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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 Library section along with the audio.

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

Featured Article: 20 Best Sci-Fi Audiobooks for Exploring New Worlds

There is no genre that lends itself better to audio narrative than Science Fiction does. There is a magic that transports listeners to new worlds of wonder and mystery that is heightened by expert voice actors and narrators. A great writer can create an imaginative new world or dystopian civilisation, but it is up to the narrator to bring this world to life around you. We’ve gathered together 20 of the top science fiction audiobooks ranked not only for their stories but for the emotive and compelling narrative performances. Let these award winning tales and voices carry you away to worlds unknown.

What listeners say about The Fifth Season

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not for me

First, let me start off by saying this book is right up my alley. I absolutely love Hugo award winners. I really wanted to like this book, especially knowing it was part of a trilogy - who doesn't love stumbling on a new series? Sadly it was a struggle to finish. I'm a huge fan of marginalized representation (race, gender, economic status, relationship status, etc) and I was really impressed by characters relationships to one another; however, I never related to any of the characters, their struggles, or the story. I never once felt that tingle of excitement where I was drawn in. I can objectively see why people love this, but unfortunately I found the whole thing very dry. In the words of Amy Poehler, "Good for you, not for me."

12 people found this helpful

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Fascinating world

This book won the 2016 Hugo Award, and is the first in a trilogy (all now published, if you dislike cliffhangers - although the endings aren't really nail-biting cliffhangers, just lots of unresolved questions and stories).

This first book starts out telling three different stories: Essun, a middle aged woman who has just discovered her son has been murdered and her daughter is missing; Damaya, a young girl whose parents have locked her in a barn and are selling her to someone she thinks may be a child slaver; and Syenite, a young woman studying to be an Orogene and about to go on her first official mission. All three have in common the ability of Orogeny, which is the main form of magic in this world: the ability some people have to manipulate heat and life force into geological activity. Untrained orogenes can cause earthquakes and worse when hurt or angry, and are feared by non-orogenes.

The world itself is racked by natural disasters, and regularly suffers from "Seasons", lengthy periods of time (years long) where natural disasters make survival a challenge for all life forms and violent cataclysms may reshape the world. Tsunamis likely wipe out all coastal cities during Seasons, many people starve or turn to cannibalism to survive, wildlife hibernates or adopts other odd defense mechanisms, etc. This is not a friendly world, and the people's relationship with the world reflects this. They talk about how father earth is angry with them, though he once loved them, but exactly why it changed is lost in myth. In fact, the world clearly could once have been something very similar to our earth before human influence triggered climate change and natural disasters - hence the series title I assume (I haven't read the end of the trilogy yet, so I don't know if any more details about the history will be revealed).

Anyway, interesting setting, great characters, and although they start entirely separately, over time you slowly begin to piece together how they are related to each other until you finally start to see the bigger picture by the end of this book. I enjoyed the characters a lot, and the world is very unique and well described. However, I had a really hard time getting into the book at first. I can't put my finger on why but I just didn't find her writing gripping my attention the way some other authors do. Maybe just the complexity of the world and characters? At any rate it was still a good book and I picked up the sequel and plan to finish the trilogy for sure

10 people found this helpful

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Not for me

I had to turn it off, I couldn't get in to the story and the reader put me to sleep.

8 people found this helpful

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"What the rust?"

I generally find fantasy and science fiction books very hard to listen to. The names are confusing, the ideas are convoluded, and the lexicons are hard to grasp. But somehow N. K. Jemison has built something real, tangible, and heartbreaking. The Fifth Season is a haunting tale of an oppressive society on the verge of collapse. The story follows three different points of view that build a world from ideas to manifestations.

Robin Miles delivers fantastic narration on top of the already great experience. If you pick this up, you're in for a wild ride of fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and one of the most human experiences I've ever witnessed in it's genre.

7 people found this helpful

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Perfect for those who love philosophical spec-fic

N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season is speculative fiction at its most masterful. Jemisin has built a world and mythology to give us new perspective on our own, and she has populated it with complex characters who keep us engaged, sometimes enraged, and hopeful. For all the challenges she throws at her characters in the darkness endemic to her world and ours, there is a humane center to her work, a sense of possibility and care in a world often been powered by exploitation. Jemisin also created a natural vocabulary—I imagine "sess" may find its way into English the way "grok" has done. ("I didn't really grok it until I sessed what she was doing.") Narrator Robin Miles is a talented performer who voiced every role with sensitivity and brought each scene to life. #Audible1

6 people found this helpful

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Wierd romance fantasy novel.

Every character was annoyingly pretentious. Ends on a good cliffhanger though. Won't continue the series

5 people found this helpful

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Mayhaps I'm unrefined?

Narrated quite well, and the characters sand alone. There were also very interesting subplots, but overall, I'm uninspired. Explicit language seemed totally unnecessary, and the universe seemed lacking :-( Then again, I may just be unrefined....

3 people found this helpful

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Very tedious but great story

Again great story line poor narration difficult to listen for hours and hours with the story line lost too often.








6 people found this helpful

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......this boooookkkkkk

I yelled. I cried. I laughed. I yelled some more. I loved. I felt loss. And then I screamed. The Fifth Season is entirely too much and I cannot wait to continue with the next one

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

Incredible writing. Incredible imagination. This is everything fantasy should be and more. You should read (or listen to) this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Steve Groves
  • 2020-02-10

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

509 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Damien Schneider
  • 2020-07-17

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

182 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Griswold
  • 2019-05-04

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.

144 people found this helpful

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  • Miles
  • 2020-06-11

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.

128 people found this helpful

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  • W.
  • 2018-11-07

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.

93 people found this helpful

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  • DavidtheVoice
  • 2018-05-23

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.

68 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • John Barnett
  • 2018-11-04

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.

210 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Joe
  • 2018-11-04

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.

58 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fantasy
  • 2015-12-01

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.

513 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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  • Dubi
  • 2016-06-09

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.

454 people found this helpful