"We don't know who the monsters are anymore,"
21 days...that's how long Cavalo, Lucas, Bad Dog, SIRS and the people of Cottonwood have to prepare themselves for what will be the battle for their lives and what is left of the world that they know. Can it be enough? Do they have a chance against Patrick and his Dead Rabbits? Probably not...but there are worse things than dying...things such as giving up your freedom, watching those you love die cruel and brutal deaths, watching as all you hold dear is taken from you and destroyed piece by piece while you stand by complacently knowing that this is only the beginning of the end and that you failed to even try to stop it...to make a difference in the outcome...again.
'Crisped & Sere' is the second book of TJ Klune's series 'Immemorial Year' and like the world itself there is nothing gentle or kind about the force with which the author took me back to this world...to this time and all it's harsh brutality.
“People like… us. Who we are. We never live long. We’re not meant to.”
While the plot of this ook was so emotionally draining and left me in pieces it was the strength of its characters that kept me going...kept me reading and wanting to get to the end. Characters like Bad Dog...
No. We’re MasterBossLord and Bad Dog. We get bad guys and make them pay! And no matter where you run, if bad guys are after you, they’ll find you. It doesn’t matter how far you get, they’ll find you. It’s better to turn and fight than get shot in the back with a boomstick.
Cavalo who fought his madness to save a town and the family he created for himself knowing that in the end they would all probably die but making a stand together was better than dying alone.
Lucas...mute, raised in a savage world that many would not survive by a father devoid of goodness, compassion or any form of love. Wiling to place his trust in a man whose nature is every bit as savage as his own and fighting beside that man to save people who would sooner kill him than have him among them.
SIRS (Sentient Integrated Response System) that's right a robot. A robot who repeatedly brought me to tears with his humanity.
"...and you will watch his back like you've never done before. I know he tells himself he doesn't need that, that he's doesn't need anyone, but it's a lie. It's a lie he chooses to believe most of the time. He needs you both just like you'll need him. If you can keep each other safe, then you can all come home, and we can pretend this all was a very bad dream."
Of all the amazing characters TJ Klune has created with this series, SIRS is the one broke my heart, grabbed me emotionally and wouldn't let go. Made me cry those damned big ugly face tears that we all hate. It was SIRS who constantly brought humanity to light in the cold, harsh brutality that was the world of this book...
"You have fucked with the wrong people," SIRS announced, squaring his shoulders. "And now I am going to make sure you never hurt my family again."
This is not a story of sunshine and happiness of love and laughter but mired in the darkness, the cruelty and despair there is strength and determination, trust, friendship, hope and love. So much love in so many different forms.
We see it in Cavalo and all he does to try and save/protect his friends/family as he repeatedly refuses to abandon those he cares about and in his relationship with Lucas, while neither of them every puts a name to it, probably would have denied it and it may not necessarily have been the healthiest example of a relationship it was reflective of the world. That either of them was willing to die or kill for the other was undeniable.
SIRS and Bad Dog neither of them human but both are willing to give their lives to protect those they bound to by nothing more than love, loyalty and friendship.
For all the other thousands of reasons to read this book...those being that every word of this story is extraordinary, SIRS is the part of this story that stole my heart and of course there's the...uuummm...ending...sweet baby jeebus the ending was for me sheer perfection or as perfect as an non-ending, ending can be in a book about what happens after the apocalypse.
An ARC of 'Crisped & Sere' was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.