Friday, May 19, 2023

N.K.Jemisin - The Fifth Season

This innovative fantasy novel is far from the "high fantasy" and world-building of the Tolkien clones that proliferate in this genre. It is set on a highly active geological planet, where humans live constantly in fear of the end of their age, as giant earth movements wreck their civilisations. Knowledge, passed down from eons before, warns them of their history and urges them to prepare for the end of a season, when things go to hell and everyone is left to fend for themselves, particularly those outside the Communes. The orogenes however, are hated humans who can control the earth, using its energy to move, change and direct power. Their ability to use this power, and lack of control unless highly trained, makes them feared by other humans - but their powers to stop tremors makes them necessary.

The Fifth Season takes some getting into, but once the reader gets their head around the non-linear plot and the various seasons and reference points, there's a lot here. The central story, of an orogene struggling to find and hide themselves in a hateful and dangerous world, is well plotted to show off the author's worldbuilding. Looking forward to the second volume.

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