Review: Season of Wonder

Season of Wonder
Season of Wonder by Lisa Tawn Bergren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The year is 2095. Gifted teens known as Remnants have been chosen and trained to act as humanity’s last hope to rectify the horrors that are now part of everyday life.

The Community has trained these teens as warriors and assigned them Knights of the Last Order as protectors. Together, they are a force that will be difficult to bring down.

But the Sons of Sheol, of course, are determined to do just that. As the Remnants begin their mission to course-correct humanity by saving and protecting key individuals, their enemies move to stop them, placing the entire world in peril.

Seasons of Wonder is a blend of fantasy and dystopia set in a post-apocalyptic world that is divided based on faiths, particularly those following the way of the Maker and the Ailith and those who call themselves Son of Sheol. There is Pacifia, an empire ruled by a king that imprisoned his own twin brother for reasons that are not clear yet, despite the fact that both are Ailith (who are highly gifted individuals). The warriors of Ailith have been chosen from birth, and been trained for their holy duty, while being paired as a Remnant and a Knight. They are to first assemble and search out their brethren and then free their imprisoned King. The story takes them beyond their own valley and into the treacherous realm of Pacifia, where conflicting ideologies and people clash.

I admit, the faith part left me feeling a bit perplexed, considering it was all ‘Maker said it, Maker said that’ and these Ailith’s gifts relying on their spiritual aspect. Relating the faith into good and evil makes it seem like a whole lot of religious conditioning, if you ask me, however peaceful the religion claims to be. Next, the whole non-fraternizing while you are an Ailith struck me as unfair, since they have no choice in the matter as they have been forced into it from birth. Seeing it from Andriana’s eyes was quite interesting, as you can see hints of rebellion in her, her curiosity towards the darkness of Sheol too (even though she is told to NEVER even doubt her Maker) and the fact that her relationship with her knight has to be forbidden chafes her too.

I loved the adventure they had, traveling across different cities with different societal norms, and the wonder in Andriana’s eyes for the simple things we enjoy today is refreshing. Actually, it becomes hard to pin down the timeline of this world, since it has a medieval vibe but is set in the distant future. I found the world-building of the book quite lacking, seeing it is the first in a dystopian series. You would expect how the world came to be and how it got divided into how it was so besides the inadequate reason that some Great War (I am assuming it was nuclear) tore everything apart – and now left them with only vestiges of our devices and inventions. I still can’t get over how they have no electricity – they have saved books on agriculture but not basic physics?

The dynamic between the characters were interesting, though a bit predictable. Niero and Bellona were really mysterious characters, as was Azrael. The tension between Andriana and Ronan was like a backdrop to almost every scene, making that kiss quite delectable to read. I just wish we saw more of the backstory/feelings/thoughts of the other characters (like Tressa and Killian), considering they were traveling together – it made the protagonist seem selfish, more so because of her empath gift. The writing was old-styled, with dialogues reminiscent of a century past rather than of the future. Overall, a good introduction to the series but could do with more backstory and world-building.

Received an ARC from Zonderkids-Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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