Stepford people and alien invasions – part 1

Two weeks ago I promised you girls and guys to post a review about the Last Year serie by Trisha Leigh. Today I’m going to fulfill that promise, at least half of it, by reviewing the first two installments in the series. First, I will give you a short description of the first book, then I will tell you what I thought about it. Second, I will do the same for the second book.

Whispers in Autumn

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.

Until the autumn she meets Lucas, when everything changes.

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

Let me start by saying that I loved this book! It’s such an original and emotional story. Main character Althea is well-developed. The author lets you see into her heart and her struggles and you can’t help but feel for this lonely girl. Althea knows she’s different. She seems to experience feelings that nobody else does. Sometimes water leaks out of her eyes and other times it’s like her blood is boiling and her temperature sky-rockets. What Althea doesn’t know is that the fire inside her is not a typical human or Other thing. It’s what sets her apart. The only thing that’s a little comforting to Althea is the note inside her locket telling her that there are others like her.

The world-building in this series is really cool. Althea and the others like her travel through seasons and between cities. Not traveling in a normal sense, but more like teleporting. Funny thing about that is, Althea experiences every season except summer. This one season she seems to skip. Because of the traveling Althea has multiple sets of parents, all in a different city and a different season. And none of these seem to miss her when she’s gone. It’s like they forget about her the moment she disappears to a new season. In the meantime the other humans live like unfeeling robots, doing the exact same things at the exact same time, day in day out. Even the classes in school are exactly the same. Talk about boring lectures ;).

Added to this intruiging world is the arrival of two boys: Lucas and Deshi. Lucas is just like Althea. He seems to feel things and when Althea discovers that he has a pet fish (while animals are strictly forbidden to humans) she knows there’s more to Lucas than meets the eye. Besides, Lucas smells like winter, while Althea smells like summer (the very seasons they never seem to experience for themselves). Deshi, on the other hand makes Althea nervous and afraid, eventhough he too smells like a season (spring) and seems to feel things. There is just something about him that makes her skin crawl. The friendship and love that develops between Lucas and Althea is really sweet. It’s so nice to see them find someone that understands how they feel.

Lastly, there is the magic or rather abilities that Lucas and Althea have. Althea can use her bodywarmth to create fire with her hands, while Lucas can do the opposite and uses his cool temperature to freeze things. Then there’s also the mind control the Others use. It’s really cool!

This one is definitely a must-read!

 

 

Winter Omens

In this section there may be some spoilers about the ending of the first book, so, if you really hate spoilers don’t read this part ;).

Althea and Lucas barely escaped the Others’ clutches in the autumn, and were seperated in the process. Alone and on the run from the cruel alien race determined to exterminate her, Althea struggles to adapt and survive in a world she never imagined.

When a boy named Pax appears out of nowhere, he quickly recognizes Althea for what she is – a human/Other hybrid just like him. Althea begs him to help her find Lucas, but Pax refuses, intent on following his own mysterious agenda.

The Others’ presence continues to devour the planet’s resources, and if history is an indication, they won’t leave until Earth is destroyed beyond repair. Althea and Pax sense the only way to save themselves – and maybe their home – is to understand the powers simmering inside them.

Together they push the limits of their capabilities in the quiet Wilds, but are soon confronted with a terrifying fact: no place is safe from the relentless pursuit of the Others.

Least of all their own minds.

The development of Althea’s character throughout these books is really good. In the first book she was a lonely and somewhat scared girl that slowly discovered her strengths, and in this book she gets even stronger. She learns how to survive on her own in the Wilds, the ruined parts of America that have been reclaimed by nature and animals. Although the way Althea meets Pax is a bit too convenient and lacks a bit of subtlety, I really like the addition of another character. Pax is one of those guys that are funny, a little bit arrogant and over confident, but let you be all that you can be by pushing you to your limits. Something that Althea really needs because sometimes she’s a bit scared or reluctant to do the things that are scary or that need to be done. These two characters really complement each other.

I’m a bit sorry to say that this is one of those ya series where the never ending love triangle pops up in. I don’t know what it is, but 9 out of 10 ya books (written by female authors) seem to have one of those and I really, really, really hate them! Don’t get me wrong I love romance and most of the time both boys seem nice and pretty and what not, but what’s the fascination with these triangles? It’s not like every teenage girl on the world miraculously gets two sexy boys running after them when they turn sixteen or something! So, why do girls in ya books have to go through this whole annoying process of ‘woe is me, which boy shall I ever choose. They are both so handsome and sweet. And oh my, those abs! Look at those! Woe is me, how can I say no to one of those two rugged, sexy boys?’ Yeah, that shit gets old really fast and writers seem to enjoy the prolonged torture of their readers by smearing this indecision out across multiple books. Enough already!!! I really hope this triangle will be resolved in the next book.

Luckily, the abilities and the world-building are still really good. Althea discovers that even though the mind control doesn’t seem to work on her and the other Dissidents, this doesn’t mean that she can’t go inside her mind and explore the tunnels that link her mind to the Others’. But, this proves to be very dangerous because the Others can get into her mind just as she can get into theirs. Now she not only has to fight them in the outside world, but also within her mind.

The suspense is turned up a notch in this book and murder and torture fill the pages, making you want to read further and shout ‘no’ at the same time. So, despite the love triangle this book is also a must-read! It’s even better than the first and I really enjoyed and loved that one already :).

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