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The Fifth Season
de N. K. Jemisin
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No hi ha cap discussió a Converses sobre aquesta obra.
This is everything I could ask for in a science fantasy novel. The premise of a planet where seismic activity is strong enough to be a civilisation-level threat is interesting, but the key part of the world-building is the way people react to this threat, on both an individual and a societal level. A caste of people (orogenes) who can influence earthquakes, a group that controls and weaponises them, a general public that relies on the orogenes but for whom they are a hated other; all of these are believable reactions. A society where progress is snatched away with no warning would not have our techno-optimism, nor our trust-based globalised trade relations; a local, conservative, resilient culture is much more appropriate.
The way that individuals act and interact within these structures is the difference between an interesting thought experiment and a novel with emotional weight, and this is where Jemisin shines. It's one thing to understand that 'rogga' is a slur, or that being useful can be satisfying even if you know you're being exploited, or that living within a hierarchy for long enough can lead you to internalise it, or that a group of pirates would need a charismatic leader, but seen through the eyes of her characters, rather than 'understanding' these things, you feel and know them.
This book is daring to say the least. Jemison makes a number of challenging authorial decisions (like second person and present tense, for example, all decisions made for a Reason) and follows through on them in a fine display of her craft.
It's a complex, demanding book, and requires some trust in the author as she drips the story out. The patience is worth it.
There's some super heavy stuff going on in this book, and Jemison is good at drawing the slow-dawning horrific realization out of the way her world looks at the orogenes. Overall a very carefully and thoughtfully told story.
Maybe if I'd read it by itself I'd be more impressed and give it five stars. I am impressed, of course, and it's really, really good. But coming off a long rash of Le Guin in particular, I can't help but feel there's not much of an underlying philosophical depth to The Fifth Season, though I'd be happy for someone to convince me otherwise.
Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book. I got an eGalley of this book through NetGalley to review.
Thoughts: Previous to reading this book I had also read Jemisin's Inheritance series (which I liked), her Great Cities duology (which I loved), and I attempted to read her Dreamblood series but I really disliked the "The Killing Moon"...I just thought it was sooo boring. I liked but didn't love "The Fifth Season"; the way the story is woven together is intriguing and the world-building is fascinating.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was well done. At times it was hard to tell when we switched characters and it would take me a few seconds to figure out that we had. However, it was well narrated and I enjoyed listening to it.
The book switches between three main POVs. We start by listening from Essun's POV; she is searching for her daughter after her husband brutally murders her son and then takes off with her daughter. Then we switch to Damaya, a young girl who finds out she has earth-shaking powers and is taken from her family for training for training to become an orogene. The final POV is that of Syanite, a ringed orogene who has been sent on a mission with the only ten-tinged male orogene, her side mission is to have a baby with him.
The world here seems to be a future Earth torn by quakes and volcanic activity followed by long winters which destroy life all over the world. These seasons come and go but are always constant and the humans and orogenes are always fighting to survive the natural calamities. I loved the world-building and the way the story was unwound. The story ends up tying together in a fascinating way. You can't say a ton about the plot without some major spoilers.
This is a fairly deliberate story though, so you do need to stick with it. The first 50-100 pages are fairly confusing as you try to piece together what the heck is going on. Even as secrets are revealed some of it is a bit confusing to follow. There isn't much action here, this is more the careful unfolding of a very deliberate plot and the mysterious history of this world. There is some adventure and quite a bit of magic. Just be warned, like most of Jemisin's books, this takes some effort to read and you need to keep your brain turned on while you read it.
My Summary (4/5): Overall this was a strangely compelling read. I loved the complex characters, intricate world-building, and the way the story un-wove and unwound the mysteries of both these characters and the world. Like most of Jemisin's books, this was not an easy read for me. It took me a long time to get through and I feel like there are still some things I don't quite understand and am confused about. However, I found this very compelling and do plan to read the next book in the series...I am just going to need some time to digest this book before I do that.
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Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world's sole continent, a great red rift has been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes--those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon--are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back. She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.6Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
It was surprising to say the least ( )