Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire
Narrator: Amber Benson
Series: Alchemical Journeys #2
Published by Publishing on May 3, 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Magic Realism
Length: 16h 28m
Pages: 482
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble// BookBub
Add to: Goodreads // StoryGraph

Melanie has a destiny, though it isn’t the one everyone assumes it to be. She’s delicate; she’s fragile; she’s dying. Now, truly, is the winter of her soul.
Harry doesn’t want to believe in destiny, because that means accepting the loss of the one person who gives his life meaning, who brings summer to his world.
So, when a new road is laid out in front of them—a road that will lead through untold dangers toward a possible lifetime together—walking down it seems to be the only option.
But others are following behind, with violence in their hearts.
It looks like Destiny has a plan for them, after all….
One must maintain a little bit of summer even in the middle of winter.” —Thoreau


Immediately after finishing Middlegame, I picked up the second book in the Alchemical Journeys trilogy, Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire. I wasn’t sure how I would feel going into this because I was so in love with Roger and Dodger’s story, it felt like a betrayal to move onto different characters so quickly. Well friends, I was wrong. I absolutely was so moved and loved this book so much more than Middlegame. Now, there are going to be slight spoilers (not really but world wise) for Middlegame. If you haven’t read that yet (why are you here?) go read it then come back.

The story and tension was straightforward and direct. Instead of wondering how we get to the ending we begin with in Middlegame, we start with all of the information in Seasonal Fears and need to piece if it will be enough. We get more worldbuilding and in a way that makes sense because it has to be explained to our two main characters who were raised thinking they were just normal regular kids. There are monarchs for the Summer and Winter seasons. When they die, a competition is held to crown them anew. Folks seem to be chosen at random/have some slight essence of their season that awakens on the death of the current monarch. With it being so straightforward, the tension builds and the focus on Melanie and Harry’s relationship is unhindered.

Where Middlegame focuses on the absolute truth of the universe, we move to more secondary forces in Seasonal Fears, following the potential incarnations of Summer and Winter. And I’m in love with them. More than I loved Roger and Dodger. Is it because they are more human/relatable? Maybe. But I think it has much more to do with them being so steadfast and certain on their path. Henry is a rich kid who loves football, his parents, and his girlfriend Melanie. That’s it. That’s what matters to him. That’s all that has ever matted to him. His one universal truth since he was a child was Melanie and that he was hers. Melanie, meanwhile, is a dying girl that should have never been. She has spent her entire life preparing others for her death, especially Harry. They have been each other’s universal truths until secrets start trickling out. Going through this process of wading through to figure out what is real, what has been forced, and what was a freely made choice is heartbreaking.

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire is not Middlegame. It follows a different story and gets to that ending through different means. I need you to understand that when you pick this up because I see so many others disappointed that it isn’t Middlegame. This is a story where you have the pieces and have to put the puzzle together before anyone else does. There’s loyalty and devotion, and what spoke most importantly of all to me, discovering the reality of free will and choice. I absolutely recommend Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire. It was absolutely amazing.


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