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.
The New York Times Book Review - Naomi Novik
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.)
"Jemisin is now a pillar of speculative fiction, breathtakingly imaginative and narratively bold."—
Entertainment Weekly "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 shockand the book is packed with themin 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)
"A compelling page-turner."
The Onion A.V. Club 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."
Naomi Novik 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."
sfrevu.com 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."
RT Book Reviews on The Inheritance trilogy
"Jemisin proves yet again that she is one of the important new writers in the sff scene." -
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
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.