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Publisher's Summary

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.

Listen to the first book in the critically acclaimed, three-time Hugo award-winning trilogy by NYT best-selling 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

Featured Article: The Best Bisexual Listens by Queer Authors


Listeners on the hunt for stories that center the bisexual experience know what a challenge it can be. Here, we’ve tried to lighten the lift with a list of the best bisexual listens across genres and age categories. And because we know that authenticity is important to listeners, all of the selections on this list were written by queer and bisexual authors. We hope to see more wonderful and nuanced stories depicting bisexual characters going forward.

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 listeners say about The Fifth Season

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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

437 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

No idea why anyone would give this a positive

When I saw well over 12k positive reviews I figured I'd give this book a shot. I tried to stick with it, but it is so crass, so poorly worded, and so unnecessarily gratuitous that I am returning it.

I finally gave in when the narrator read a line which was something like, "she had just finished her morning f**k". Seriously, how on earth does this book have that many positive reviews? It reads like it was written by a high-school sophomore who is trying to spice up their book by throwing in a lot of unnecessary vulgarities under the guise of artistic writing.

What a giant waste of time.

111 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

This book made me so mad, with lots of unnecessary child abuse, neglect, polygamy, filthy sex depictions etc...

First off, this book should come with a filthy content warning. I should have read more reviews before I bought this, but I didn’t realize it would have so much of the story based on hate and sex. My biggest problem is I got halfway through and it has a part that describes a little boy getting teased by other children about getting sexually molested to get some alcohol. Then he basically get sent off to seclusion and what the author describes as his indirect punishment. What’s worse is it’s just left at that no real justice or anything to address the fact that you basically write in the worst possible scenario for seemingly no other reason then you want to make your readers feel like shit or pissed off.
There’s also lots of child abuse, neglect, polygamy, filthy sex depictions etc...

The whole time I was listing to this book it basically made me feel awful. I’m mostly mad at myself for getting 3/4 of the way through with the book and not stopping it.

96 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 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.

83 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Mostly Boring With a Little Touch of Interesting

I'll start with the good. This book has a really interesting magic system and has just enough mystery to keep you somewhat interested. The writing is quite solid too, though I find her style to be a bit annoying but that's a personal preference.

The biggest flaw that this book has is that it is boring and that's quite a big sin for a book especially one in fantasy/sci-fi. It takes a good third to halfway through the book for anything interesting to happen and then it is sporadic thereafter. It was quite a struggle for me to finish this book and that's not something I want in a book I listen to for pleasure.

I personally found most of the characters to be pretty flat and boring and they all seemed somewhat similar. I know this is against the popular opinion but I just didn't think the characterization was very good. I also thought the "twist" was pretty telegraphed and I had guessed it long before I was given confirmation.

This book actually won the Hugo (and so did it's sequel) and I honestly can't understand why it was given such a prestigious award. It's an okay book, but I can't really recommend it to anyone that doesn't want to work really hard to push themselves to listen to it. My best guess for why it won the Hugo, and this is completely my personal opinion, is that it hits a lot of group identities. All the people in the book are black, it has gays, transgendered people, and a class of people that aren't treated much better than slaves. Some of this actually feels forced in my opinion, but it wouldn't be the first time an award was given for something because the voters agreed with the political views of the creator.

55 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An honest review.

I read every review of this book after I finished it, and I have to say "thank goodness" because one of the reviews (which I reported) spoils part of it.

With that said, it seems that nearly every review is either glowing or mad and nothing in between and I have a sneaking suspicion that it's political so, with this review, I aim to be as unbiased as possible so that at least one of these rusting reviews is honest.

For starters, the narrator is flatter than Nebraska. Her range is so limited that it's hard to tell her characters apart with a couple exceptions. Schaffa the guardian is unique and Hoa is unique but the rest could be interchangeable as far as her dialect choices go. I had to give her a 3 star rating because it wasn't terrible but it was definitely not good.

The story flow is...odd...the first 1/4 of the book I was having a hard time keeping sh*t straight because there are 3 arcs that jump between first second and third person perspectives. Around the 3-4 hour mark I was able to start detangling them and they all made a lot more sense, and thus the book became much more enjoyable. "Slow burn" as one reviewer put it, is an understatement. With that said, the story is very enjoyable in my opinion and I gave it a 5 rating.

Now for the reason I feel like nearly every single review is biased: this book has LGBTQ elements (more on that in a bit) and goes out of its way to point out the color of most characters skin and the characteristics of their hair as pertaining to their race. Look, I'm gonna get this out of the way so that Leftists don't think I'm a nazi and Righters don't think I'm a "crying lib": I'm a center right republican and a normal human being that finds politics and their forced injection into every single facet of life to be tedious and monotone trash talk. So with that out of the way, I do feel like the LGBTQ stuff is kind of forced. Almost none of it serves a purpose other than to virtue signal, and it drags the parts of the book down because of it. Not because it's there but because it simply serves no point, and that's an objective statement. With that said, there's almost NONE OF IT throughout the entire book, so it was easy to just roll your eyes and get right over it. Simply put, it might mean a lot to someone that is LGBTQ and if it makes them happy to see it, then fine. Quite frankly it's a small part of the book so if it bothers you, you may need to reassess what you're doing with your life that you get butthurt over the mention of a female character having a penis (no joke, the time it took you to read that sentence is longer than most mentions of lgbtq). As far as the race goes, it's just as important to the story as it would be if you were describing real life races. People on the northern coast are white, equatorials are brown. That's exactly how it is in real life, so why should it matter when the author mentions it here? There's no demonizing of the white skined people as one reviewer mentioned, in fact the main character says how strikingly attractive many people find them. Having the main characters be black simply shouldn't matter, if it bothers you so much that a character in a book is black, maaayyybe you're an actual racist. I actually found myself thunking how awesome this book could be as a limited series of 7-10 episodes for the whole thing with a 90% black cast. Not only would it fit because it was written as such, but it's an awesome story as I mentioned before. No joke I got goosebumps when the Aurogony (no clue how to spell some of the goofy words in this book)battles and even the basic uses were going on. How freaking awesome of a concept to steal heat from everything around you as a source of power? And no that isn't a spoiler, it details it within 20 minutes of the book starting.

So any way, in short, this book is neither a perfect 5 star as many people probably rate it for the LGBTQ and black characters, but neither is it absolute trash as the homophobes and racist reviews paint it out to be. From an absolutely neutral standpoint, I think the author did a very great job with the story but her direction was questionable at best (she seriously destroys every single ounce of future tension with a plot twist about halfway through...WHHHYYYY??) but the narrator should have been literally anyone else.

3 on performance
5 on story
4 overall

Hope this helps some of you that are on the fence

50 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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.

202 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

55 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

501 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

441 people found this helpful