Hello my friends, and happy weekend!
I don’t have a ton of stuff to talk about this week, as I’ve just been reading. And reading, and reading, lol.
I had expected to receive The Princess and the Scoundrel about a week after its release date of August 16th, because that’s been the pattern lately, as it was with Padawan and Shadow of the Sith. So I started reading The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin while I waited. But it only took two days to get Princess, and I just couldn’t wait to get into it. And I was far enough into Fifth Season not to want to put it down. Reader problems, eh? 🙂 So I’m reading two books.
The Fifth Season is a big book, and I’m about one quarter to a third of the way through. It’s mesmerizing, and unlike any other fantasy I’ve ever read. It takes place on a large continent called The Stillness, which is an ironic name since the place is constantly erupting with earthquakes and tremors. It’s so bad that their whole society is formed around this geological fact: they have the “Stonelore” which tells you what do when a “Season” (a particularly catastrophic event) comes around. The continent has been shaped and reshaped many times over the course of millenia, and many cultures and empires developed and ruled over that time. But this particular one has learned how to survive. In this world, there are people who are born with the ability to affect the tremors and shakes; they’re called “orogenes.” People fear them, so much so that when a child shows such powers, they are often killed. When they aren’t, they are sent to the Fulcrum, where orogenes train to control their powers and help keep the shakes at bay.
There are several storylines that overlap, although I’m not sure of the actual timeline. The first one introduced is that of a woman named Essun, and she’s just discovered her three-year old child is dead, beaten to death by his father. Essun is an orogene, living in the “comm” of Tirima for the past ten years and hiding what she is; she fears her son had shown signs of being an orogene like her, leading to her husband, Jija, killing the child. He’s fled with their young daughter. Essun makes it her quest to find her daughter, and, well, deal with Jija.
The world-building in this book is incredible and intricate. There are mysterious, floating obelisks in the sky, leftover from some ancient civilization that didn’t survive a Season. No one knows what they are or what they were for, but I have a feeling we’re going to find out later in the book. I’m so intrigued by the whole story, I haven’t been this swallowed up by a book in a long time. Oh, and it won the Hugo Award a few years ago. There are two other books after this one that makes up The Broken Earth series, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky, and you can bet I’ll be reading those, too.
I’m about a third of the way through The Princess and the Scoundrel, and it’s just wonderful. There’s nothing earth-shattering in it, nothing that significantly affects the canon (so far), but it’s just a joy to read. We thought we knew the love story of Han and Leia, but there’s always room for more details, in my opinion. We get to see Han’s proposal and their wedding on Endor, and Mon Mothma has convinced them to take their honeymoon on the Halcyon, a space cruise ship. Where I am in the book, they’re just arriving at the Halcyon, but I know that some adventure and intrigue will follow.
But what I really love is getting into Han and Leia’s heads in alternating chapters, their excitement, their fears and doubts, their hope, their love. What we kind of forget is that Han lost a year of his life while he was in carbonite; it’s disorienting to him to know that others continued on with their lives while he was in that carbonite block in Jabba’s palace, and he has to catch up. So things have progressed really fast for him, to say the least. Leia, after having some conversations with Luke, has to deal with the new knowledge that Darth Vader is her father, and she’s having a hard time of it. Unlike Luke, she can’t forgive him. She hates him. And she’s hesitant to learn about the Force, because she fears she’ll become like him. I’m really enjoying the book so far.
I’m also excited to learn that there will be a Cal Kestis novel next year! I’ve never been a gamer, and let’s face it, I never will be nor do I want to be, but I’ve always felt like I’ve missed out on the story of Cal Kestis from the game Jedi: Fallen Order. He’s kind of a big part of canon now, especially with the Fortress Inquisitorious making an appearance in the Obi-Wan Kenobi show. So while gamers wait for the sequel to Fallen Order, Jedi: Survivor, there will be a book called Jedi: Battle Scars, and it will release on March 7th of 2023. I’ve always hoped for a book or series of books with Cal Kestis, and it looks like my wish will come true!
What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about!