A Season of Sinister Dreams

Little, Brown. Jun. 2021. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316460408.
Gr 7 Up–Still grieving the death of his son and heir during the Sickness years earlier, the elderly king of Tyne forces all magic workers to the capital, where they can prolong his life and protect the castle while the rest of the kingdom suffers. Annalise has spent years in the castle secretly using her unwieldy magic to weave a web of influence around the king, his grandson (and her cousin) Prince Kendrik, and the king’s advisors. Annalise hopes to exact revenge on the king for her mother’s death—a plan that is close to fruition when Annalise accidentally uses her magic on Kendrik, leaving him hidden and monstrously transformed while Annalise becomes the new heir. Meanwhile, Evra’s quiet country life is ruined when her magic manifests years later than expected, making her the first girl ever to become a Clearsee. As magical prophets, Clearsees (usually men) use their magic to interpret visions meant to guide and protect the kingdom. While Annalise prepares for her coronation, Evra reluctantly arrives at the capital where she sees cryptic visions hinting at danger. But is the danger a threat to Tyne’s rulers or is it the rulers themselves? This plot-driven standalone fantasy alternates between Annalise and Evra’s first-person perspectives. Both narrations feel claustrophobic, leaving readers and characters floundering. Themes of agency as both heroines try to defy expectations are undermined by extremely limited worldbuilding and backstories that never fully explain character motivations or actions—particularly Annalise’s. Characters are coded as white.
VERDICT Fans of Banghart’s Grace and Fury will appreciate this book’s strong female leads, fast-paced action, and the focus on Evra and Tam’s friendship despite other shortcomings.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing