2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.

Book Review: Season of Talium by Jennifer Arntson

WOW. To think, I had to be talked into reading the first book in this fantastic series… (teehee)

It’s true – the author, the eminently talented Jennifer Arntson, reached out to me last year and requested a review of Season of Atchem, the first novel in this new five-book series (pentalogy just sounds funny, even if it’s technically correct). I hemmed and hawed and made her send me a sample and finally agreed to take a look, but frankly wasn’t sure what I’d find. I’ll tell you what I found – an excellently crafted, utterly original world populated by marvelously detailed characters and intricately interwoven plot lines that pulled me in much more deeply than I imagined possible. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was looking forward to seeing what came next.

Then came Book Two. And now I’m hooked for good…

In this book, Arntson really came into her own with the series. Everything fell into place – plot, characters, pacing, the balance of action and exposition, the proportion of levity and malevolence – and I literally could not put this one down once I started it. (Seriously, I read through the night.) The things that I enjoyed in Book One were expanded upon and blossomed into a riotous over-growth that would put Carroll’s Garden of Live Flowers to shame. Every few pages there would be a revelation: large, small, or middling, size had never before been so irrelevant, because each proffered yet another piece to the overarching puzzle that is just starting to frame itself out. There is SO MUCH going on here; layer upon layer of secrets, mysteries, whos, whats, and wherefores are delicately interwoven into a Turkish rug of uncertainty that is unraveling almost as quickly as it’s being woven…

There were a few surprising changes in tone and tenor this time. While the first book had its moments, violence-wise, this one takes that to an entirely new level. This is not a story for the faint of heart; it may be the story of a teenager, but it is NOT a teenager’s story. (Sadly, in the modern world it’s probably STILL too tame for teenagers – but I don’t much care for the modern world, preferring my own headspace that is firmly entrenched somewhere in the mid-1980s, and from that vantage point, it’s pretty graphic for kids.) The developments in tone are reflected in the gorgeously lush cover (seriously, wait until you see all five books together, the graphic will blow your mind – and that’s all Arntson too, she’s a double-threat this one!) that thrums with bloody promises. I think they’re also indicative of the shifting nature of the threats Una is facing, and her increasingly intense responses to them. And this is only Book Two – I cannot even imagine where things will go in Three through Five!

Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about this one. It’s an intense read that will linger with you, images snaking their way through your head like creeper vines, lurking and insinuating themselves into your subconscious until you suddenly realize they’ve got you utterly and completely at their mercy. I don’t get to say that about very many books – and I read rather a lot – so trust me when I say you should DEFINITELY pick this one up (after reading the first – you’ll be way lost otherwise).

My review copy was initially provided by the author. I then downloaded it on Kindle Unlimited.

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