When we say “the world has ended,” it’s usually a lie, because the planet is just fine. But this is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. For the last time.
I had known about N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms for quite some time except I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. I don’t know why I decided to read her newest book, The Fifth Season, though I’m glad I did. I’m not a fan of tragedies, and this book is a great big mass of tragedy, so much so that I wonder if there will ever be a happily ever after, but oh well, it’s still interesting. The book simultaneously traverses across three timelines. In the beginning you think that these three are different people, but later realise that they are, all three of them, the same person at different ages.
I won’t say that I really like her characters (sometimes I do), they’re sort of hard to connect with. They’re also somewhat distant though I do sympathise with them. They have, from the beginning of their lives, been brutalized emotionally, manipulated and controlled. The Orogenes, people who can control how the plates of the earth shift, creating or stopping earthquakes, are despised and feared. The main character, who we first know only as Essun is an Orogene. She comes home to find her son beaten to death by her husband and her daughter missing along with the husband. This is her journey.
The novel is not exactly beautiful, more like brutal and painful, like their world itself but I will also say that never once, was it ever boring.
Review by Neha Agarwal
Nora K Jemisin is an author of speculative fiction short stories and novels who lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to writing, she is a counselling psychologist (currently specializing in career counselling), a som [...]
Rob from Australia
A very interesting world building, marred by one dimensional characters that it is hard to feel any sympathy for. The main women - actually, it seems, just one woman at different stages of her life - do anger well, but that's about all. They are also dumb, never questioning what's going on. While it is politically progressive, that is not enough. The cruelty and abuse are unremitting.
7.3/10 from 2 reviews
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