The Fifth Season

The Broken Earth, Book 1
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Series: The Broken Earth, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16,748 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

A new fantasy trilogy by Hugo, Nebula & World Fantasy Award-nominated author N. K. Jemisin.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2015 N.K. Jemisin (P)2015 Hachette Audio

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Editor's Pick

This trilogy is the first ever to win the Hugo Award for every book.
"Let that sink in for a minute. N.K. Jemisin is the first person ever to win the Hugo Award for best novel three years in a row, and she did that with this series.There’s a reason why the sci-fi and fantasy world went gaga over this. It’s dark, and I had some serious doubts that I would psychologically be okay at the end while I was listening (it’s world-endingly grim), but man, is it epic. "
Melissa B., Audible Editor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Nay-Sayers are Wrong.

Okay, so, I ALMOST didn’t use my credit for the month on this book. Some of the negative reviews were scathing, and I try not to pick up books unless they come recommended by people or sources I trust.

This trilogy won THREE Hugo awards, (I’ve never met a Hugo winner I didn’t Love...) So I ignored the nay-sayers.

THANK GOD!

I haven’t enjoyed a book this much since the first time I read Dune.

The sequels will be the first time I spend money for books beyond the free credits.

Guys, this book is wonderful.

The characters are beautiful, tragic, and desperately human. The setting is refreshingly new. The plot is...

...you get the point.

I hope you decide to ignore the negative reviews and give it a chance. Savor it. Take it slow, and PAY ATTENTION. The author is masterful in her storytelling.

That’s the strongest review I can give, but I wish I could give more.

-Steve

83 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Bizarre and stunningly boring at the same time.

The entire book is populated by characters without humor or anything like perspective. There was absolutely nothing to care about. Like so many current writers this author discarded anything like humanity in favor of literary embellishments.

47 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Usually a Huge award is a great indicator

I have in fact, volunteered for four different WorldCons where the Hugo's are given. I tried so hard to like these books, but I just cannot. I understand the originality of how they're written and recognize that the author has a brilliant grasp on how to paint a picture with words, but I just don't like it.

To quote a song by one of my favorite bands: "Different isn't better, it's just different..."

Had I not purchased the first two books in this series together, I wouldn't have bought the second one. I certainly will not be buying the third. My thought after not really caring for the first was: Maybe the story will flush out in the second... Sadly no. Not for me.

18 people found this helpful

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Heavy on the World Building, Light on Plot

This is clearly a book written by someone with an amazing imagination. It pokes and prods with questions about the world we currently reside in by creating, with immense detail, a new world full of love and history. That alone is enough for some people. I might just be one of those crazy folks that hopes a novel also tells a story. I was game for about 5+ hours of world building, hoping that something resembling a story would begin next chapter. Nope. It's just a collection of details describing a world I initially was curious about, then was bored with, and finally labored to just finish.

142 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not good enough to be interested in the next book.

Interesting way to tell a story, but between the difficulties in rectifying the timeline, understanding the world, and having to struggle to become interested in the main characters, I am satisfied with letting the story rest where this book finishes.

35 people found this helpful

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ORIGINAL AND MOVING, EXCELLENT!

An intriguing concept and story. It wanders far and then comes back to tie up loose ends. Very well performed and beautifully -- poetically -- written. Robin Miles is one of those great narrators who becomes the book so that you don't notice her at all because she is the characters, she is the story. I will be very happy to recommend this one to everyone who likes speculative fiction and very interested to read the next episodes!

The description is a bit deceptive. It sound depressing, but it isn't, not at all. There is magic ... of a kind. Not traditional magic or traditional magicians. No elves, wizards, or other standard fantasy elements. This is the first book I've read in quite a while that has not been derivative of someone else's foundation story. A breath of fresh air after a long run of Tolkien wannabe tales.

It is set in a time outside of time. It could as easily be before now or anytime in the future. You will have to decide for yourself. The author doesn't tell you. Lots of hints, but nothing specific enough to use as evidence. I suspect more will be revealed in subsequent books.

It's also, in its own way, rather sexy. Non-traditionally sexy -- so if you are one of the "traditional family values" crowd, this is probably not for you.

450 people found this helpful

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Rusted Ruminations

Three threads tell the intertwined story of Orogeny, a form of magic in N.K. Jemisin's vision of Earth that allows control of seismic, volcanic, and other geologic events, and the social and political structures built around this critical skill in a world wracked by earthquakes, eruptions, and tsunamis.

One thread follows a girl with orogenic power as she is taken from her village to the big city to learn how to control her skill. Another follows a young woman at the height of her powers as she is sent on a mission. The third follows an aging orogene trying to track down her husband after he kills their son and kidnaps their daughter.

