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The Fifth Season (Broken Earth Series #1)

The Fifth Season (Broken Earth Series #1)

4.6 10
by N. K. Jemisin

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"Intricate and extraordinary." - New York Times on The Fifth Season (A New York Times Notable Book of 2015)


This is the way the world ends...for the last time.

A season of endings has begun.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart


"Intricate and extraordinary." - New York Times on The Fifth Season (A New York Times Notable Book of 2015)


This is the way the world ends...for the last time.

A season of endings has begun.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.

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

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

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out:

The Inheritance Trilogy
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Broken Kingdoms
The Kingdom of Gods

The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition)
Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction)
The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella)

Dreamblood Duology
The Killing Moon
The Shadowed Sun

The Broken Earth
The Fifth Season
The Obelisk Gate

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Naomi Novik
The Fifth Season brings us to the end of the world in three different times, with three orogene women at different stages of life and loss…Essun's story, told in the present, begins in the moment of the larger cataclysm and is the most intimate; her agony and its second-person voice demand our close sympathy. All three narratives are urgent and deftly interwoven to reveal their far-future earth, a world that has buried our own civilization and many others in its lower strata…The Fifth Season invites us to imagine a dismantling of the earth in both the literal and the metaphorical sense, and suggests the possibility of a richer and more fundamental escape. The end of the world becomes a triumph when the world is monstrous, even if what lies beyond is difficult to conceive for those who are trapped inside it.
Publishers Weekly
★ 06/29/2015
Humans struggle to survive on a ruined world in this elegiac, complex, and intriguing story, the first in the Broken Earth series from acclaimed author Jemisin (the Inheritance Trilogy). The Stillness is a quiet and bitter land, sparsely populated by subsistence communities called comms. Essun lived quietly in a comm with her husband and children until her secret got out: she—and her children—are orogenes, those who have the ability to control Earth forces. They can quell or start earthquakes, open veins of magma, and generally cause or rein in geological chaos. Authorities keep a brutal hold on orogenes, controlling everything about their lives, including whom they breed with. Those who escape servitude and seek safety in the comms face expulsion and execution at the hands of the fearful. Soon after Essun’s secret is revealed, her husband kills their son, and her daughter goes missing. Essun sets off to find the girl, undertaking a journey that will force her to face unfinished business from her own secret past. Jemisin’s graceful prose and gritty setting provide the perfect backdrop for this fascinating tale of determined characters fighting to save a doomed world. Readers hungry for the next installment will also find ample satisfaction in rereading this one. Agent: Lucienne Diver, Knight Agency. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"Intricate and extraordinary."—The New York Times

"[The Fifth Season is] an ambitious book, with a shifting point of view, and a protagonist whose full complexity doesn't become apparent till toward the end of the novel. ... Jemisin's work itself is part of a slow but definite change in sci-fi and fantasy."—Guardian

"Astounding... Jemisin maintains a gripping voice and an emotional core that not only carries the story through its complicated setting, but sets things up for even more staggering revelations to come."—NPR Books

"Jemisin's graceful prose and gritty setting provide the perfect backdrop for this fascinating tale of determined characters fighting to save a doomed world."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"A must-buy...breaks uncharted ground."—Library Journal (starred review)

"Jemisin might just be the best world builder out there right now.... [She] is a master at what she does."—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!)

"The Fifth Season is a powerful, epic novel of discovery, pain, and heartbreak.... It is a novel that demands much of its readers; it rewards them aplenty and is one of those novels that becomes more powerful after deep consideration and subsequent readings."—SFF World

"This is an intense, exciting novel, where survival is always on the line, set in a fascinating, original and dangerous world with an intriguing mystery at the heart of it. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book!"—Martha Wells

"Brilliant...gorgeous writing and unexpected plot twists."—Washington Post

"[A]ngrily, beautifully apocalyptic."—B&N.com

"Heartbreaking, wholly unexpected, and technically virtuosic, The Fifth Season is a tour-de-force. I felt every shock—and the book is packed with them—in my marrow. It's no exaggeration to say that Jemisin expands the range of what great fantasy can be."—Brian Staveley, author of The Emperor's Blades

"With every new work, Jemisin's ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows."—Kirkus (starred review)

