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’s not exactly beautiful, more like brutal and painful, like their world itself but I will also say that never once, was it ever boring.
Summary from goodreads:
THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.
A season of endings has begun.
It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.
It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.
It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.