The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this "intricate and extraordinary" Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)
This is the way the world ends...for the last time.
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.

Read the first book in the critically acclaimed, three-time Hugo award-winning trilogy by NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out:

The Inheritance Trilogy
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Broken Kingdoms
The Kingdom of Gods

The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition)
Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction)
The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella)

Dreamblood Duology
The Killing Moon
The Shadowed Sun

The Broken Earth The Fifth Season The Obelisk Gate
Publisher: New York, NY :, Orbit,, 2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316229296
Branch Call Number: FIC Jemis
Characteristics: 498 pages : map.


From Library Staff

List - Summer SciFi
KateHillier Jul 16, 2017

The first volume in a trilogy, book three set to be out this summer, about the end of the world and this is not the end of the world in they way you've seen it. Great for geology buffs and anyone who loves a wonderful and terrifying new world to explore as it ends.

KateHillier Mar 03, 2016

There has been a ton of hype about this book and all of it is justified. I was definitely stalling, putting the book down when I didn't want to, because I knew the end was coming and we don't have a sequel immediately accessible! Argh! So good it's illegal. The writing, the world building (seriou... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 24, 2020

first book in the Broken Earth Trilogy

Dec 30, 2019

first book of the Broken Earth trilogy

Dec 27, 2019

Rec by Emily Cook Dec 2019

Dec 24, 2019

Odd and unappealing writing style.

PimaLib_ChristineR Dec 09, 2019

I don't know that I can add anything to the praise being heaped on The Fifth Season, but I'm sure going to try.

We are told the stories of three women. Essun has found her young son murdered by her husband. In her story, Essun is "you", the unknown narrator feeding Essun's horrible memories back to her. The story of Syenite, an "orogene" (a person with the ability to transfer energy from the earth's deeper layers, creating geological and temperature changes) is told in the third person. Syenite seems to have had a safe, if directed, upbringing as she learns to use her skills in the Fulcrum. And finally Damaya, a young girl whose family has discovered she is an orogene. Unlike the privileged life of Syenite, Damaya's family is terrified of her and her ability, and it is clear that an orogene not living in the Fulcrum is considered nearly too dangerous to live. Like Syenite her story is told in the third person.

And that's just a bit on each of the main characters. There are so many complete characters, so much world building, such intricate plotting, that to try to describe it all would be to write a review as long as the novel itself. This is one of the few novels that I would say falls firmly in the "speculative fiction" category. Jemisin herself calls it fantasy in the Acknowledgements. I could see much of it fitting into a dystopian sci-fi future. But above all that it is simply excellent writing that defies more specific pigeonholing than "speculative."

As a long-time sci-fi lover, I may be biased, but this novel has a reach far beyond sci-fi readers. Like all great works of literature it rises beyond its genre to tell us something about the human condition in all its weakness, and small-mindedness, but also in its strength, adaptability and capacity for love. I would highly recommend this read for anyone who loves a good story.

RyanR_KCMO Nov 08, 2019

This book was staggering. It was my first time reading Jemisin and I wasn't ready. I don't know if you could ever be ready. This book is the first installment of The Broken Earth trilogy. It won the Hugo Award for best sci-fi novel in 2016 making Jemisin the first African American woman to receive the award. She then proceeded to win the same Hugo award in 2017, and 2018 as she continued the trilogy.

Staggering worldbuilding. Heartwrenching plot. Epic, sweeping story that a review just cannot do justice.

This is what the best sci-fi looks like.

Oct 23, 2019

I just finished this book and my mind is BLOWN. Jemison fits SO MUCH into her writing-- I loved being swept up into this fantastic world she's created that has so many nods/references to our current world whether it be issues of oppression, power structures, ownership of our bodies, climate catastrophe...SO MUCH. I learned about NK Jemison from an episode of LeVar Burton reads. I picked up her collection of short stories How Long Til Black Future Month, and was really taken with her creativity and writing style. Those short stories were just a small taste of her greatness as a novelist. Highly recommend The Fifth Season, and I will be picking up the next books in this series ASAP.

Oct 12, 2019

Such a unique fantasy world, simple but very compelling. I enjoyed the 3 different perspectives and thought the characters were well thought out. The remaining mysteries are powerful and are pulling me along to the next book in the series!

Sep 20, 2019

N.K Jemisin is a fantastic writer. She's compelling, imaginative, and her characters are truly new to me. And I cannot read anything she writes. Her ability to evoke brutality and abuse just undoes me. It's not like she's brutal for the sake of being brutal, she has important stories to tell and I admire her. But, I've tried two of her books, and disassociated most of the way through both. If you're tougher than me you might love her dark, brutally honest and creative writing. For those of us who must be mindful of protecting tender hearts, take care!

IndyPL_SteveB Aug 17, 2019

Immensely creative and readable fantasy, the first in one of the greatest series of all time.

There is a world which might be the Earth of millions of years in the future (or just an alternate Earth). All of the continents have drifted back together. Civilization has been hanging on by its teeth for thousands of years. Every few hundred years, some climactic disaster occurs, creating chaos for years and wiping out large chunks of human culture. Some humans have developed the ability to use the energy in the earth, water, and wind to stabilize the land, to hold back volcanoes and earthquakes. These people are called “orogenes” and they are seen as heroes by some and terrifying by others. At the beginning of the book, we discover that an especially powerful orogene has, in revenge for something, torn a rift clear across the continent, from sea to sea, splitting the land in two, killing hundreds of thousands of people.

The story then breaks off into the story of three female orogenes, in three different time lines. Each story is compelling on its own; but the book becomes spellbinding as we begin to see how the three stories will connect together.

Jemisin’s world is detailed in its multiple cultures, connected by trade and by some shared ancient history, but separated by just as many differences in race, language, and daily life. There is another race of beings, made of stone, living in the Earth, and generally hateful toward humans and the way they have treated the planet. Spellbinding writing.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Jan 18, 2020

imaginativegirl97 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

haushallmartinez Apr 11, 2019

haushallmartinez thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Dec 16, 2018

Natashastales thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Aug 06, 2018

potterbond007 thinks this title is suitable for 21 years and over

Jun 09, 2016

DragonRhapsody thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


Add Notices
haushallmartinez Apr 11, 2019

Violence: LOTS of child abuse.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top