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2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
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Book Review: Scavenger Girl: Season of Hytalia by Jennifer Arntson

Merciful heavens Jennifer Arntson, but you keep outdoing yourself!

I have reviewed the first two books in this series (here and here) – if you haven’t seen those reviews/read the books, you should definitely do so before diving into this one. This is a highly character- and world-driven series and it would be difficult to jump into it mid-stream. Plus you’d miss out on the incredible writing and originality in the earlier books, and that would be a shame in itself…

In this third season, Una finds herself reunited with her family (finally) but with so many changes on the wind that it’s a good thing she didn’t envision them all at the start or she might never have left the house! We are in the rainy season now, a time of growth and new beginnings – and a more apt description of the tone and tenor of this episode cannot be imagined. As one would expect of such a season, the story is lighter than previous installments – finally, there are at least *some* lights at the end of Una’s tunnel that don’t involve oncoming trains! – but make no mistake, Una’s path remains as mobius strip-like as in previous books, with her decisions and their consequences folding in, around, over, and back onto themselves in the way we’ve grown to expect and love.

This is such a gloriously imagined world, full of characters who feel identifiable yet wholly original and plot lines and sub-lines that are complex and full of surprises yet also never lose the feeling that they following a definite path and story arc. It’s a fine edge to walk, but Arntson manages it with a cool finesse that makes it look easy, even though it must be a logistical nightmare to keep everything progressing in such a twistingly linear fashion from book to book…

This is not a series for the faint of heart. Una’s world is not a very forgiving one and Arntson faces the good, the bad, and the ugly with the same level of descriptive candor. It makes for difficult reading from time to time, but as with the seasons themselves, there is a balance to all things and the light IS there, even if it occasionally requires a bit of page shuffling to find it. The book ends on less of a cliffhanger than the previous title; that’s good on one hand because teasers can be painful while you wait for the next book, but it’s also a little maddening (in a good way) because it leaves you with no clue where the many interconnected storylines will go next. For an author that’s a great problem to have because it offers so many possibilities; for a reader (at least, this reader) such great problems are still problems because they require patience until the next book is available!

My review copy was provided by the author.

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