The Fifth Season (Broken Earth Series #1)

The Fifth Season (Broken Earth Series #1)

by N. K. Jemisin


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At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this "intricate and extraordinary" Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

This is the way the world ends...for the last time.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

Read the first book in the critically acclaimed, three-time Hugo award-winning trilogy by NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out:

The Inheritance Trilogy
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Broken Kingdoms
The Kingdom of Gods

The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition)
Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction)
The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella)

Dreamblood Duology
The Killing Moon
The Shadowed Sun

The Broken Earth
The Fifth Season
The Obelisk Gate

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316229296
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Series: Broken Earth Series , #1
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 12,452
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

N. K. Jemisin is the first author in the genre's history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugo Awards, all for her Broken Earth trilogy. Her work has also won the Nebula, Locus, and Goodreads Choice Awards. She is currently a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, and she has been an instructor for the Clarion and Clarion West writing workshops. In her spare time she is a gamer and gardener, and she is also single-handedly responsible for saving the world from King Ozzymandias, her dangerously intelligent ginger cat, and his phenomenally destructive sidekick Magpie.

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The Fifth Season 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The concept is a creative blend of science and fantasy, the characters are believable, and the world is ending. I'm keeping this brief but the pieces all fit and even when you begin to put them all together a few, though likely not all, revelations may surprise you. The world Jemisin has created is both vibrantly alive and cruelly dying. There are many mysteries remaining, and I am eargerly awaiting the next book's release. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes fantasy/sci-fi blends.
Riptorn41 More than 1 year ago
I have read a LOT of amazing books this year. I feel like we readers have been particularly blessed by some good books in 2015, and therefore the bar is pretty high across the board for what qualifies as a must read. Well, if you like fantasy at all, this one definitely belongs on that list. N.K. Jemisin spins an amazing, deep world that has some dark undertones to it and does it in such a way that you are turning pages as fast as you can to find out more about it. There is a unique magic system, several (very, to me) interesting new races and a somehow familiar but new civilization that the reader gets thrown into. The best part is N.K. introduces this world using powerful (and sometimes scary) main characters that are also at their essence so, so human. I've never had my heart break so many times for a character that is so strong before, and its a wonderful, joyous experience. I believe the baseline for loving someone is recognizing how strong they are while knowing exactly where all the chinks in her armor is, what open wounds they carry that can turn them on you; N.K. captures that fantastically. Sometimes you read a book, and you can just tell how talented the author is, how the sky really is the limit. I believe The Fifth Season to be that type of book. I don't actually buy many books (I work at a library), but I've already purchased two copies of this one. I'll read all of N.K. Jemisin's books in the next year, and I have no doubt that they will all be well worth my time. Read this one as soon as you can get your hands on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She continues to blow my mind
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Different from anything I have ever read. Jemison has created a new reality out of whole cloth and introduces original yet familiar characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is definitely a different genre for me, but I enjoyed it!
Sean Melican More than 1 year ago
I have long been a fan of Ms. Jemisin's work, but this novel is a quantum leap forward. The world-building is phenomenal and unusual -- no pseudo-medieval, whitewashed (in every sense of the word) world. On a planet that is much more tectonically active than ours, there are what I suppose could be called mini-extinction events: when volcanoes explode, or tectonic plates shift parts of the world are covered with ash in what is known as 'the fifth season', a sort of prolonged winter of ash and cold. Animals have adapted: normally herbivorous creatures become carnivorous. People have adapted: there are storecaches of food and supplies, fields that are left ready, and so forth. (I said the world building is excellent, and what struck me was the little detail that people who are constantly aware of the inconstancy of the ground never really look at the sky -- it's details like this that raise the world building from good to excellent.) There are people known as orogenes (or the derogatory rogga) who are born with the ability to 'sess' rock and mineral and either cause quakes and volcanic eruptions, or stop them. Naturally these people are sought out and trained, but they are not elevated (as one might expect) but really slaves to the power structure. They are feared but necessary, hated and ruthlessly used. As Ms. Jemisin is never one to shirk from examining power within power structures, race and sexuality are significant. The story follows three people, one written in second person (a bold move that pays off) whose lives will intersect near the end. To say much more would be to ruin the joy that is the novel. If you want high quality world building, complex characterization and complex power dynamics, read THE FIFTH SEASON.
