So insanely readable that I devoured it in a day, The Fifth Season is the fantastic opener to a really interesting trilogy that’s a dystopian mix of sci fi and fantasy – I am ridiculously excited to get my hands on the next part.
In a world where the apocalypse has already happened – quite a few times, actually – and is littered the ruins of the dead civilisations that came before them, those that remain know that each geological incident could preface the next extinction event.
There are those – orogenes – who can manipulate some of the power unleashed by these events, and while many of these are engaged in trying to keep the world stable, they’re still hated and feared by most of the world’s denizens.
Essun is one such orogene who until now seems to have managed to hide her powers amidst the small community in which she lives, but as the book opens this fear and hatred has resulted in the death of her young child at the hands of his father.
In another strand we meet Damaya, a child whose family have become aware she is also an orogene and given her to a Guardian – strange beings who not only take said children for training in their powers but also seem to have the power to stop their abilities in their tracks and therefore keep the orogenes in the place this world has assigned them.
In a third strand we meet Syenite, a young woman and orogene who has been paired with Alabaster – an orogene of incredible power – as part of a breeding programme. But Alabaster makes Syenite start to question her training, and the way these strands come together is incredibly satisfying.
I don’t really want to say much more about the plot for fear of spoiling the reading for others, but what I will say is that I was pulled bodily into this story and really didn’t want to do anything else until I’d finished the book. It feels very different, and far less influenced by Western history than a lot of the fantasy books I’ve read, and is all the more interesting for it.