just try not to look up any information about it in case of huge spoilers. This is definitely a must read!   

Plot 

The story follows three people: Essun, Damaya, and Syen as they traverse a terrible, violent world, one in which there are thousands of earthquakes, volcanoes, and even fifth seasons (periodic catastrophes) that can cause years of crop failures and end civilizations. Essun is a middle aged mother who has just learned of the death of her son, by her husband’s hand no less, and is set upon revenge. Damaya is a young girl who is kept in horrible conditions by her family because they learned of her terrible ability, and Syen is a young woman and practitioner of the art of orogeny who is setting out on her first real assignment given to her by the Fulcrum.

“This is what you must remember: the ending of one story is just the beginning of another. This has happened before, after all. People die. Old orders pass. New societies are born. When we say “the world has ended,” it’s usually a lie, because the planet is fine.

But this is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

For the last time.”

The plot switches between these three characters, all of whom live in different times and practice orogeny, which is basically the ability to control the earth and its energies.

At first, I had a hard time with the plot and found the new world to be utterly confusing but slowly some things started to make more sense and I became engrossed in the story. The plot was perfectly paced and not too complicated once I got in to it. It was also entirely unpredictable (for me anyway) and was one of the most original stories I have read in a while. It was also unique that each character had their own plot so at first it was hard to keep track of the different plots but once I learned more about the characters I was able to keep everything straight.

Seriously, I cannot even begin to express how dumbfounded I was when I realized how the whole story fit together. This was one of the biggest twists that I just didn’t see coming for some reason and it was epic!

World-Building 

So the world, The Stillness, is incredibly interesting and one that I would never want to live in. It is wreaked havoc by earthquakes, volcanoes, and an occasional “fifth season” that is disastrous enough to cause crops to fail for decades and sometimes even end civilizations. I thought it was intriguing to learn about how people cope with this.

“For all those who have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question.”

There are also people called orogenes who are able to control the energy within the earth to help quell seismic events or even create them if they wanted to. Their power is feared almost everywhere and those that are found are taken to the Fulcrum where they learn about their power, how to control it, and how best to aid civilization with their ability. People called Guardians are the only ones powerful enough to deal with orogenes and kill them if they have to.

Mysterious objects hover in the sky called obelisks and even after finishing the book we don’t know much about them, but I am dying to know more. However, they do seem to become attracted to orogenes and their power. There are also some fascinating beings and creatures to discover as well, one being the Stone-Eater. I’m still not sure whether to trust Stone-Eaters or not. :/

Everything was described perfectly, but I still want to know more!

Characters 

I briefly introduced the characters earlier and won’t say too much more about them. They are well-developed and each of their stories was just as interesting as the other. I couldn’t decide who I liked reading about most.

Demaya is the youngest of the female protagonists whom is treated horribly by her family due to her dreaded power. Through her story we learn a bit about the Fulcrum which is the school of magic, the guardians, and about orogeny itself. She is young and inexperienced and utterly afraid. I loved her plot!

Syen is a younger woman who is mastering the art of orogeny and setting out on her first real mission. I have to say that I didn’t like her story at first, that is until she meets Albaster.

“Home is what you take with you, not what you leave behind.”

Essun is a middle aged woman who is able to practice orogeny but has no known connection to the Fulcrum that we know of, unlike our other two protagonists. She is determined to find her husband and daughter and is set upon killing her husband for what he did to their son. She spends the book traveling, attempting to catch up to her fleeing husband. On her way she meets Hoa and that is where things get really interesting!

Overall, I really enjoyed all of the characters; however, I think I am most intrigued about Hoa. You will understand why once you read the book! I just need to know more about him.

I feel like this is just one of those books you have to discover the characters for yourself and learn how everything fits together on your own.

Writing 

The writing was absolutely poetic, beautiful, and entirely quotable. I loved reading every word and can’t wait to read the book again. It was descriptive, yet concise. Just gorgeous!

Cover 

The cover is almost perfect. I love the design, but don’t like the blurb on the front. It does at least have the series name and book number on the spine which is a plus. I’m not yet sure what the illustration is on the cover but I’m almost sure that something else could have been chosen that would have better fit the book.

~Review Spotlight~

The Critiquing Chemist          A Balanced Shelf

Just Words               Paper Droids

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3 thoughts on “The Fifth Season (Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin

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