I have had this book on my shelf for over a year, and this week was the time to start reading it. I'm pretty sure it came into my awareness because the third book in the trilogy was being released and both the first and second book won the Hugo awards. So, bought, not read, until now.
The book opens with three three stories being told. The Fifth Season is a recurring but not periodic time of "catastrophic climate change." The people prepare for these upheavals, and for the most part survive them. The plot begins with a man triggering the Fifth Season to end the world.
Sometimes one thinks, "People," shakes her head, wonders if such an event might not actually be our unexpected end, if not in the same format.
Unsurprisingly, since the book won a Hugo, I liked it. The world building is great, the story telling engaging. At one point during the book, two of the storylines merged, so, unsurprising if you know me, I "skipped to the end" and determined that all three storylines merge, and was able to return to the place I left off and keep reading. There were a couple moments where I actually yelled, "No!" to a part of the story, so clearly the Reader is Invested™.
Strongly recommend this book. It's a beautiful if heart-breaking-in-moments book. I'll be reading the next one when it drops from my library hold into my checkout queue.
There is an art to smiling in a way that others will believe. It is always important to include the eyes; otherwise, people will know you hate them.
This is what you must remember: the ending of one story is just the beginning of another. This has happened before, after all. People die. Old orders pass. New societies are born. When we say “the world has ended,” it’s usually a lie, because the planet is just fine.
They chose to keep something rather than lose everything.
Tell them they belong among us, no matter how we treat them. Tell them they must earn the respect which everyone else receives by default.
This is pretty much how non-privileged groups of people feel.
"The people we love are the ones who hurt us the most, after all.”
"Survival doesn’t mean rightness. I could kill you right now, but that wouldn’t make me a better person for doing so.”
“Children are the undoing of us,” Alabaster says, his eyes full of the fire.
She can feel nothing but pity for the boy, relief for his release.
"But then, how can they? Who misses what they have never, ever even imagined? That would not be human nature."
She’s never been able to use hot water every day like this, tons of it just falling from holes in the ceiling like the most perfect rain ever. She tries not to be obvious about it, because some of the other grits are Equatorials and would laugh at her, the bumpkin overwhelmed by the novelty of easy, comfortable cleanliness. But, well, she is.
“Come on in, and I’ll show you a marvel or three.” As if she hasn’t already done so. But you move to follow her, because neither myths nor mysteries can hold a candle to the most infinitesimal spark of hope.
She’s whispering, because that’s what one does in the dark.
Syen doesn’t really need Alabaster to explain that Innon is telling everyone a story—because Innon does this with his whole body. He leans forward and speaks more softly, and everyone is riveted to whatever tense moment he is describing.
Flirting unnerves her. Much better to be straightforward like this.
Oh, heavens yes.
Innon laughs — softly, for him — and shifts to lean sideways against the wall, perpendicular to Syenite so that she will not feel boxed in, even though he’s close enough that she can feel his body heat. Something big men do, if they want to be considerate rather than intimidating. She appreciates his thoughtfulness.
Here is what you need to understand. In any war, there are factions: those wanting peace, those wanting more war for a myriad of reasons, and those whose desires transcend either. And this is a war with many sides, not just two.
“You’re always restless. What are you looking for?”
She shakes her head. “I don’t know.”
You want to ask more about that, then decide against it. If he wanted you to understand, he would’ve explained.
As you sigh, you hear him say, softly, “I won’t hurt you.”
You blink at this, then lower your hands slowly. It hadn’t even occurred to you that he might. Even now, knowing what he is, having seen the things he can do… you’re finding it hard to think of him as a frightening, mysterious, unknowable thing.
“It’s a gift if it makes us better. It’s a curse if we let it destroy us."
It’s reassuring, though, somehow. The kind of lie she needs to hear.
Syenite brings a truly awful novel someone found on the looted freighter, the sort of thing whose first page made her wince and burst into giggles. Then, of course, she kept reading. She loves books that are just for fun.
“I’ve never wanted much from life. Just to be able to live it, really. I’m not like you, Syen. I don’t need to prove myself. I don’t want to change the world, or help people, or be anything great. I just want… this.”