HOT DOG!!!!!!!! DO YOU LIKE POST-APOCALYPTIC TALES, MAGIC, LGBTQ+ REP, SHADOWY GOVERNMENT ORGS, POLYAMORY, AND FUCKING ROCK MONSTERS!?? THEN BUDDY THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU!!!!!!!
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin is, without a doubt, the best book I have read in a really long time. This book is incredible. It’s one of those books you rent from the library but then you have to go out and buy just because you need to PAY THE AUTHOR RIGHT NOW IMMEDIATELY.
I have so much gushing to do I honestly don’t know where to start. I’m just gonna break it down into easy-to-organize sections or else I’m gonna word vomit all over this review.
Worldbuilding: Incredible, mind-blowing, next level, ingenious, revolutionary. The author has constructed for us a society so full, and real, and well-thought out it is a delight to read. Our particular brand of ‘magic’ is actually just an additional sense only some certain gifted folks– called orogenes– can utilize, but as our society does, this one doesn’t like those who are different, leading to social stratification that sets our heroes apart from everyone else. Shadowy government organizations control breeding, education and employment of orogenes, and the rest of civilzed society lives in fear of them, and their powers. This is all set in a world living post MULTIPLE apocalypses, always prepared in case of the next one.
Characters: I don’t wanna say too much because there’s so many spoilers to be made but the characters really hooked me. There are characters here that I love to hate and others I hate to love. The nature of society makes it hard to guess what any given character’s next actions will be because we have genuinely no idea what agenda they’re following, making the villains– and some of the ‘heroes’– all the more terrifying. One of my ONLY complaints about this book is that it introduced me to some characters I loved so dearly and then tore them away from me.
Plot: UMMM hello!!! POST APOCALYPSE, SHADOWY GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACIES, ROCK MONSTERS!!! ALSO unknowable mysterious technologies left behind by dead civilizations of the past, exerting influences no one understands…!!
Writing style: Unique, bizarre at times, uncomfortably familiar but in like… a good way. What I especially love about this author’s writing style is that it changes throughout the book, so that you get the sense of the narrative purpose depending on how the story is being told to you.
DIVERSITY. I had no idea when I picked up this book it would deliver so spectacularly on this front. Most of our main characters are people of colour. There is oodles of LGBTQ+ rep (you’ll notice I didn’t need to change the acronym to leave out a certain group!!!). There’s polyamory too!! I am not saying that this book… wouldn’t have still been good without the incredible LGBTQ+ rep it has, but like.. it is so good, and so… um, soo much better than most books you ever pick up that it utterly sets this book apart.
Like I said, without a doubt the best book I’ve read in a long time. Despite the length I plowed through it in like 2 days, I have already placed a hold on the next book in the series at my local library. I literally finished the book, placed a hold on the next one, and wrote this review. 2 paws way the fuck up, one excited vibrating cat tail, AND 5 stars!! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!! GO BUY THIS BOOK!! (Amazon)
Note: I have ONE little warning to anyone reading this book: there is some very frank discussion of childhood sexual abuse. It is not graphic, you don’t have to see it happen on page, but it does occur in this society and it is discussed and I found it quite disturbing.