Anonymous 16 days ago
WitchyWriter 10 months ago
N. K. Jemisin is a brilliant writer, and I can’t get enough of her novels. Still, I feel like I should offer a trigger warning every time I suggest this book to someone. I’ve flat-out told my husband not to read it—and that makes me really sad, because it means he’s missing out on some truly beautiful storytelling and worldbuilding. Essentially, if you really love children, and can’t stand seeing or hearing about violence done to them…you should probably think twice before reading this. I keep questioning whether I should even warn people about that. It’s the negative side of such brilliant storytelling—it’s too real. It makes me feel all kinds of uncomfortable, horrible, necessary emotions. But you guys, it makes me feel. The sheer depth of emotions that this book will incite in you is awe-inspiring. I really enjoy the central characters. I really enjoy the narration style. REALLY enjoy. Gods, Jemisin’s writing is just so fresh. She brings a new voice to fantasy that we have needed for a VERY long time. Her worlds are fascinating, and realistic in really terrible, wonderful ways. This is what true storytelling is about. I’ve never seen prose so beautiful and enthralling that also manages to make me so very uncomfortable. She nails it. If you want to start with some lighter fair, I suggest The Dreamblood Duology. But whatever you do, you have to read some Jemisin. She’s too good a writer to miss out on.
Jubo 11 months ago
This is a fantastic three-book series that any fantasy lover should pick up. Not only does the author create a fantasy world, she creates a fantasy world with an entire ancient history, replete with societies, races, historic prejudices,...the works. Her characters are reluctant, flawed, jaded, sometimes good, and sometimes bad, but she never directs or tells the reader how to feel about them. She lays out the story and from the dialogue and events you are left to draw your own conclusions. It's polished and extremely intelligent. Is it literature? No. Dialogue is not the author's strong suit. It easily bogs down the story, especially in the second book. Much of the time it reads like a screenplay with stage directions. The language she uses is modern and doesn't really suit the world or the characters that she has created (I'd like to think that an advanced magical race on another world isn't chatting it up like a millennial at the local coffee house)). I realize that sometimes an author is "on a roll" and literally can't get the story out fast enough to meet their own imagination. But this author is obviously capable of more and it would've been nice if her dialogue had matched the rest of her prose because much of this book is told in beautifully crafted language. I highly recommend all three books in this series and I will definitely be reading more of her work.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was blown away by this novel!! So good :)
Cortingbooks More than 1 year ago
“That we’re not human is just the lie they tell themselves so they don’t have to feel bad about how they treat us.” Unique. Sad. Beautiful. Disturbing. The Fifth Season tells the story of how the world ends for the last time and it was all kinds of weird goodness. I love the way this story was told. There are layers to this and Jemisin slowly pulls them back to reveal a magnificent tale with charming characters and mind blowing scenarios. Damaya is just a girl trying to find her place in the world, Alabaster is tired of the status quo, and Tonkee is so curiously innocent and yet cunning at the same time. Each chapter is told from a different perspective and ends with a punch to the gut. The world building is flawless. It drew me in and I was able to clearly imagine all the different cities and how everyone’s abilities worked. Jemisin brought it all together beautifully. Like nothing I’ve read before. The Hugo committee was not wrong. Believe the hype. Read this book. Now I’m impatiently waiting for the next two books to arrive on my doorstep.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FreeReadAndWrite More than 1 year ago
The Fifth Season is bold in every sense of the word, and yet it is also so simply just writing observation and truth. As Jemisin has said, “[T]here’s nothing that happens in [The Fifth Season] that hasn’t happened in our own world, in some way or another.” I didn’t really know I liked fantasy books before I read this one. Fantasy, to me, had always read as European white boy wish fulfillment. Or, at best, something like The Dresden Files, an entertaining little urban fantasy romp that is still steeped in misogyny. Then one day on goodreads every reader whose opinions generally align with my own was reading this book, and I asked my favorite book friend what she thought. She said I should set everything else I was reading aside and dig in ASAP, and so I did. In doing so, not only did I read an incredible story, but I also opened myself up to a world of reading wherein fantasy is, at it turns out, actually my favorite genre. I just needed to read the right kind. I read a blog post of Jemisin’s in which she noted how much SFF is out there in this non-formulaic vein, and questioned why it is that people feel blocked in finding it until they come across an author like her. I can only speak for myself, but I had reached a point in fantasy where my immediate reaction was, “In my experience, what I’ve read in this genre hasn’t really been enjoyable.” It was like a punch to the face to realize I’d just been too daft to seek out what I was missing from fantasy books – would have been as simple as conducting a basic google search. The Fifth Season tells the story of three women at different stages of life: Damaya, Syen, and Essun. We follow each of them as they navigate this world called The Stillness that Jemisin has crafted in such