Rating: 2.5 stars
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Storm season is coming and ranch owner Jasper Borland and the rest of the townspeople of Brightam’s Ford are preparing their farms, shops, and homes for the months during the wet season when they will be inside, safe from the destructive weather. With rain that can strip off a man’s skin and hail that demolishes buildings, most people even have safe rooms that they can escape to if necessary.
During one of the precursor storms that lead into the wet season, Jasper finds a young man, Tobias Thatcher, wounded and scrounging for shelter near his barn. Tobias is amazed to see Jasper talk to him and when Tobias touches Jasper’s lips, Tobias’ thoughts fill Jasper’s mind. Tobias is a telepath from a race of telepaths and he has never seen someone talk before. Jasper takes in Tobias to give him shelter and bind his wounds. Much later, Jasper learns that Tobias’ sister has been kidnapped and he is trying to find her. When the same people come for Tobias, Jasper agrees to help Tobias in his quest to recover his sister. But the dark forces find them first, and both men must flee Jasper’s home to avoid capture. With the storms coming and every move they make being watched, can Jasper and Tobias find his sister before its too late for all of them?
Well, let’s just make this short, shall we? Nothing about this book works for me. I usually try to find some redeeming feature or positive aspect of the story to report on but really there’s nothing here to grab onto. Starting with the world building, nothing makes any sense. We are given very little information about the planet they are on or the civilizations scattered across the continent. Apparently, the majority of the time (11 months or less depending upon the paragraph), the climate is mild, but for one (or several months, again all facts here are very “fluid”), the climate turns killer and all flee inside, locking themselves away until the season is over. Apparently the weather is worse towards the coast so many move inland (towards the river/sea?), a wild territory I think. Goods are moved by ships, which is just darn confusing because where do all those huge ships go during storm season? Apparently they have cars, trucks, and trains but on a very “non tech” level. Again, what? It’s as though the author can’t decide if this is Little House on the Prairie time or space colonists without a clue. Phones and letters are present but the technology that would accompany those things are missing. Just bits and pieces cobbled together that never come close to any cohesive history.
The characters are much the same, although I have to admit I have not had a main character before that I could classify as dumb as a box of rocks. That would be Jasper. Where to start? Jasper never questions anything. A person shows up who is a telepath, a heretofore unknown creature who can project his thoughts and feelings onto him, and what is Jasper’s response? Nothing. He just invites Tobias in without question. No really, Jasper doesn’t ask him any questions. No “hey man I can hear your thoughts, that’s cool,” no freaking out, nada. Then the man’s dog shows up who is over the top smart. Questions? Nope. Crazy men with green and black facial tats, Matrix-like overcoats, and jewels embedded in their hands show up. They have guns, things that scream bad men. So of course, he opens the door. Jasper has one layer and a total absence of any interesting features, including common sense, makes him one dull boy.
Tobias comes close to Jasper. Yes, he is a telepath, just not a smart one. It’s a case of dumb and dumber go to an alternative universe or whatever. Tobias has one conversation over and over. Condensed it amounts to: “Someone is coming. They are here. Run.” Repeat often. He also sets off town riots (cue the pitchforks and torches) and is adamant that they have to find his sister. When he gets hurt , Tobias still says he will set out to find her (although he can’t walk), so you assume she has just been recently kidnapped, correct? No, that event occurred over a year prior but he is just now in a panic. Big things don’t add up, little things don’t add up. Nothing makes any sense and after a while, I stopped trying or caring.
And then there are the unintentional howlers throughout the story. The book is just past the halfway point and it looks like the boys are going to have sex (though their attraction to one another comes out of nowhere). Now at one point, Tobias pushed his feelings onto Jasper who wasn’t happy about it. Now as they head to bed, this conversation occurs:
Tobias: “It’s too hard to stop, too hard to keep it from happening, and if I lose that concentration, I don’t know that I’ll get it back. I know I won’t get it back if I have to try again and again and again.”
Huh? And then:
Jasper: “huff. “I need to know that you’re not going to make me feel things.”
Wait, what? Isn’t that the perfect time to “feel things”? *head desk*
Plus the cliched scenes are endless. Kryee, Tobias’ dog is hunting him and here is the passage:
“What is it, girl?” Jasper asked, crouching to scratch behind the dog’s ears. He was allowed to for only a moment before she barked again and repeated her earlier antics. Carla sauntered up, her hands stuffed into her jacket. “I think she wants you to follow her.” It was a brilliant idea.
Thanks, Lassie, we get it. Timmy’s in the well.
I could continue quoting but really, what’s the point? I could pick any passage in the story and you would be able to see the lack of originality, problems with continuity, shallow characterizations, and poor dialog that abounds in Storm Season. This is the first book I have read from Nessa L. Warin so I have no idea if this is typical of her writing or something out of the norm for her. I sincerely hope it is the latter. At any rate, I read this so you didn’t have to. Give it the pass it deserves.
Cover: Two generic guys in generic winter wear. Problems with this book are everywhere, including the cover.