Fifth Season Ch 22 & 23


Chapter 22

Alabaster tells the story of the Season of Teeth. Guardians attack Meov. Alabaster erects a wall around the island and sinks some of the ships. Antimony the stone eater drags Alabaster into the earth. Alabaster makes Syenite promise to keep Coru out of the Guardian's hands. Syenite joins the Clalsu as they attack the remaining Guardian ships. The Clalsu is boarded. Innon is killed by a Guardian, disintegrated. Schaffa tries to persuade Syenite to surrender. Syenite refuses, kills Coru, and calls on the amethyst obelisk for power. She destroys the remaining ships and kills most people in the ships. The first-person narrator is revealed as Hoa.

Chapter 23

Essun goes to see Alabaster. Antimony and Hoa have a stand off. Alabaster is burnt, half-turned to stone, and partially eaten. Alabaster says he created the Yumenes rift, using the obelisks and node maintainers (who are now all dead). He then asks Damaya/Syenite/Essun about a moon.


  • Alabaster tries to protect Meov by creating a wall. Syenite tries to defend Meov by attacking the Guardians. Are these different actions in character with what we know of these people?
  • Syenite kills her child; Essun is prepared to kill her husband to save her child. Are these two desires consistent in one character?
  • Two more twists in these chapters: Hoa is the narrator, and Alabaster opened the Yumenes rift. Did people see either of these coming?
  • Why would Alabaster be interested in a moon?
  • Why did Alabaster create the Yumenes rift?


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    Well, hmm, big battle for the end of level boss. Syenite turns warrior, discovers all manner of abilities she never knew she had. Ok.

    I looked back at the prologue and could see how Alabaster fitted, though I don't think it was possible to guess reading forwards.

    Unimpressed by the deliberate deception about Essun when I read it "hips that easily bore two children..." of course she actually has three. I get that NK Jemisin wanted to hide the book's Big Reveal, but to deliberately include false information so we couldn't guess is just meh.

    Consistent? I would have to say no, but the book is not about consistency but about abrupt changes. I can handle it only by keeping on saying to myself, this is really a graphic novel that someone has been foolish enough to put into words. As such, Alabaster and Syenite's battle on the island was magnificent, and would make a glorious series of panels. Truly vivid.

    Hoa the narrator, no didn't see it, have stopped trying to work out stuff like that. Either the author will toss out a reveal or she won't, and I've abandoned any idea of trying to make sense of what's coming.

    Alabaster is now, I think, in a let's just smash everything mood. If the moon can participate in smashing it up then that's cool by him. The prologue tells us that he's already set off a fifth season which will last a few millennia... I guess that's not enough and he'd rather just destroy the globe. Or not... by the end of book 3 we might know one way or the other.
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    So, again I find myself largely in agreement with @RichardAbbott . I also re-read the prologue, and I think that was worth doing. The author was clearly hiding things from us- were this a serious mystery novel, you would argue that it violated the 'fair play principle', but I don't think that really applies, here, so I'm not bothered.

    But I guess as a result, the big reveal to me isn't 'Wow, I didn't see that coming but now that I read it it makes so much sense'. Instead, it's more like "Oh, OK. That seems random, but I'm willing to go with it for now'. So, Hoa is the narrator - unexpected since he only ever referred to himself in the third person (Why? That's probably salmon territory). But anyway, it's no biggie - doesn't really seem important who the narrator is, anyway.

    As for Alabaster, I'm starting to be confused about him. He was introduced to us as an angry superdude maverick to whom the rules only applied when they were useful - a bit like Wolverine. Then morphed into a domestic suck who didn't like when other people did things that were beyond their approved role. Now he's an uber vigilante who would rather destroy the world that... what exactly? A rebel without a cause, I guess, except he's somehow in charge.

    The moon question is the one I think is the most interesting, and I'm continuing to wait (since the first interlude) to see how the question of the moon (specifically it's absence, strongly hinted at in the first interlude) is relevant to the story. I guess we need to read book 2 to find out. I'm trusting the reveal to be scientifically satisfying for now, but I'm really feeling mistrustful of the author at this point so I probably shouldn't let my hopes rise too much.

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    Pretty much in accord with @RichardAbbott and @Apocryphal - I am just reading this as a Graphic Novel for the Blind where everything is in words rather than pictures. It's interesting in places, but it seems rather arbitrary and slapdash in others. I have given up trying to predict anything or judge anything because of the blatant inconsistencies throughout. It is amateurishly bleak. There is not a whiff of comedy relief, not even black comedy, which I love. I have to supply my own black comedy in my brain. An angry novel about angry people by an angry person. Whoop! She should read some Soviet SF to learn how to do bleak right!

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