detail. Within this world, Seasons (natural disasters of apocalyptic power) occur with some regularity and can be both brought on or quelled by those with magical powers. These individuals are called Orogenes (or the more intentionally-derogatory term roggas), and they are the very essence of “otherness.” At once powerful, and also oppressed by the nature of those who fear such power due to a lack of understanding or perhaps just an inability to wield it. Looking around at our world, I hope I don’t need to spell out for you why this metaphor rings as realistic and important. In a quote that could be plucked right out of fantasy or reality Jemisin wrote, “Not that she hadn’t known it before: that she is a slave, that all roggas are slaves, that the security and sense of self-worth the Fulcrum offers is wrapped in the chain of her right to live, and even the right to control her own body. It’s one thing to know this, to admit it to herself, but it’s the sort of truth that none of them use against each other – not even to make a point – because doing so is cruel and unnecessary… he refuses to allow her any of the polite fictions and unspoken truths that have kept her comfortable, and safe, for years.” We tend to debate the death of Black bodies at the hands of police as if it’s an argument, we tend to debate the criminal justice system or that portion of the 13th amendment that still acts as a form of slavery – through a different world, a different but similar Earth, Jemisin pulls our eyes wide open to the fact that such oppression is EXACTLY where we are, no matter what lies we’ve been told that may have led us to believe otherwise. You can find the entirety of this review at:
Go4Jugular More than 1 year ago
Highly imaginative and genuinely original series that, if one must assign a category, probably falls closer to fantasy than science fiction. I'm reviewing all three books in the series with this one review, in part because (duh) it's a series and if you're going to read one book you should commit to all three, and also because, more than most trilogies, there's little separation from one novel to the next; these could easily have been published as one book as there isn't much sense of a climax, or a pause in the narrative, at the ends of the first two books. The plot follows a few (but ultimately focuses on two) of the subset of humans that can control geological forces - the flow of magma, the movement of continental faults, the raising and lowering of mountainous amounts of rock. While forces of incomprehensible power are on display, there's also a very human and intimate element to the central plot of a woman who has loved, lost all, recovered, and is again threatened with loss of everything of value to her. My only criticism, as a self-confessed literalist, is that some of the storytelling can be a bit ephemeral, but if you don't mind the occasional vagueness of the prose (this is not a criticism of the writer's ability, just a personal preference) then this series has nothing to detract from the enjoyment it otherwise consistently delivers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book.
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Broken Earth series. N.K. Jemisin won the 2016 Hugo Award for this novel and so I was keen to read it and see if it was as good as the press indicated it was. I was definitely not disappointed. Wow! What an epic start to a series. This is a story that echoes so much of what we are currently facing with climate change on our own beautiful planet. But Jemison cleverly builds her own planet filled with people of different castes and different abilities. Her three main characters (all women orogenes with terrible powers) are unique and compelling. The best part of this book was the care and depth that went into the planning of it. Jemisin has literally built an entire world and the societies that populate it. But within that world are individuals whose stories are important and real. This is the kind of series that has you reaching for the second book almost before you've finish the first. Fantasy lovers everywhere, I highly recommend this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fabulous book. The writing was excellent, the world building superb, great story and best of all several twists that didn’t see coming. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the worst books I have read in quite a long time. I do not understand what other people see in this book or this author. To me, this book was confusing and very difficult to follow.
LittleFoxAndReads More than 1 year ago
“When we say “the world has ended,” it’s usually a lie, because the planet is just fine. But this is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. For the last time.” This book has earned a spot amongst my most favorite books and N.K. Jemisin has quickly become one of my favorite authors. The world-building is no doubt the best aspect of The Fifth season. I’ve never seen such depth to a setting. The premise itself is amazing and the execution is fabulous enough that the world-building is taken to a whole other level. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic earth that is constantly plagued by “seasons” or disasters of varying lengths of time that basically leave the earth near extinction and bring about tremendous changes in the setup of the world. Usually, new civilizations arise after the worst of seasons and the civilization that this books takes place in is The Sanze Empire, which has survived as long as it had because of “orogenes”. Orogenes are people with the ability to control the earth’s energy. Think earth-benders with the ability to also control water and temperature, but with focus and concentration, not fighting forms. Also with a more-fleshed out explanation of the mechanics of it. Despite their role in keeping the earth from extinction, they are very much despised and feared by the people because most have the tendency to unintentionally cause destruction when angered. This is where “Guardians” come