Going to college, making friends, experimenting with long-forgotten deities who alter your mind, just your basic girl goes to college story, right?
Wait… one of these things might be different from the others…
Season of Secrets by Kerry E. B. Black starts off as an incredibly relatable story of a young woman starting her freshman year of college and making new friends on campus. Even before the supernatural fun gets started the leading character, Casey Adams, is someone you will get attached to immediately. She’s an intelligent girl who has had to grow up far too fast due to a very rough home life. She’s determined and kind and because of the support of her aunt and young siblings, she pushes herself to pursue higher education. And, reluctantly, even make some friends.
One random connection turns into a whole group of friends pulled together by a few romantic sparks and one badass concert.
After the group forms their tentative friendships they get invited to a super exclusive event, one that explores a less mainstream religious ritual. There they share a life-altering experience that flips their lives sideways. Everyone who attended the ritual starts to experience bizarre phenomenon. Nightmares, visions, and impulses new to their personalities start to shift the focus of the story and expand it to new heights. Supernaturally horrific ones.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Especially the quietly steadfast Casey. I see a lot of myself in that character and could really empathize with the overwhelming feeling of getting started at school as a new student. Suddenly free to make you own choices- and mistakes.
The mystery and chaos that unfolds as the group of friends progress through the story was addictive and made this book incredibly difficult to put down. I literally read this book in about a 16 hour go. I made the mistake of starting it before going to bed and then I was completely unable to sleep because I HAD to know what was going to happen next. I read until my eyes literally couldn’t stay open anymore. As soon as I woke up, I was right back into it. (I regret nothing.)
Season of Secrets is the perfect coming of age story for people looking to read YA horror with mystical elements like, “The Craft,” and that familiar style of mind-bending horror often seen in Stephen King’s work.
The only constructive criticism I feel like I can give this book is on the cover art. And I do not think it is an issue with the design, just an issue with how it printed. I have noticed (from my own experience designing covers) that when book covers are printed on the matte style paper, the blacks get very crushed compared how they look when viewed digitally. The design itself is really cool, showing a fiery figure manifesting above a bonfire surrounded by a group of people. That crushing of the blacks in the printing process really lost a lot of the details in the smoke and trees. If there a second printing or when the 2nd book of the series comes out, I hope that tiny adjustment is made so the artwork can better shine once printed.
And that was probably the weirdest knit-pick ever.
But all at that being said. “Season of Secrets,” by Kerry E. B. Black is a 5 out of 5 star read, and I cannot recommend it enough. The characters were great, the pacing energetic, and the story is loads of fun to read. Kerry E. B. Black has a unique storytelling style that I have fallen in love with in short story forms on podcasts and reading a longer work from her has the same fabulous impact.
I am massively looking forward to reading book 2 of the series!
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