Driver Wang is sitting in his taxi when the first letter arrives and he is unsure if this is a prank or the truth. When more letters arrive, describing his past lives and how he is bound to the author of the letters, Wang’s life begins to unwind. Seamlessly jumping from Wang’s present and past, to his past lives, Susan Barker has written a wonderfully unique story that is steeped in Chinese history and folklore. I will be highly recommending to any readers that enjoy a rare story that sweeps them in and doesn’t let go.
The Fifth Season is a further testament to Jemisin’s ability to craft compellingly readable feats of world- and character-building. The novel is focused around three intertwining narratives and laced with cynicism, tears, and existential terror. The post-apocalyptic angle works well with the setting and the “magic system” (it doesn’t seem like quite the right term for the setting, hence the quotes) is a geology nerd’s dream. There are raw parallels to race relations, and a few horrifyingly uncomfortable and nausea-inducing scenes that are still with me months later. Jemisin remains, as always, a master of emotional immersion.
For all the magnificent and interesting world-building, at its heart, The Fifth Season is a tense, nerve-wracking, character-driven novel.
As usual, I can’t wait to see where Jemisin takes the next book in the series.
(AND, if you haven’t checked out our new sci-fi fantasy book club, our first book is Jemisin’s The Killing Moon!)
Grace, Jory and Frances have been raised in a devout Christian household. No dancing, no TV, no music; just church. When Grace abruptly comes back from a mission in Mexico pregnant, she swears it’s God’s child. Disappointed and worried what the church will think of their family, Oren (their father) takes Grace and Jory to a secluded house outside of their town. Being abandoned by the people that are suppose to care for them the most triggers a series of actions from both the girls. Val Brelinski has written an outstanding novel that explores how relationships shapes us and just what family means during good times or bad. Will highly recommend!
Very pleasantly surprised, considering what a letdown Alison Weir’s historical fiction was for me. Maybe the more wildly different from your non-fiction the better? (Though, now I’m totally up for Herman tackling Vatican politics and adding a dash of the dark arts.)
I’m a huge fan of the 4th-century BC setting, which hasn’t received ANY love in YA, as far as I know. The addition of magic didn’t detract from the historical aspects. I loved the allusions to Greek and Zoroastrian mythology and, of course, the stunning amount of historical detail (I could read descriptions of amphorae and Thracian helmets for days).
All six POV characters were engaging, and I was especially thrilled to see Cynane finally given another part in historical fiction (sadly nothing since Renault’s “Funeral Games”). A real-life warrior princess, come on, there are tons of narrative opportunities there!
Historical fiction fans and fantasy fans will both love this. Plenty of blood magic rituals, assassinations attempts, and kidnappings to make everyone happy.
(short but sweet review, and recommended by Susie
This was so fantastic. It is laugh out loud good. I would even go back to high school if it would be this funny. Grab this book.