2019 Reading Challenge

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

I don’t know HOW you keep doing it Jennifer Arntson, but each book in this series is better than the one before it!

Ashlund is falling apart and the Authority’s desperate attempts to hold it together aren’t working. Enter Una – sort of.

In this fourth installment, the stakes are once again ramped up for Una and her family – a “family” that is growing by leaps and bounds, due to the remarkable circumstances in which our beleaguered heroine once again finds herself. There are new villains, old villains, and villains you never expected to be villains. But as with each previous book, who falls into each category – and when and why – is a constant card-shuffle of secrets, lies, promises, and expectations (met, ignored, and selectively considered) that make life for Una even more difficult – and the reading even better.

Arntson has a remarkable ability to write dark evil deeds with a deft touch that keeps you furiously flipping pages with one hand while half-covering your eyes with the other. If there was a way to half-cover my brain while I read, I’d try it – there are gruesome and horrifying realities in Una’s world and they’re tough to read (and stomach) at times. But Arntson handles them so brilliantly, weaving them into the narrative with lyrical language that guts you and cuddles you close at the same time.

I will admit that as much as I love these stories, I can’t read them in one sitting – they’re heavy, weighty, solid books with a lot of pain and suffering, and they are written so well that you can’t help but feel the agony right along with the characters. The pages bleed with suffering, but none of it ever feels gratuitous or obligatory. It feels like reality. Una’s reality. Which I would hate to live but can’t get enough of vicariously…

This was my favorite of the books so far, I think. But don’t try to jump into the series here – you’d miss a TON of backstory and plot and things wouldn’t make any sense. This is a series to be read from the beginning – as much for the enjoyment of watching it unfold as for the necessity of doing so to comprehend the vast complexity of this world and the brilliance of the way it is being told. There’s one more book and I cannot even imagine where things will go next – there are more secrets in Ashlund than anything else, and trying to guess whose they are and when and where they will be revealed (to maximum damage, of course) would be a fool’s errand. Start at the beginning, take your time, and watch it all unravel… It’s a hell of a ride!

My review copy was provided by the author.

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