STARTED IN 2018, FINISHED MAY, 2021, THE BROKEN EARTH SERIES by N.K. Jemison

This is the best science fiction series I have read since reading Dune in the 70s. I had been “off” sci fi in general for some time, but saw this first book in the trilogy reviewed by my blogging friend, Sarah at Brainfluff. I ordered the first book, which I reviewed back in 2018:

This was my introduction to this wonderful author.

THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemison: A Review

This is the first book in the Broken Earth series, which was published in 2015.  I found it reviewed on Brainfluff, and it seemed like a really good story. As soon as the other two books came out, I also ordered them, and last summer My Better Half and I finally got around to reading the books. We decided to read it aloud to each other at night, and it has been an excellent experience.  We finished Fifth Season at the end of the summer and have moved on to Book Two, The Obelisk Gate. We hope to finish by the Holidays.

It is a strange, intricate and fascinating book, which includes a map of The Stillness, which is the known earth in The Fifth Season.  Seasons are eras, some a few hundred years, some thousands in the earth’s history, usually indicated by tectonic plate shifts, earthquakes and weather phenomena. The book begins,

“Let’s start with the end of the earth, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things…”  “This is the way the earth ends, for the last time.”

There are difficulties in reading the book, a vocabulary of words: “roggas,” “sessapinae,” “orogenes,” etc. that we had no idea how to pronounce, but we overcame this problem with pronouncing them however we wanted. A glossary in the back explains many of the words, but if the reader is good at context clues he/she can usually figure out what is going on without stopping and turning to the book’s end. NPR described the series as “astounding.”

Another challenging aspect is that the characters and times shift back and forth, and the reader can get confused.  This, however, was one of our favorite parts of the book, for as we read, it was revealed that main characters in different chapters were actually the same characters we had read about earlier as adults in their childhood days, or that a certain character was a character we had read about previously, but he/she/it ws in a different form.  All of this confusion is worth it to enjoy the beautiful, often poetic writing which makes the reader feel the movement of the earth or see the beautiful power of the gigantic obelisks.

The narrative itself is a “grabber,” which carries the reader along with the action throughout the twists and turns of the plot. We often exclaimed, “Oh, that’s the…” or “Wow! That’s why (the character) said or did so and so…” We felt so intelligent (LOL) that we figured out the revelation just before it became obvious in the “tale.” The author’s way of writing is unique. She feeds the reader information on a need to know basis and lets him/her draw the conclusion on matters just as the character concludes the same thing. The style is masterful, the word choice and phrasing original and spot-on, and the author’s imagination unlimited.

This is a must read.

This was a magnificent book with amazing descriptions and action-packed scenes as well. And while all of this was going on in the author’s writing, the characters were developing into ones the reader really cared about.

It took another year or more to finish the second book, The Obelisk Gate, and I didn’t review it, but looking back there are several mentions in old posts of an ongoing engagement in reading the book. I would pick it up and read for several days, then put it aside as I found other books that piqued my interest. Finally, when I did the Alphabet Challenge, Title Edition, I needed a book beginning with an “O,” and started the book from the beginning again.

In January of 2021, I took out the third book, the final book, which I completed in May of 2021.

The concluding book lived up to the promise of the first volume, something few series achieve.

THE STONE SKY by N.K. Jemisin: A Review

The third book in this powerful sci fi trilogy was published in 2017. Here are the opening lines: “Time grows short, my love. Let’s end with the beginning of the world, shall we? Yes, we shall.” The narrator continues, “The person who witnessed these things firsthand is me, and yet not.” The story continues in this strange, eerie way to tell of strange and eerie events. Essun, the mother from The Fifth Season, an orogene, who has passed down this trait to her daughter, Nassun, has gained control of the obelisk gate. She is also beginning to turn into a stone-eater, with her arm solid stone, after completing her mission with Alabaster of the fulcrum. She has a job to do–“Just catch the moon.”She also has a personal quest–to find her daughter. She is wounded, ill, and carried by stretcher as the book opens.

Hoa, the stone-eater, Tonkee, the old woman, and Lerna, the doctor, all of whom were introduced in the previous book, are carrying her. Nassun, in the meantime has killed her father in self-defense and has been staying at the Moon Compound, a sanctuary and training school for young orogenes. She, too, must take a journey.

The reunion of the mother and daughter, each set on opposite missions to carry out their destinies–one to save the earth, one to destroy it–provide a dramatic, exciting, breath-holding climax.

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2021) finds me with over 50 years of teaching “under my belt.” I have taught all levels from pre-K “(library lady” or “book lady”–volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the “difficult years.” I had some of the “funnest” experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the “young, fun teacher,” I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a “dream-fit” for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is “in my blood,” so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to “come out and play.” View all posts by Rae Longest

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THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemison: A Review

This is the first book in the Broken Earth series, which was published in 2015.  I found it reviewed on Brainfluff, and it seemed like a really good story. As soon as the other two books came out, I also ordered them, and last summer My Better Half and I finally got around to reading the books. We decided to read it aloud to each other at night, and it has been an excellent experience.  We finished Fifth Season at the end of the summer and have moved on to Book Two, The Obelisk Gate. We hope to finish by the Holidays.

