‘The Fifth Season’: An Afrofuturism Classic

A TSL Book Review

It’s March, or as us book nerds like to call it, National Reading Month! Need a book to read? Have we got a suggestion for you!

“The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin is an Afrofuturism novel, the first in “The Broken Earth” series. Harnessing a combination of post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and fantasy-sci-fi vibes, it gives major “Dune” energy. The twist is that this in The Stillness: Earth far in the future, and their so-called “seasons” last thousands of years.

This book is unique because the first main character the reader is introduced to is you. Well, not really, obviously, but it’s made to feel like it is. Using a second person perspective, you’re introduced to the Tirimo’s setting, a town in The Stillness, the existence of people who can control the earth itself, and the fact that Tirimo’s son is dead.

After exiling herself from her village, Tirimo travels a long road, tracking her son’s murderer. She’s slowly joined by quirky companions, and on top of all that, their journey is extra dangerous because a new season is almost upon them. This could mean anything, from years of eruptions, earthquakes, or acid rains.

The other main characters’ chapters are written in third person. Damaya is an Orogene, the people who can control the earth. She’s a young girl who’s just learned this, and has to navigate her newfound powers under the guidance of her strict mentor. Her chapters are more dark academian than the others’, which spices things up in a fun way.

Author N.K. Jemisin

Finally, there’s Syenite. She’s been training as an Orogene for years, and has finally gotten assigned a mission outside of the city. Unfortunately, she’s assigned to someone more powerful than her, and she happens to hate his guts. Her chapters are the most interesting, since they deal with the larger world, and what magical abilities Orogenes can actually do.

What sets “The Fifth Season” apart from a lot of books is its ability to immediately hook the reader in by making them play the character as if it were a role in a movie. You only learn a few things about Tirimo in the prologue, and already you feel like you know her, and therefore can empathize with her as the book goes on. Damaya and Syenite provide really interesting contrasts to Tirimo. Tirimo is the more experienced woman with powers she can’t quite grasp, Damaya is effectively new to this world, and Syenite is the one who’s reached the end of the road. She has these powers, she’s mastered them, and now her life revolves around them, but she’s in control.

All in all, the nail-biting tension of their world about to change as they know it, to the gloomy vibe of a place about to change seasons makes it a perfect springtime, March read. For those who have already read “The Fifth Season,” let me know what you think.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 


By Inti Navia, Senior, ChiArts

Every Platform: @intinavia


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Written by Inti Navia

I love nerding out over Star Wars, Gravity Falls, and Lord of the Rings. I'm an introvert with a never ending appreciation for all things Sci-Fi and fantasy media.

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