Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire
Narrator: Amber Benson
Series: Alchemical Journeys #2
Published by MacMillan Audio on May 3, 2022
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy
Length: 16 hours, 28 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Melanie has a destiny, though it isn’t the one everyone assumes it to be. She’s delicate; she’s fragile; she’s dying. Now, truly, is the winter of her soul.
Harry doesn’t want to believe in destiny, because that means accepting the loss of the one person who gives his life meaning, who brings summer to his world.
So, when a new road is laid out in front of them—a road that will lead through untold dangers toward a possible lifetime together—walking down it seems to be the only option.
But others are following behind, with violence in their hearts.
It looks like Destiny has a plan for them, after all….
Seasonal Fears is the second book in the Alchemical Journeys series following an entirely new cast of characters who have just been set on the road to become the living embodiment of Summer and Winter. While you do not technically need to have read the first book to read this one, I think it is a good idea as some of the ideas and world building from the first book really play into this one. Plus, Middlegame was one of my more unique and intriguing reads so you are really doing yourself a favor there.
Melanie and Harry have been entwined for as long as they’ve known each other back when they were six and met. They went from best friends to something more than friends, to being the couple who will have a tragic end before they can begin. Melanie is the A Walk to Remember Fault in our Stars dying girl and Harry is the perfect boy in love with the girl who will leave him. She will love him until the day she dies and he will love her long after that. That was their story, that was their path until the King of Winter and the Queen of Summer died and set forth a new hope for them.
Harry and Melanie now have a chance to claim the crowns of Winter and Summer and get to spend long years together doing all the things they never thought they’d make it to do. One catch, there are other candidates on their way to run the labyrinth and it is a kill or be killed situation for some as there can be only one to win each crown and the rest are dead or as good as.
This is a strange, unique and wonderful world, even if some of those in it are incredibly unkind. Both Harry and Melanie are very likeable and you can’t help but root for them to win. Their journey is sometimes wonderful and other times terrible as they walk the improbable road to become what they were always meant to be.
If you were a fan of Middlegame, I think you will also find something wonderful in this book to take with you. Thankfully we also get to see what has happened to Roger and Dodger along with Tim, Kim and a few others since their story ended and I very much enjoyed that part, as it gave a bigger sense of closure to the first book.
This isn’t going to be for everyone. That said this is definitely for me. I loved the characters, the unique story and how a Summer boy and a Winter girl found their way to love each other and go on a journey to claim not a perfect life but an improbable one. The only gripe I have was the ending was a bit rushed or anticlimactic after everything we’d been through with our crew. But I’m hoping there will be futures stories set in this world and we can see where all the characters we love are at now.
I like Amber Benson for this series. She has a good voice for teens and while in Middlegame that didn’t work well for her when the kids were adults the fact that most of the characters are late teens it really lends well to the overall story. I was able to listen to this at my usual 1.5x speed
Listen to a clip: HERE
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