NK Jemisin’s forte is novels with a slow, precise pace and non-linear storytelling. As her characters and the plot creep forward, realizations start to hit you like heavy bricks. As you start to get a handle on what’s happening, the creeping plot begins to speed up and the significance of events becomes clearer. You’ll start to make connections between the threads she’s woven in the story around you.
All that being said, The Fifth Season was slow, up until the final 30% of the book. It starts grim, stays grim and ends grim. I wouldn’t call it dark, but it’s definitely grim. There’s literally a section of the book that says (paraphrasing) “here is a part of your life that’s happy – we’re going to skip over it and get back to the grim stuff.”
The writing is beautiful and the characters are interesting. It’s a well-crafted novel, but it’s not ever going to be my favorite.
The Fifth Season is the first book in The Broken Earth series.
Review originally published on Goodreads May 22, 2017.