The Fifth Season was a hell of a ride. Too bad that every copy of its sequel, The Obelisk Gate, at the public library has enough holds on it to keep it from me until the end of time. Thankfully, I’ve got a couple dozen unread books on my shelves. I guess those will have to tide me over until The Stone Sky, the final installment, releases later this year and I inevitably buy all three.
The true magic of the novel wasn’t orogeny but N. K. Jemisin’s writing and voice. I was wary when I opened the book to find it written in second-person. I’ve only read several books that employ it and I’m always amazed by it. The amount of skill it requires and its effect is staggering. Done properly, second person, by calling ‘you’ the reader out, draws you more into the work than any other trick of the trade.
Not only does Jemisin pull off second person but she also flips between second and third person with every chapter break. Most authors can do this and do it just as well. What I found most impressive was her ability to throw in omniscient interjections that doesn’t come across as contrived but helps form a cohesive narrative across four-hundred plus pages.
Even with clever use of perspective-shifts in most circumstances I should have disliked this book simply because she didn’t tie-off all the three narrative lines by the end of the book. Now, open-ended endings are fine and I certainly don’t think every question has to or should be answered but there has to be some conclusion. As it stands The Fifth Season just… ends. Or rather, it ends with another question. I understand it’s a trilogy and the final volume will be out shortly but now all I can do is wonder, every day, what comes next. I’d rather wait for all of the books to be released in one glorious.
Okay, don’t let my little rant get to you. I truly did enjoy this novel. I just want to know EVERYTHING. Give me all the answers N. K. Jemisin. Somebody else that I know please read this so we can talk about it.
Rating: 4 out 5 stone-eaters
In Progress: Pastoralia by George Saunders, American Gods by Neil Gaiman
On Deck: The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy