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Fantasy Friday: The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this “intricate and extraordinary” Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

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

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.

Amazon Link: The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1)

Author: N. K. Jemisin

Genre: Epic fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars

A compelling story with rich world-building and characters that’s nothing less than I would expect from fantasy master, N. K. Jemisin. At first, I wasn’t sure how the three POV characters and their individual stories related to each other, so it took me some time to realize that it was all the same person during three different times in her life. Poor Essun has been through so much already and it seems like there is only more pain ahead of her.

The world was complex and cool to explore. I want to know more about everything. This seems like the kind of world which could have an atlas* or something just to learn the details. But the story brings it to life through the eyes of the characters and their struggles. The world is harsh and even having large amounts of magical power isn’t enough to survive.

I cried during this book and it was hard to read at times, but it was worth it.

LGBTQIA+ representation: the main character is straight but she spends time in a triad (more of a V) with a bisexual man and a gay man. There’s also a trans woman who is a secondary character. Whenever a character’s gender is unknown, “they” is used as the default pronoun.

TW: child death/murder, slavery, forced sex/procreation, explicit violence, domestic abuse.

Here is the book in my reading journal:

*I used to collect fantasy atlases. I had one for Pern and one for Middle Earth, and I really wanted one for Earthsea but there was never an official release. Wish I still had those books. I’m not sure they’re in print anymore in these days when everything has a wiki, but books are nicer than wikis.


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.