I read The Fifth Season while still feeling sort of sad about running out of books by Robin Hobb. On the hunt for a rich, unique fantasy world filled with complex characters, I found N.K. Jemisin. And while the narrative style is extremely unique and it takes a pretty heavy investment of time before the bits and pieces start to align, in the end I felt this book was well worth every moment I spent with it. I also have to say it feels awfully refreshing to read a well-crafted epic fantasy tale in which straight white dudes don’t have much of a role.
This book has some pretty heavy-hitting moments. While not gratuitously violent in the way of the grimdark trend, very bad things happen in this book, sometimes to characters you’ve come to care about a lot. The stakes start high and get higher throughout the story. It’s also not at all predictable or formulaic, so there are no familiar tropes to help you take the impact in stride. So, in short, you’re gonna feel some things.
Read it if you’re interested in a complex narrative set in a well-crafted world with characters real enough to make you hate them.
Skip it if you are looking for something light and fluffy.