In a world ravaged by fire and descending into madness, Cavalo has been given an ultimatum by the dark man known as Patrick: return Lucas to him and the cannibalistic Dead Rabbits, or the town of Cottonwood and its inhabitants will be destroyed.
But Lucas has a secret embedded into his skin that promises to forever alter the shape of things to come—a secret that Cavalo must decide if it’s worth dying over, even as he wrestles with his own growing attraction to the muted psychopath.
Cavalo has twenty-one days to prepare for war. Twenty-one days to hold what is left of his shredded sanity together. Twenty-one days to convince the people of Cottonwood to rise up and fight back. Twenty-one days to unravel the meaning behind the marks that cover Lucas.
A meaning that leads to a single word and a place of unimaginable power: Dworshak.
Immemorial Year, book 2
Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic
340 e-book pages
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Christ on a crispy cracker.
Where have I been and what have I done?
Do you know about TJ Klune?
See, he’s pretty well known around these parts for HUMOR. He’s pretty well known for SWEET stuff that nestles its way right into your heart. He writes hornless gay unicorns for fuck sake, and found families, and sometimes werewolves, and things that are HAPPY, dammit.
He took whatcha might call A TURN with this series.
It is DARK. It is GRITTY. It is unapologetic in its cannibalistic gore in a desolate post-apocalyptic setting.
JUST HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY I DON’T READ THIS KIND OF STUFF BEFORE I’LL BELIEVE ME?
A few more, apparently, because it’s like some universal truth or something that I hafta read everything this guy writes. Except…there’s a zombie story of his I haven’t read yet. I’m holding out. Gotta. Because this? THIS is about as out there as I’ll let TJ take me with people-eaters and talking dogs and sentient robots. But hey, zombies might be a walk in the goddamn park after this. WHO KNOWS, EVEN?
Alright. Brass tacks time.
This is book two of a series. The first left off on a mighty cliffhanger which is probably why I pounced on this.
And man, I thought the first one was dark and twisty. This one takes it further, to places my own nightmares don’t dare to tread.
There’s a bad guy leading some other bad guys and dishing out ultimatums, and a war, and mind-fucks, and all sorts of barbaric business.
Somehow, because he’s a word-wizard, TJ makes all this poetic. Somehow he manages to orchestrate this twisty tale like a maestro — the pacing, the characters, the drama, the emotional layers, the singular note of hope that resonates throughout. It’s probably the hope that kept me spellbound watching all the other bits colliding.
I’m still shaking my head because these aren’t exactly likable characters. So what made me care? I don’t know the answer. Maybe because when the world is a shambles and every day is a life or death kind of thing we need to know that there are shreds of humanity still out there worth clinging to. Yeah. I’ll go with that.
This series may not be for everyone. If someone just told me about a book like this I’d say yeaaahhh…noooo thanks. But, clearly, I trust this author with my cardiovascular and mental health while reading outside my comfort zone because I could NOT turn away.
Crisped + Sere takes a strong constitution along with the willingness to let the imagination be led to strange and obscure places full of shady characters. It’s an engaging journey, though, even if I might not sleep for a few weeks.
About the Author:
When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, over two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.
Since being published, TJ has won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance, fought off three lions that threatened to attack him and his village, and was chosen by Amazon as having written one of the best GLBT books of 2011.
And one of those things isn’t true.
(It’s the lion thing. The lion thing isn’t true.)