๐Ÿ“– Book: The Fifth Season - dark sci-fi that hurts

Heya! I have a book recommendation for you guys today!

I found this one via NLB Libby :)

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Genre: Dark sci-fi (themes explored: death, violence, cruelty, discrimination, slavery, abuse)

What's it about:

In a post-apocalyptic world, humans live in 'comms' and struggle to survive in world that experiences catastrophic climate cha
nge. Humans with special abilities allowing them to manipulate energy and matter are called Orogenes. They are feared, vehemently hated, mercilessly killed. Many of them therefore keep their abilities under wraps. Young orogene children who do not know better or  somehow reveal themselves (usually under duress) are immediately killed, or recruited into the Fulcrum, where they are trained to become weapons. Which is a better fate?


A rocky start

The story is told by different perspectives and may be a little confusing at first. And to be honest, the first few chapters were slow to appeal. I thought to myself, "Is this a book that belongs to my Did-Not-Finish shelf?" Furthermore, I found the book extremely dark. The images were frightening, and the violence and cruelty felt so unnecessary! I was really uncertain about this book and wanted to abandon it especially after I saw some book vlogger exclaiming that 'After the first 100 pages, I just could not bring myself to care. Life is short. I'll read something else. ' (This is about a different book he read.)

Nevertheless I managed to power through. The pay off came only towards the end of the book, but wow, what a rewarding tie up! The writer really caught me off guard. And look where we are! I'm actually reading the second book in the series now. 

A refreshing premise

The manipulation of energy / rock is also a fascinating premise. Many authors focus on popular elements like fire and water, so the immersive geo-based world was such a treat. Geology is actually everywhere but mostly ignored by the layman D: I once read a non-fiction piece where someone spent a day with a serious geologist. They traipsed about in New York and the expert pointed out many rocks and structures that had a lot of history.  I can't remember the exact rock they discussed, but I did a quick Wiki search and found this:

Rat Rock, also known as Umpire Rock, is an outcrop of Manhattan schist which protrudes from the bedrock in Central Park, Manhattan, New York City. The rock has striations caused by glaciation.

Imagine that! Rocks being frozen in glaciers - and now in Central park! Haha. 

Three body who?

I feel like I tend to compare almost every sci-fi book I read nowadays to the Three Body Problem. Perhaps it has left the greatest impression on me! 

Anyway, this is definitely NOT like the Three Body Problem at all. It is much more savage and dark. There are still 'science-y' parts but the world is decidedly less urban. This is a world where people travel by horses or on foot, have apprentices, hunt and farm. 

Some things are better left unsaid

The author loves the kind of writing that is a little open ended. The reader has to deduce and do a little thinking. There were so many times the word 'oh' was used. I suppose it's because she has so much to discover and realise. 

The node maintainer is seated in it, anyway, so it must be -
"Oh. Oh."
Oh, bloody, burning Earth. (Pg 207)

The reader definitely needs to step up and fill in the gaps. Sometimes this is an annoying technique, but when the writer employs it to imply something sinister, the horror is further amplified. I saw more of this in Book 2 (The Obelisk Gate)

Overall I can't say I enjoy the series in the sense that I find it pleasurable - it is hard to, what with all the extreme cruelty.  (Side note: How did I finish Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life? Maybe that was more tragic? T_T The things in this book just repulse or shock me. )

However, I do enjoy the story-telling. Themes like discrimination are not easy to tackle and are not here for us to 'enjoy' in a hedonistic fashion, but we can still listen, reflect and learn. 

Definitely worth a read!

BTW, this book won the Hugo Award for the Best Novel in 2016. Rightly deserved! Hope you like this recommendation! 


P.S. I have new blockquote styles! I'm so happy! Guess those coding lessons kind of paid off. HAHA

This blog is updated every 








Receive updates by email here