Dark, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Loved-it, Women's

Every Season Must End, And Every Review Must Be Written The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Why is it that I can’t seem to be able to write a review for The Fifth Season for so long? I’ve finished it at the end of April, now it’s August, and lo and behold – the review has not materialized.

…Why?

I’ll tell you why.

Because when I finish a good book, and I mean a really, truly, unbelievably good book, I struggle with the review a lot. The insecurity of writing something sub-par kicks in, and you wouldn’t allow yourself to write a middling review for a book that was this good. Would you?

My initial reaction to The Fifth Season was, I am sorry to say, one of disappointment. Because this book should really come with the disclaimer of RTFM (read the f*cking manual), or rather, RTFG (read the f*cking glossary!) But now that I’m finished with it, I can say that in reality – it’s no drawback. It’s a positive thing, really – it’s just that this book has you so submersed in the experience of the world you’re reading about, that at first you don’t quite know what to make of it. But when you do…

(Okay, so the book doesn’t really have magic. That was more for illustrating the point of how you feel when you’re reading it.)

Anyway. I am almost confident that nearly everyone but me has already read The Fifth Season, but for those of you who haven’t, let me spin you a little tale about what is going on in it. The start is a little rough on the reader, especially if you, like me, won’t look at the glossary first. N.K. Jemisin has crafted a whole vocabulary of words especially for this universe, and physics that only works here. That in and of itself if already amazing! But it makes for a tough initial reading experience. So if you feel overwhelmed at first, do not despair! It shall all pass.

Once you untangle everything, reading The Fifth Season becomes an incredibly immersive experience. You start off with three characters, and for at least half the book, all you will be doing will be trying to figure out how they come together and how all of it makes sense. The only thing you really know is that in this world, apocalypses are not a one-time thing. You will have many theories (if you’re like me), and that’s greatly enjoyable. Those three characters will introduce you to different aspects of how that world works, how ruthless it is, and not just because it’s crumbling in the throes of yet another end of the world, but also because of how the society has shaped itself. Which is perhaps even more cruel than the apocalypse itself. The interesting thing, of course, is what this end of the world has to do with the three characters you’re meeting.

And unfortunately, that is all I can tell you about this book before I start seriously spoiling your fun. The rest is up to your little brain, crafting away at its theories about what’s really happening, why, and even when. Instead, let me just give you an assuring list of what to expect from The Fifth Season, and perhaps that will help you make up your mind about it:

A dark and extremely imaginative, gritty fantasy story
Raw, real and no-nonsense characters (no pouty and mock-perfect people who don’t need to wash their hair!)
✓ A very multi-faceted, realistic and colorful MC
✓ I did say dark, didn’t I. It’s definitely adult fantasy, so it’s pretty damn serious
✓ I would say YES for the #diversity
✓ No plot-twist loopholes or exploitation
✓ It leaves so many story lines open that you can’t help but want to read the next book ASAP

Long story short, you know it’s a good book when I am at a loss for words. I’ve been sitting here trying to write this review for more than an hour, but I just can’t tell you more. It’s been months, and I’m just as overwhelmed about this book as I was before. Maybe it will be easier to understand the caliber of The Fifth Season if I give you a selection of books with a similar feel (measured in darkness, rawness and flight of imagination):

 The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth's Past #1) Red Rising (Red Rising #1) Seveneves

So read it! I swear you won’t regret it. I can’t wait till I get my hands on the second part, I’ve been eyeing it for forever now. You can buy The Fifth Season at Book Depository and by doing so, you are supporting my blog.

Have you heard about this series,
or better yet, read it? I will eagerly wait for your opinion in the comments!

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Margaret
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The Fifth Season is one of my favorite fantasy series. So good! Any plans to read Book 2? Book 3 comes out this month. I’m so looking forward to reading it.

The immersion of The Fifth Season is one of the reasons it’s so powerful, for me. I loved that use of 2nd person.

Karen Blue
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I have never heard about The Fifth Season but this review is making me think I NEED to read it. Putting it next to Ref Rising is sealing the deal for me. Thanks for the fantastic review! It was worth the wait.

Bea
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OH MY GOSH!!!! I want the book NOW!!!

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Elise @ Roaming Reader
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I haven’t heard of this one! You describing how important reading the glossary is would drive me INSANE tho… if I had to keep flipping back to make sense of the world… yeah I’d probably just give up… I’m an impatient reader

Sam @ WLABB
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I have to agree, I often struggle with the spectacular books too. For example, I adored A Million Junes, yet, there is no review for it. I initially was working through my feelings, but then there were a million reviews online, and I was overwhelmed.

Laura Thomas
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You ranking it up there with Red Rising sold me! Loved your fun review. And I know what you mean about writing a review that’s worthy of the book. I’ve struggled with that too. You do a terrific job!

Uma @ Books.Bags.Burgers.
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Ooo..I’ve not read any of Jemisin’s books but plan to read The Fifth season soon! I actually like all that extra stuff in books like glossaries and information or footnotes(Like in Nevernight) …I enjoy getting a feel of the world in the book from all around! Thanks for the recommendation chica 🙂 You talked about this book in one of your older posts and that’s when I added it to my Amazon wishlist 🙂

Anne Clarence
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I completely understand! Some timesI have so much to say about the book that I have no idea what to say at all XD

Greg
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Wow I haven’t read this one (am I the last one ha ha)? but you have me talked into it! I love the sound of the multi faceted MC and the real characters. Nice review. These kinds of awesome books ARE hard to review. 🙂

Lashaan Balasingam
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Oh man, not being able to write up a review for a long time after completing it is only proof of pure love! 😛 Fantastic review, Evelina. I have this on my TBR since the day it won one of those big book awards. It really does sound fantastic, and I’m totally down to immerse myself in the author’s new vocabulary just to enjoy this. Do you plan on checking out its sequel soon? 😀 You must be dying to get more of this awesomeness! 😮

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Resh
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I have heard about the book. But not actually read it. Thanks for the heads up on the vocab list. I must try to pick it up sooner

Jackie B.
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I loved this book! And just like you, I have been putting off writing my review. I read it in May, so I have some time still before we get to where I will be just as far behind on writing my review. 😉 In fact, I adore everything N. K Jemisin has written. She has a really unique style of writing where you don’t realize until after you’ve read the twist where you realize you knew that all along. It’s pretty brilliant. Every book of hers I’ve read I’ve wanted to re-read as soon as I put the book… Read more »
Maureen Bakker
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I’m almost afraid to admit it, but I haven’t heard about this series before. But I must say your review makes me want to read it. I’m not particularly a fan of dark fantasy, but sometimes you just have to get out of your comfort zone right?!
Great review! 😉

Maygin Reads
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For not feeling like you have the words to describe this book, I’d say you did a fantastic job. In fact, much much better than I did when I reviewed it where I basically was just like, this is the best book ever so read it now. I completely relate to how hard it is to review a book you love. I can critique books all day and I can write 4 star reviews no problem. But those 5 star, best book ever reviews, I am just a babbling mess. I am very impressed with how well you conveyed the… Read more »
Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard
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Good review! I haven’t read Jemisin yet, and will probably start with the Inheritance Trilogy because my daughter gave it to me for Christmas. (In one volume. Which is rather intimidating, and too heavy to carry around. So it will take a while.) But I’ve heard terrific things about The Fifth Season, and of course, it won a Hugo and so did the sequel, which is pretty impressive in itself (to win two Hugos back-to-back.)

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