With an intricately constructed narrative, ‘The Broken Earth’ trilogy has the makings to become one of my most favorite fantasy series ever.
The Fifth Season, the first book in the multi-award-winning fantasy trilogy, has an intricate and imaginative magic system with the potential to rival even that of Brandon Sanderson. Like Sanderson’s Mistborn, The Fifth Season takes place in a bleak, ash-covered dystopian world rather ironically called the Stillness, considering the land is constantly rocked by earthquakes. Drawing loose parallels to another of Sanderson’s work, The Stormlight Archive, the people are forced to endure what they call a ‘Fifth Season’ of catastrophic climate change once every few centuries.
I always appreciate a book when it ‘shows and not tells’. The Fifth Season is no different. The author N. K. Jemisin never once shoves information down our throats and lets us piece together her immersive world by ourselves. With the book unfolding in ways you never see coming, it makes for an extremely gratifying experience. The completely unique nonlinear narrative style might seem bewildering at first, but it’s unbelievably rewarding when it all starts making sense.
Coming back to the magic system, there are different practitioners of magic. There are the orogenes, who have the power to sense and manipulate thermal and kinetic energy. While they can quiet earthquakes and quench volcanoes, their power is also so volatile that they could also easily cause earthquakes themselves in a fit of rage. While these orogenes are necessary, they are also looked upon with fear, distrust, and hostility. The orogenes, derogatively called rogas, are recruited at a young age by the Fulcrum, where they undergo a brutal training to harness their power and to offer their services for the Empire.
There are also the ruthless scientifically-geneered Guardians, who keep the orogenes in check, and Stone Eaters, a race with mysterious powers that subsist on stones. Adding to the intrigue are the mysterious floating obelisks, whose origins and powers still remain unclear. With the second book chillingly titled The Obelisk Gate, will it answer the many intriguing questions raised by The Fifth Season? I simply cannot wait to get started!
‘Groundbreaking’ in many ways, The Fifth Season’s intricately constructed narrative will keep you enthralled and leave you wanting for more.