N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season is what happens if you mix Beloved with apocalyptic dystopian fantasy. I don't think there's a better way to sum up the book than that.
|Image courtesy Orbit|
Everything else is also superb, of course: world building, plotting, dramatics, etc. But the writing is what sets it apart.
There is more to be said. I'm at a loss as to how to actually say it, so instead I'll direct you to Critic and FAN, a real life book buddy who recommended the book and even gave me his copy. In a nutshell:
- Jemisin takes familiar fantasy tropes and completely subverts them, to the point where The Fifth Season is like a fantasy slave narrative. (But that's not the only Beloved connection for me.)
- The world building is the shit.
- Jemisin also incorporates violence against women and rape into the story really well.
I mean, there are whole sections written in second-person present tense, which I've hated in other books, but I didn't care and loved all of it. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy when I have some more time!