Thursday, June 9, 2022

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire


I feel like I have been waiting for this book for years! I really, really enjoyed it, but I might have built it up in my head a little too much. 

I love Seanan McGuire. (Note: I review a bunch of her books so I am copying part of some of my other reviews here to save time.). She has quickly become my favorite living writer and I feel very lucky that she is so prolific. I was first introduced to her work when her book Parasite, written as Mira Grant, was nominated for a Hugo Award. I loved it and quickly devoured the Newsflesh series before I realized that Mira Grant and Seanan McGuire were the same person. 

I started reading her works under her own name, starting with Sparrow Hill Road, which is amazing, but I picked it because I was intimidated by her long running October Daye series. I had read some Urban Fantasy before, and I fondly remember Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde books, but my tastes run more to science fiction and then secondary world fantasy, so I was hesitant to dive into such a long series. I picked up the first book, Rosemary and Rue, when it was on sale as a kindle daily deal, and I found it somewhat disappointing compared to her other work. I reminded myself that it was her first published novel, so I cut it some slack. Then Incryptid was nominated for the Best Series Hugo in 2018 and I dove into that instead. I loved it! So I vowed to give Toby another chance. And I was so glad that I did! It is no one of my favorite series. 

I really enjoyed Middlegame when it came out and voted for it as best novel on the Hugo Awards at the time. The writing there was lyrical and a little dreamlike in a way that was a little different from most everything else of hers (but reminded me of the Parisitology books a little). 

I remember going to a comic book store in October 2019 when I got her to sign some Ghost Spider and Nightcrawler comics (she was amazing, BTW, and was so kind to my then 7-year-old daughter, who was wearing a ghost spider hooded sweatshirt) and asking her if there would be a follow up to Middlegame. She couldn’t tell me that there would be, so I was extra excited when Seasonal Fears was finally announced. I was even more thrilled when I realized that it was a book she had been talking about for years on her livejournal blog. 

So I was overjoyed when The publisher and NetGalley awarded me an audio eARC of Seasonal Fears (I had already preordered a kindle copy beforehand).  This was a fantastic book in so many ways. I loved the writing style, so very reminiscent of Middlegame. I loved Harry and Melanie, and how real they felt as little kids in the earlier parts of the narrative. I loved the entire Seasonal control structure we learn about in this book. I wish we had spent more time with Harry and Mel as teenagers before their world changed, so I could’ve appreciated their loss more. And I feel like there was a place about 1/3 of the way through where the story dragged a bit, when Harry kept asking Jack the same things over and over again. I also felt the conclusion was a bit rushed. That being said, I really enjoyed this book a ton, and as a bonus, it was nice to see Roger and Dodger again!

I was less pleased with the audiobook narrator. I loved Amber Benson on Buffy, but she just left me feeling flat on this audiobook. She didn’t engage me and I kept feeling myself drifting. I don’t think she did anything wrong, but her style just didn’t work for me. 

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