This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze -- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years -- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She'll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
August 5, 2014  |  500 pages
(Read from Sep 26, 2017 to Oct 6, 2017)
Grade: 3/5    (switch to letter scale)
L/E Ratio: 70% Literature, 30% Entertainment
Writing Quality:
Low High
Low High

Low High
Movie Potential:
Low High

Low High
Sequel Potential:
Low High
Jemisin manages to find room for innovation in the dystopian genre with some truly impressive world-building. The glossary (stuck at the end of the text) should be read first to acclimate to the book's complex society, setting, and science. But putting those elements aside, there's a noticeable lack of depth to the characters and plot. Splitting the narrative into three timelines does not create anything but confusion, and the awful sex scene near the end should never have gotten past an editor.  (+1 vote)