This is the first book in the Broken Earth trilogy. In this world, the Stillness, there is great concern over earthquakes and the devastation they can bring to the entire world. These events are called a Season. Orogenes have the ability to sense the earth and to cause or still quakes. They are considered very dangerous, and generally treated like witches. At the Fulcrum, Orogenes are trained to use and control their abilities. The Guardians watch over them and basically govern them.
This story is about Essun, a woman who keeps her orogeny a secret from her entire village, who comes home from work to find her son dead, obviously at her husband’s hands, for having been an orogene. Her daughter is nowhere to be found. It also about Damaya, a young orogene who is being brought to the Fulcrum for training. And finally, it is about Syenite, an ambitious orogene who is paired with a highly skilled and possibly mad orogene to work an assignment far from the Fulcrum.
The story starts with an enormous earthquake that starts what may be the worst Fifth Season in history. We then follow Essun, Damaya, and Syenite at different points of time in the Stillness. Throughout, we discover what really happened, why, and who was involved. We learn so much about these three women and their very different lives as orogenes in the Stillness.
This book won a Hugo award and so did both its sequels, making for the first time ever that an author received a Hugo award three years in a row. I finished this book and immediately started the second one in line, The Obelisk Gate. It’s a story that pulls you in quickly and doesn’t let go. I want Essun to find her daughter and to learn more about the travelers she meets along the way. I want to see how people intend to survive this Fifth Season, if they even can. Those who enjoy either dystopian or apocalyptic stories will certainly find this book enjoyable. As a person not generally drawn to those sorts of stories, I can attest that this book certainly has a wider appeal. Give it a try and you’ll be sucked right in.
Review by Jessica A.