The Fifth Season takes place in what could easily by (may intentionally be?) a far future Earth where volcanoes, earthquakes, and various other seismic disasters have an annoying tendency to kill off large portions of humanity every few centuries. Combine that with a few powerful individuals (orogenes) who have magical abilities associated with said earthquakes that they cannot always control… And you have quite the world.
It took me a while to realize that the various different sections of the book were following the story of a single character. She went by different names at different times and didn't always have the same powers, so it wasn’t always easy to tell who you were dealing with. On top of that, there are jumps in the timeline from chapter to chapter, covering years (if not decades). Once you finally figure out who and when you’re reading about, it’s fascinating to see how everything fits together. Before that… it’s confusing and a bit frustrating.