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.
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.