Read & React: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – Chapter 1

This is the second blog installment of Read & React for The Fifth Season (in case that wasn’t evident from the title). If you’re new to the series check out the first installment here. Eventually I hope to take my notes from this and transform them into a Spoiler Free Review, but this segment will definitely be filled with spoilers since it is my thoughts as I go through the book. Reader be warned, this post is meant for discussion purposes; avert your eyes now if you wish to avoid spoilers.

1: you, at the end

The narrator puts us in Essun’s shoes. (I really appreciate this style of storytelling since it is written in active voice and makes things feel interesting.) Essun is an “orogene” (whatever that means) who isn’t originally from Tirimo and has a husband named Jija who is a “stoneknapper of the Resistant use-caste” who everyone likes. Essun had two children one, Uche, is dead (in the living room, presumably beaten to death) and the other, a girl – Nassun, is missing. A boy, Makenba’s son Lerna, breaks into the house to check on Essun. Lerna takes Essun back to his house so she can recover from finding her son’s body.

Lerna is 15 years younger than Essun making him 27, but he looks older because his hair is turning gray as many Cebaki (whatever that is – presumably a type of people) do – and he’s getting premature wrinkles. (I’m not sure whether that’s a just him sort of thing or also a Cebaki trait.)

Many refugees have been funneling into town from the north. Sume – the town in the next valley over – has been destroyed by the shakes. Essun felt the shakes as they approached Tirimo and redirected them. (Because she’s magical? Is this something all people in this world can do or is it only an attribution of orogenes? – edit from later in the chapter it’s definitely to do with being orogenic and Lerna seems to be  the only other person in town that knows about it.)

Rask is Tirimo’s elected leader and won’t let anyone leave or come in, but Lerna wants to go heal the sick and wounded on the road and in the other towns. Instead he leaves his house to find Eran “the spokeswoman for the Resistant use-caste”. On a parallel note, apparently half the people in town think the three year old, Uche, was the epicenter of the shake and is glad his father, Jija, killed him. (We still haven’t actually met Jija to confirm it was him that did it, but we’re definitely made to believe he did it at this point.)

The chapter ends in a quote from the text mentioned in the prologue that is written in rock. (Are these rock tablets a form of religion? Probably.)

Important Places:
Yumenes – big, old, fairly modern city
Tirimo – mole people town
Sume – the town in the next valley over from Tirimo, which has been destroyed

Important Things:
Orogene – a person who can manipulate rock to an extent
Resistant use-caste – presumably a classification of people in Tirimo (this hasn’t actually been explained yet)
Cebaki – presumably another classification of people (this hasn’t been explained yet either)

Important People:
Essun – 42 year old mom from mole people town
Uche – 3 year old boy from mole people town who was beaten to death
Nassun – Essun’s daughter who is currently missing
Jija – Essun’s husband and Uche’s father, stoneknapper of the Resistant use-caste; he beat his son to death with is hands (or so we’re implied to believe)
Lerna – Makenba’s son, a Cebaki, some sort of healer/helper, keeper of Essun’s Orogene secret
Makenba – Lerna’s parent (might not actually be important – but who knows yet? not me … are they also a Cebaki? I have no idea)
Rask – Tirimo’s elected leader
Eran – the spokeswoman for the Resistant use-caste

Published by Victoria Mendes

I'm just a house-wife trying to cook good meals on a budget.

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