It is a strange, intricate and fascinating book, which includes a map of The Stillness, which is the known earth in The Fifth Season.  Seasons are eras, some a few hundred years, some thousands in the earth’s history, usually indicated by tectonic plate shifts, earthquakes and weather phenomena. The book begins,

“Let’s start with the end of the earth, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things…”  “This is the way the earth ends, for the last time.”

There are difficulties in reading the book, a vocabulary of words: “roggas,” “sessapinae,” “orogenes,” etc. that we had no idea how to pronounce, but we overcame this problem with pronouncing them however we wanted. A glossary in the back explains many of the words, but if the reader is good at context clues he/she can usually figure out what is going on without stopping and turning to the book’s end. NPR described the series as “astounding.”

Another challenging aspect is that the characters and times shift back and forth, and the reader can get confused.  This, however, was one of our favorite parts of the book, for as we read, it was revealed that main characters in different chapters were actually the same characters we had read about earlier as adults in their childhood days, or that a certain character was a character we had read about previously, but he/she/it ws in a different form.  All of this confusion is worth it to enjoy the beautiful, often poetic writing which makes the reader feel the movement of the earth or see the beautiful power of the gigantic obelisks.

The narrative itself is a “grabber,” which carries the reader along with the action throughout the twists and turns of the plot. We often exclaimed, “Oh, that’s the…” or “Wow! That’s why (the character) said or did so and so…” We felt so intelligent (LOL) that we figured out the revelation just before it became obvious in the “tale.” The author’s way of writing is unique. She feeds the reader information on a need to know basis and lets him/her draw the conclusion on matters just as the character concludes the same thing. The style is masterful, the word choice and phrasing original and spot-on, and the author’s imagination unlimited.

This is a must read.

FRIDAY FIRSTLINERS

First Line Fridays is an interesting meme hosted by Hoarding Books. In it, one takes the next book one intends to read or the one just started and writes the first line (or so). You too can participate just put your first line in the comments section below. Be sure to include the book’s title and author.  Here’s my current first line from The Fifth Season, Book One of the Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin:

“Let’s start with the end of the world, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things.”

Even if you get this after Friday, please play along.

Tuesday Teaser

Tuesday Teaser is a bookish meme from The Purple Booker.  The idea is to open a book you are reading at random, copy a couple of sentences and “tease” other readers into reading the same book.

Mine today is from a book selected for this quarter by PWR.  It is by Madeline Engle, author of scientific science fiction, and the selection begins near the beginning of the book where the twins, Sandy and Dennys, enter their Phd dad’s laboratory where a computer program dealing with time travel is in progress.  They think they may have “disturbed something”,

“Stupid.  We were stupid, mucking around with an experiment-in-progress… we should have stopped to think…Dispite the intense heat Dennys shivered…’Shade’ croaked Dennys.  Do I see a palm tree?”

Soon in this time-travel novel involving the same tesseract theory from A Wrinkle in Time, but this time computer generated, Many Waters has Sandy and Dennys relieved they are somewhere on planet earth.  The relief is not for long, however, as they meet Japeth and his son Noah, who both communicate with El who tells them they are living in the “end times”.  As they begin to piece together the Bible stories their mother read to them along with Greek myths, American Indian mythology and other stories which predicted a world-wide flood, they can only hope the way to return to their own world will come to them soon.

PWR NEWS

The following books are “assigned” for the next quarter of the PWR (Powerful Women Readers) on-line book club.  All are available at public libraries and  second hand or new through Amazon. All except Sea Change are available in paperback. I chose these three books because they were all on my TBR (To be read) shelf in my book closet.  I have been wanting to read these books for a long time.  Some come recommended by friends, others by other book clubs.  You should pick one of the three to read by our next get-together which should be in approximately three months.Get a copy or copies and get started this weekend.

Let’s begin with Sea Change by Frank Viva, a prominent artist and designer who lives in Toronto.  This is a children’s book that is not your usual children’s book, nor is it illustrated like conventional children’s books.  Looking at the cover and speculating about the very adult topic was enough to cause me to purchase it at Half Price Books.  I will read it first and will loan out my copy to borrow.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden has been read and discussed by many book clubs worldwide. This novel was published in 1997 and is rapidly becoming a classic, primarily because so many people have read it. It lets us peek into another culture and another time so unlike our own that reading it is bound to be an illuminating experience.

The final book is by one of my favorite science fiction writers, Madeline Engle (author of A Wrinkle in Time).   It tells of the continuing adventures of the Murry family AFTER the famous trilogy, A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet (All of which I’ve read and have been blown away by) ends.  It can be read as a stand alone, but for readers of the trilogy and other Lengle books, familiar characters appear and reappear like old friends and relatives of favorite characters in the first three books.

I hope you will be happy with these choices.  Please advise if you cannot obtain copies somewhere.

Friends of PWR are encouraged to join us on line and to comment on the three books as they are discussed and reviewed in the coming quarter.

Let’s stretch and read some books we’ve been meaning to read or wanted to read but haven’t gotten around to yet.

Happy Reading!

RAE