Kate Elliott
"Jemisin proves yet again that she is one of the important new writers in the sff scene." -
RT Book Reviews on The Inheritance trilogy
This is a book that readers won't be able to put down...A magnificent novel and one of the best books this reviewer has read this year."
sfrevu.com on The Inheritance trilogy
"N.K. Jemisin has written a fascinating epic fantasy where the stakes are not just the fate of kingdoms but of the world and the universe."
Naomi Novik on The Inheritance trilogy
"The very best kind of sequel: as lush and evocative and true as the first, with all the same sense of mystery, giving us the world and characters we already love, and yet with a new story and a wonderfully new perspective on the whole dazzling world and pantheon the author has built."
The Onion A.V. Club on The Inheritance trilogy
"A compelling page-turner."
Library Journal
★ 06/15/2015
In a world plagued by cataclysmic tectonic activity, the only way to survive is to constantly prepare for the next fifth season. But no one is ready for the scope of the disaster that strikes when the capital city of a continent-wide empire is subsumed in a massive rift that spreads hundreds of miles. Using alternating points of view, Jemisen explores the lives of several characters in the years leading up to the cataclysmic disaster. VERDICT Multiaward winner Jemisen breaks uncharted ground with this long-awaited title that introduces a fresh world and trilogy, creating a completely realized society inhabited by three varieties of humans and a nonhuman species that lives inside the earth. With Jemisen's record of prestigious literary honors, plus her strong following, this is a must-buy for all speculative fiction collections and an excellent recommendation for fans of Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn" trilogy.—JM
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-06-14
In the first volume of a trilogy, a fresh cataclysm besets a physically unstable world whose ruling society oppresses its most magically powerful inhabitants.The continent ironically known as the Stillness is riddled with fault lines and volcanoes and periodically suffers from Seasons, civilization-destroying tectonic catastrophes. It's also occupied by a small population of orogenes, people with the ability to sense and manipulate thermal and kinetic energy. They can quiet earthquakes and quench volcanoes…but also touch them off. While they're necessary, they're also feared and frequently lynched. The "lucky" ones are recruited by the Fulcrum, where the brutal training hones their powers in the service of the Empire. The tragic trap of the orogene's life is told through three linked narratives (the link is obvious fairly quickly): Damaya, a fierce, ambitious girl new to the Fulcrum; Syenite, an angry young woman ordered to breed with her bitter and frighteningly powerful mentor and who stumbles across secrets her masters never intended her to know; and Essun, searching for the husband who murdered her young son and ran away with her daughter mere hours before a Season tore a fiery rift across the Stillness. Jemisin (The Shadowed Sun, 2012, etc.) is utterly unflinching; she tackles racial and social politics which have obvious echoes in our own world while chronicling the painfully intimate struggle between the desire to survive at all costs and the need to maintain one's personal integrity. Beneath the story's fantastic trappings are incredibly real people who undergo intense, sadly believable pain.With every new work, Jemisin's ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows.

Product Details

Publication date:
Broken Earth Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

N. K. Jemisin is a Brooklyn author who won the Hugo Award for Best Novel for The Fifth Season, which was also a New York Times Notable Book of 2015. She previously won the Locus Award for her first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and her short fiction and novels have been nominated multiple times for Hugo, World Fantasy, Nebula, and RT Reviewers' Choice awards, and shortlisted for the Crawford and the James Tiptree, Jr. awards. She is a science fiction and fantasy reviewer for the New York Times, and you can find her online at nkjemisin.com.

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The Fifth Season 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The concept is a creative blend of science and fantasy, the characters are believable, and the world is ending. I'm keeping this brief but the pieces all fit and even when you begin to put them all together a few, though likely not all, revelations may surprise you. The world Jemisin has created is both vibrantly alive and cruelly dying. There are many mysteries remaining, and I am eargerly awaiting the next book's release. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes fantasy/sci-fi blends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She continues to blow my mind
Riptorn41 More than 1 year ago
I have read a LOT of amazing books this year. I feel like we readers have been particularly blessed by some good books in 2015, and therefore the bar is pretty high across the board for what qualifies as a must read. Well, if you like fantasy at all, this one definitely belongs on that list. N.K. Jemisin spins an amazing, deep world that has some dark undertones to it and does it in such a way that you are turning pages as fast as you can to find out more about it. There is a unique magic system, several (very, to me) interesting new races and a somehow familiar but new civilization that the reader gets thrown into. The best part is N.K. introduces this world using powerful (and sometimes scary) main characters that are also at their essence so, so human. I've never had my heart break so many times for a character that is so strong before, and its a wonderful, joyous experience. I believe the baseline for loving someone is recognizing how strong they are while knowing exactly where all the chinks in her armor is, what open wounds they carry that can turn them on you; N.K. captures that fantastically. Sometimes you read a book, and you can just tell how talented the author is, how the sky really is the limit. I believe The Fifth Season to be that type of book. I don't actually buy many books (I work at a library), but I've already purchased two copies of this one. I'll read all of N.K. Jemisin's books in the next year, and I have no doubt that they will all be well worth my time. Read this one as soon as you can get your hands on it.
Sean Melican More than 1 year ago
I have long been a fan of Ms. Jemisin's work, but this novel is a quantum leap forward. The world-building is phenomenal and unusual -- no pseudo-medieval, whitewashed (in every sense of the word) world. On a planet that is much more tectonically active than ours, there are what I suppose could be called mini-extinction events: when volcanoes explode, or tectonic plates shift parts of the world are covered with ash in what is known as 'the fifth season', a sort of prolonged winter of ash and cold. Animals have adapted: normally herbivorous creatures become carnivorous. People have adapted: there are storecaches of food and supplies, fields that are left ready, and so forth. (I said the world building is excellent, and what struck me was the little detail that people who are constantly aware of the inconstancy of the ground never really look at the sky -- it's details like this that raise the world building from good to excellent.) There are people known as orogenes (or the derogatory rogga) who are born with the ability to 'sess' rock and mineral and either cause quakes and volcanic eruptions, or stop them. Naturally these people are sought out and trained, but they are not elevated (as one might expect) but really slaves to the power structure. They are feared but necessary, hated and ruthlessly used. As Ms. Jemisin is never one to shirk from examining power within power structures, race and sexuality are significant. The story follows three people, one written in second person (a bold move that pays off) whose lives will intersect near the end. To say much more would be to ruin the joy that is the novel. If you want high quality world building, complex characterization and complex power dynamics, read THE FIFTH SEASON.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hands down the best book I read in 2015. Jemisin is a master at her craft. This world and these characters will stay with you long after you close the book on the final page. Don't miss this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book of the year.
AlgotRuneman More than 1 year ago
Quakes, volcanoes and tsunamis are the instigators of "The Fifth Season." Some people just suffer through, if they survive. Others have a strange ability to control quakes and volcanoes, but without training, their abilities also can set off an apocalypse. Fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent book; expansive, thrilling, and angry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brandon smiles softly, staring down at him with soft magenta eyes. "Same."