N.K. Jemisin begins her series at the end of an age, with the breaking of the Earth. In this world, Seasons are apocalyptic events that communities or “comms” have survived through and rebuilt after. This world has survived acid rains, poison waters, and other such seasons, but this fifth season may be the season to end all others.
The people are divided into several different types as well. We are introduced to stills (normal humans), orogenes (earthbenders, basically), Guardians (help control orogenes), stone eaters (people with diamond teeth who can travel through the earth) and yet unknown beings who are imprisoned within obelisks that float in the sky.
I liked this story enough to finish the book, but I didn’t like it enough to pick up the next book in the series. I didn’t appreciate the bamboozlement of all three stories I was following being the same person in the end. That felt unnecessary and I kind of figured it out as I went. Also just because a book is the first book in the series doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have a resolution of some kind, an end to its own story arc as the overarching story continues on with some unanswered questions. It feels like this book ended 3 chapters too early, and I actually exclaimed “oh, I guess I’m done!” when I turned the last page and found the glossary.
This book was very good until it wasn’t. It is the kind of book that I will say that it was good enough that you might like it a lot more than I did. The writing is good, the story is ok, and so if you like fantasy and apocalyptic type settings you may want to give this one a try.
I do plan on trying out some of her other writing to see if something different catches my fancy. It was good enough to not give up on the author entirely.