N.K Jemisin has been on my radar for a while. I know someone who read 100 Thousands Kingdoms trilogy and really enjoyed it. I have also been hearing a lot about The Fifth Season Trilogy. I decided to start with The Fifth Season since N.K. Jemisin has won the Hugo award for the books. I admit I was a tad bit nervous about this trilogy because it won an award and there have been numerous times in the past where I have read a book where an award was given and I hated it given that fact I went into the novel quite cautiously and I can say that I absolutely loved the novel and I can’t wait to finish the trilogy.
The story is told from three different POV’s and those POV’s are Damaya, Syenite and Essun and they live in a world where ‘natural’ disasters can occur and they all happen to be Rogga who are people that can control the natural disasters in a sense. In their world, Rogga, are not liked and face quite a bit of discrimination. The novel starts out with Essun coming home and finding out that her husband killed her three year old son. She assumes that the reason he killed the boy is because the boy is a Rogga like his mother. Essun ends up going on a journey to locate her husband as well as the daughter that her husband took with him when he left town. The story takes off from there and shifts between all three characters.
Within the first chapter I could tell that the story was going to be really compelling and I was even more excited for the series. I can say that the story was told in a weird way and it did take time to get used to the writing. Essun’s perspective is told from second person which was a tad bit off-putting and hard to adjust too. It was probably hard to adjust to because there aren’t a lot of novels that are told in second person. Essun’s POV was the only POV told in second person so when it switched to Syenite or Damaya it was hard to readjust. However, after reading the book for a bit I was able to adjust and I enjoyed it. I do wish that some of the reviews for this novel had mentioned that part of the book was told in second person because it was weird to go into and not really expect that.
Despite the writing I did enjoy the novel and I also enjoyed how all three characters perspectives ended up coming together for the end. I think that the author did a good job of writing these characters and I felt connected and invested in each of their stories. I did have an issue with the way in which the author didn’t really do much world building. I mean, there was world building to an extent, but it felt like the author kind of just threw the reader into this new world and expected the reader to understand the terms, the way the rogga’s ‘magic’ worked and the way that the societies in this world worked. That left me confused for a bit but once I read a decent amount of the novel I was able to adjust and learn more about the world. Also, there was a glossary in the back of my novel so I was able to look up some words that I did not understand.
While the lack of world building and the second person POV was a tad bit off-putting I can admit that I am glad that I got through the novel.
I loved how diverse this novel was. The three main characters were female and while I know there are some fantasy novels turned from female perspectives it doesn’t seem to be as common. I also appreciated that the author included LGBT characters but their sexuality/gender was not a huge focus. Their sexuality/gender was made known but it wasn’t a plot point or plot twist. I appreciated that because a lot of authors struggle with not making the characters sexuality a plot twist/plot point. I also appreciated how the persons gender/sexuality was pretty much seen as normal. It might or might not have been accepted in that particular world but the characters who interacted with the LGBT characters accepted it like they would accept someone who was straight.
I don’t know that I have ever read a fantasy novel that was so diverse. I am sure there are probably more out there but this was a really nice novel to come across and I hope to finish off the trilogy in September!
I gave this book four out of five stars. It would have been five star if I hadn’t been thrown into the novel not expecting the second person POV and if the author had spent a little more time world building and letting me know about the world and how it all worked.