The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
The Fifth Season is the first in The Broken Earth trilogy.
“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 familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.”
This work of fantasy begins with the narrative in the second person, which is a bit disconcerting at first because it is an unusual way to tell a story. The first 100 pages of the book have a lot of world building in them and it can be somewhat heavy and plodding but if you can work your way through this it is well worth the effort. Once I knew who was who and what the setting was it was difficult for me to put the book down. In fact, I read all three books of the trilogy in less than 3 weeks, which for me, is quite a feat.
The protagonist, a girl called Damaya, has been “given” to a guardian because she exhibits characteristics of earth bending which according to the rules of the Stillness, must be harnessed and controlled by those in charge. The narrative flips back and forth from Damaya’s view, told in the third person, and narrative told in the second person, which is actually Damaya as an adult.
The series is action packed and fast moving. It explores the issues of mind control, alienation and subjugation of fringe groups, trust and betrayal, love and loss. The characters are deep and it is easy to identify with each one. All show tremendous growth throughout the series and it is difficult not to be invested in their lives.
For all you fantasy readers this trilogy is a must.
Review by Christine