in. Guardians are warriors and kind of mentors to the orogenes; they track down orogenes and recruit them to a school-like facility called Fulcrum. There, orogenes are taught to have more control over their abilities. The story unfolds masterfully. It’s told from the point-of-view of three women: ►Essun is an orogene in hiding with two children who’ve inherited her abilities. She successfully hides their orogeney until her husband discovers the ability of her youngest, beats him to death and takes her other child. Essun then sets off on a journey to track them down and save her daughter. ►Damaya is a young orogene who has been discovered and shunned by her own family, who then turned her in to a guardian to be recruited to Fulcrum. ►Syenite is an orogene who has already gone through her Fulcrum training and is now under their service. She is instructed to go on a mission with a higher-level orogene and together they slowly uncover the horrifying truth of the oppression and injustice that orogenes face. The main characters are all black and I think most of the side characters are as well. There is a ton of diversity in this book, not only when it comes to race but as to sexual orientation, gender-identification and type of relationship (there was a polyamorous relationship towards the middle that messed with my heartstrings) as well. It was a breath fresh air. One of the best things about this book is just how much it draws on real-life social issues, especially when it comes to race. The way orogenes are treated, the stereotypes they are subjected to and even the racial slurs (“rogga”) they are pelted with…it’s an awful parallel to what real-world groups of people have faced and still face today. “For all those that have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question.” This is only the surface of the story; there is so much more to it and I can’t possibly condense it for you. I was so immersed while reading this, wanting to know more about the seasons,
Madeleine_Grace More than 1 year ago
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin is an intricate science fiction story which is the first story in the Broken Earth series. In the book, the author uses three main characters to guide the reader through an Earth that is similar yet so alien to one we know. Each of the main characters is in a different stage of life and is facing a set of challenges that are unique. The story begins with the main character Essun on the floor next to the body of her dead son. Though nothing is known about the world she is living in or the circumstances of the boy’s death, they find themselves sympathizing with her and her loss. The character Damaya is introduced after being locked in a barn by her mother because she is an orogene, a person with the ability to draw power from Father Earth. Through her story, Damaya will have to adapt to a new way of life, and learn to accept what she is and how it will change her life. The last character Syenite is a young woman with lots of ambition. She is struggling to be respected and seize every opportunity to achieve a higher status. The way the author chose to present the characters enhances the readers’ experience because they get the perspective of each character in a different stage of of their life facing relatable obstacles. Different types of narration are used throughout the book. Damaya’s and Syenite’s chapters are narrated in third person limited which allows the reader to receive information about the characters and their surroundings. Essun’s story is narrated in second person point of view. This is unusual, but it enhances the story because it gives a hint as to when each story is taking place. The second person narration also helps the reader empathize with the character because the author stresses that the reader is Essun, and the reader is experiencing everything that Essun is experiencing. There are also a few points in the novel in which a third person omniscient narrator is used, allowing the reader to receive outside information about the world. This narrator also appears in two interludes in the middle of the novel. They are strategically placed to prepare the reader for major moments to focus on the progression of that idea. They are used to direct the reader to details they should focus on, and to make the reader question certain ideas in the book. The progression of each character’s story and the narration lead the reader to the realization that the characters are connected and why it is significant. In order to keep the reader engaged, the author built an interesting, and relatable world. She does this by basing the world on Earth. However, it becomes clear that Father Earth is nothing like the nurturing Mother Earth. There are aspects of Earth’s geography that are similar, though it is clear that the conflict with this planet has halted the progression of society. Jemisin was extremely successful in building an intriguing story in which details between the characters, setting, and conflict achieve an engaging reading experience. Though I did enjoy this book, it does belong to the science fiction genre which not all people enjoy. It is also almost five hundred pages, which is not a quick read. The story is also a bit heavy. It deals with many topics that are present in the modern world such as family, loss, discrimination, sexuality, gender roles, and violence. However, the book is well written, so I would recommend it to everyone whether they generally enjoy science fiction or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like I am forever amazed at the world writers create in their heads. This world is one I would never want to live....but reading about it was great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season. Brilliant and breathtaking. One of the best books I've read this year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
constructivedisorder More than 1 year ago
If you need to escape your reality for a few days, this book will do it. An excellent read.