Jemisin builds her world through the process of developing character, slowly and patiently, in a manner strongly reminiscent of similar stories of environmental disaster by Hugh Howey (Wool, Sand) and Paolo Bacigalupi (Windup Girl, Ship Breaker), as well as John Scalzi's Human Division (minus the action sequences).

The writing is impeccable, the characters are well-developed, the metaphors are subtle, nuanced, thought provoking -- just take the word orogeny that Jemisin coined, which sounds exactly like erogeny, which suggests origins or aboriginals, which seems like it could be an etymological construct that means golden people, all relevant to the themes she tackles.

And yet... the pace is glacial, nothing much happens, and much of what does happen is the height of implausibility, not properly explained by Jemisin or her characters. The big reveal -- the primary reason to keep reading -- is telegraphed about halfway through. And the segue to the next entry in the series (yet to be written), though not quite as obvious, becomes easy to predict over the last few hours.

Hours... there's the rub. This would have been a knockout at 8-9 hours. At nearly double that length, it drags on and on for long stretches. Edit, edit, edit! That's what they tell my kids at school. That's what my editor tells me. That's my advice to Jemisin. Concise and precise, those are the primary Elements of Style. But what do I know? Everyone else loves this book.

The one thing I love is the thread that's told in the second person. That is really hard to pull off, especially risky to even attempt it after Bright Lights Big City laid claim to that conceit forevermore. But Jemisin does attempt it and succeeds masterfully. Even better, it seems to me to be a point of view that works particularly well in audio. The best aspect of this book by far.

389 people found this helpful

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Great narration with interesting magical system

Any additional comments?

I have to admit that it was somewhat of a slog to get through this book, at least until the end. The plot is divided among three main stories with several characters each, and the chapters alternate the focus. The change in voice is not an issue for me, but may be a little disconcerting for some. I wondered how the stories were related, and that is resolved at the end. But I think using plot devices like this is unnecessary if the story itself is unique and interesting enough. As a reader/listener, I don't like being dragged along.

This being the first of a series, the ending leaves a big (really big) question, and most will want to move to the next book.

The magical system is very interesting, although also kind of depressing.

The narration was absolutely wonderful, and I will be adding Ms. Miles to my list of favorite readers.

97 people found this helpful

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15 Hours of Backstory

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Wow, this book was very slow and difficult to finish. I do not understand where all of these high ratings are coming from. It's almost as if I listened to a different book. I kept waiting for something to happen only to find out toward the end that most of the book was just background.

Seriously, nothing actually happened in this story. You could read the supplemental information that came with the audiobook, along with the book description, and be ready to listen to book 2. However, there's not a chance of me moving on to the next book.

136 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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incredibly well written and complex

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin is the first in a trilogy called The Broken Earth. This is a story about three women, Essun, Damaya, and Syenite. They live on a continent called The Stillness. Ironically, this land, and probably the entire planet, is overrun with unpredictable seismic activity that throws the physical world into turmoil. When this seismic activity is cataclysmic, or a season occurs, people die or band together in an attempt to survive. Societal hierarchy is arranged with Orogenes at the bottom. Orogenes are people who have the ability to control seismic activity, which can make them assets in attempting to survive or calm an earthquake, or it can make them dangerous. They are feared and so kept under oppressive control. Each of these main characters is an Orogene of varying ages in the same world living in different times relative to the occurrence of the latest season. However, each Orogene must contend with the changing circumstances in their lives as they attempt to accept who they are as individuals in a society that fears and hates them.

This is an incredibly well written and complex novel and I really enjoyed it. The world building and characters are just fantastic. The premise of the novel driving the post-apocalyptic nature of the story is well thought out and presented. It also ties in seamlessly with the hierarchical society structure that is central to the story line. There is a diverse set of characters and each character and the communities that they live in are vivid and pull the reader in almost immediately. The details help to bring the characters to life and to also hone in the humanity of each of them. Each has strengths and weaknesses. The story jumps between the points of view of each of the three main characters. One quirk of the novel is that one of the points of view is in second person. It was a little challenging to get used to, as I rarely hear it, but it worked. There are also interludes between chapters giving some information about the world, which are useful. The end is a bit of cliffhanger and for me it was also a bit confusing. But it does get the mind working on what might be happening. I’m really excited about the next novel in the trilogy. The story is really great, and it’s been a challenge to convey that without giving away significant plot points.

The narration by Robin Miles was also great. She was able to capture the voice and accents of each of the characters well. The production quality was good as well. I would recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy novels with complex and well developed world building and a story about a population of people living under oppression while simultaneously and inherently having a lot of power.

Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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146 people found this helpful