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

I’m beginning my experimentation with writing a book blog. I’m not exactly the most eloquent person, so I’m not sure where my writing style will fall. But, practice makes perfect, and we all have to start somewhere. Evidently I’m starting here. I’ve never participated in a book club, but I want to talk about what I’m reading and share my feelings as I go through this series – hence the title Read & React.

Eventually I hope to take my notes from Read & React 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.


I’m finding this book very interesting immediately – which doesn’t happen too often for me. It starts in medias res but then switches to a different form of introduction that I’ve never seen before. It goes from introducing a mother and her dead son to switching to being “writ continentally”; the narrator’s voice is so nonchallant that I feel like I’m sitting in front of an crusty old person telling childhood stories.

I laughed when I read, “It moves a lot, this land. Like an old man lying restlessly abed it heaves and sighs, puckers and farts, yawns and swallows. Naturally this land’s people have named it the Stillness.” We learn that this story is set in an old city called Yumenes that was built not for safety or comfort but for bravery. We then hear balconies described as a rather scandelous feat of architecture. It almost sounds like a child full of wonder and awe describing things I would normally take for granted – which is refreshing and reminds me to be so thankful for what I have. There is a building called The Black Star which is a building made of 5 pyramids which are made of obsidian bricks, “because why not”.

But then we’re told that none of the things we’ve learned so far actually matter. … Well, ok then I guess.

We’re then introduced to characters we’re told actually matter, a man with a deep connection to the earth that is definitely not human and his companion who talk about stonelore which is literally written in stone. Somehow this man breaks the earth, I’m presuming this city of Yumenes and possibly more, in half.

Next is a form of time skip but I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a few years or a few thousand years with the way it’s described. (edit – after finishing the chapter I believe it is actually a set up for a time skip that could come)

We learn there are also giant sparkly floaty things in the sky (I might be exaggerating) which were made by a previous people that no one remembers, and no one knows why these things are up there. (That’s probably important – at least I want it to be important.)

Next, we’re introduced to the town of Tirimo, which is basically the polar opposite of Yumenes, where people live in the ground. We learn that the mother from the very beginning is named Essun and is 42 and the boy’s name was Uche and he was 3.

The last bit of context we’re given describes the valley surrounding Tirimo post cataclysmic rend in Yumenes. Many animals are crushed, but out of the ashes rises something rather seemingly new that imitates humankind but eats red crystals harvested from a geode. (Well actually this life form is probably a very old part of this world, but it sounds like it’s been made new/birthed by this most recent rend.)

Important Places:
Yumenes – big, old, fairly modern city
Tirimo – mole people town

Important Things:
Sky Obelisks?
Earth Rending

Important People:
Essun – 42 year old mom from mole people town
Uche – 3 year old boy from mole people town who has achieved freedom in his death
Unknown Character (UC) 1: male figure who rends earth
UC 2: marble person in the form of a woman who is with UC 1
UC 3: male figure that eats red geode pieces (birthed from the rend?)

Published by Victoria Mendes

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

24 thoughts on “Read & React: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – Prologue

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