Read & React: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – Chapter 8

This is the ninth blog installment of Read & React for The Fifth Season. 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.

8: Syenite on the highroad

You guessed it again! We’ve cycled character arcs again and are back to third person observing Syenite, and for some reason this chapter is quite long by comparison of the others. (When are we going to get to hear more about what happened in the prologue? I want to know what’s up with that one guy and his marble-like companion.) Alabaster, the 10-ringer, her new mentor seems to infuriate her, but also he speaks historical heresy that actually makes sense and aligns more with what Syen really wants for the world (though I’m not really sure she’s ready to admit that to herself yet by the sounds of it).

While on their adventure something sets off a huge shake seemingly out of nowhere (later in the chapter we found out this was somehow done by the node maintainer) and Alabaster somehow tethers his and Syen’s powers together to settle the quake and repair the earth before anything too terrible can happen. (This is a really cool mechanic – I need to know more.)

Eventually they rest up and make their way to the node. (The node maintainer is dead and absolutely disgusting. If you’ve read the book you know what I mean, and if you haven’t read the book, well, consider this a trigger warning for child molestation and ridiculous amounts of lack of human decency. I don’t think I have words for how cruel this scene is.) Alabaster kind of loses his mind for a hot second and we get an idea of how things really are in the world for orogenes/roggas.

The chapter ends in a short Arctic proverb.


I didn’t want to make this section its own post since it’s only a page and a half between chapters 8 and 9. The typeface changes entirely from what we’ve seen used so far. I’m guess this is either the narrator or author speaking. (These could be one in the same?) It mentions how the people of this continent we’ve been reading about don’t notice what is/isn’t there – particularly in reference to the night sky. I’m going to say that the lore we’ve read at the end of chapter 7 ties in here. I’m going to guess that Father Earth is the earth and the Mother Life mentioned is the moon and something happened to the moon … perhaps related to the sky obelisks?

Important Places:
Mehi – a small city at the edge of the Equatorials
Adea Heights – a mid sized city Syen and Alabaster go through on their way to the node.

Important Things:
node stations – areas where 4-or-less-ringers are sent to quell micro quakes and keep the earth steady
sanze-mat – the language used at Fulcrum (presumably used in the Equatorial region as well)

Important People:
Alabaster – we finally learn the name of “10-ringer”
Hessionite – a name Alabaster drops after exhausting himself putting out the quake (I’m guessing this was either his mentor or someone else that believes the “historical heresy” he believes)

Personal Point of Interest

derminther mela – small melons with a hard shell that burrow underground during a Season. (Ok is this a form of food or animal? It’s described as a melon which makes me think this is another form of food I could come back to but then how does a melon burrow? It would make more sense to me that these melons just lay on the ground and get covered in ash and survive that way during a Season.) Syen puts them in the fire coals to cook them over the course of a few hours. (I’ve never heard of cooking a melon before.)

Published by Victoria Mendes

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

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