Book Review: The Fifth Season

(The Broken Earth #1)
08.04.2015 | Orbit
Rating: 5/5 stars


This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day.

Essun is masquerading as an ordinary teacher in a quiet community when she comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for thousands of years has collapsed in the hands of madman seeking vengeance. Across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been torn open and is spewing enough ash to darken the sky for years. 

This is the Stillness, a land familiar with struggle. Essun doesn’t care if the world is falling to pieces around her. The only concern in her mind is to save her daughter.


I have heard so many amazing reviews for N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy and it’s about time I finally started reading them! 

THE FIFTH SEASON launches readers into a world and an Earth different from the one that we occupy. This is a world where there are people with the ability to harness and wield the power of the earth. They can use this power for good or destruction, but society sees them as nothing but monsters. Jemisin completely envelops the reader into her world building right from page one. I was blown away by the level of detail and precision used by Jemisin to create this story. I loved that the book had an appendix with a glossary! As someone who doesn’t read a ton of science fiction or fantasy I haven’t learned quite how to track everything yet and this was perfect to flip back to when I needed clarity. It also eliminated Jemisin having to make the story too bulky with excessive details.


The story comes from multiple perspectives and at first you have no idea what the connection is between these narratives. The narratives equally stand out on their own as being powerful stories. The minute you have that first ah ha moment is incredible! I was so proud of myself for guessing a reveal in this story and it just made reading all the better as I flew through the pages trying to find out if I was correct. 

There are so many unique ideas within THE FIFTH SEASON, but it is more than just a tale of science fiction or fantasy. The way the oregenes are treated parallels the way our world chooses to treat people who do not fit a specific mould. This book touches on themes that make it relative and timely years after it was written. 

Enough chatter on a review because holy cliffhanger! I can’t wait to pick up book two!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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