Althea and Lucas barely escaped the Others’ clutches in the autumn, and were separated in the process. Alone and on the run from the cruel alien race determined to exterminate her, Althea struggles to adapt and survive in a world she never imagined.
When a boy named Pax appears out of nowhere, he quickly recognizes Althea for what she is – a human/Other hybrid just like him. Althea begs him to help her find Lucas, but Pax refuses, intent on following his own mysterious agenda.
The Others’ presence continues to devour the planet’s resources, and if history is an indication, they won’t leave until Earth is destroyed beyond repair. Althea and Pax sense the only way to save themselves – and maybe their home – is to understand the powers simmering inside them.
Together they push the limits of their capabilities in the quiet Wilds, but are soon confronted with a terrifying fact: no place is safe from the relentless pursuit of the Others.
Least of all their own minds.
(Description from Goodreads)
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I reviewed the first book of The Last Year series (Whispers in Autumn) back during the summer, where I gave it a 6 out of 5 stars rating; Winter Omens, the second book in this series, is right up there with being just as outstanding as the first book.
Winter Omens takes up where Whispers in Autumn left off. Althea and Lucas have been separated, so Althea sets off to find him. She has been transported to her winter sanctioned city in Iowa, far away from Lucas (who we later finds out has been transported to the summer sanctioned city of Atlanta.) Of course, Althea has not time to rest, as the note she received from Cadi (one of the Spirtans helping the dissidents) saying she needs to run. Not one to take something like this lightly, Althea packs whatever she can to survive the harsh winter (at least for some time) and heads for the wilds. From the very beginning, Winter Omens is nonstop action.
Even though Lucas doesn’t appear until practically the very end (sorry if that spoils it for anyone!), I really liked the introduction of some new characters, namely Wolf and Pax. First off, Wolf is a dog. At first, Althea thinks that he’s a wolf, as he looks very much like one, but come to find out later, he’s just a scruffy dog. But he’s not just any dog – he’s Althea’s first “pet.” After staying in the wilds, Wolf started to hang out Althea in the abandoned house she made herself home in. The two didn’t trust one another at first, but after some time, Althea began feeding Wolf and he started to hunt for her to cook in return. From then on, Wolf never left Althea’s side. In every single scene that featured Wolf, I always found myself smiling, but I was also panicked; I was so afraid something bad was going to happen to him. He did get beat up a few times that left me tearing up that maybe they would go one without him or he would die in battle, but I was relieved how Althea and Pax cared for the dog, no matter what happened. I’m such a huge animal person, so I was very happy to have an animal involved in such a huge way.
And then…there’s Pax. Oh, Pax. What a situation Althea finds herself in…Lucas vs. Pax. Of course, Lucas is gone for a good portion of the book, so the focus is either on Pax’s physical presence or finding Lucas. As discovered in Whispers in Autumn, there are four dissidents; Althea is summer and Lucas is winter. Well now Pax is here and he is autumn; we later learn that Deshi (the REAL Deshi, not the Prime’s son) is spring. From the get go, I liked Pax, mostly because of how Althea described him as smelling like autumn with cinnamon and apples…can’t you just smell that scent now? Which leads us to Althea’s predicament, as she finds herself attracted to Pax like a magnet: Lucas or Pax? Oh the situations these young adult heroines find themselves in 😉 Pax is the opposite of Lucas; while Lucas wants to protect Althea, Pax pushes her to fend for herself. Even though Pax and Althea make sure to stay away from each other (in the sense of no physical contact), they can’t help but feel drawn to one another. Both are definitely great guys; by the end of the book, I don’t think even Althea knows who she likes more. Maybe she likes them both because they are dissident and truly understand her? Perhaps.
There are two other characters that make an appearance in this book that have left me quite curious about them: the twins, Griffin and Greer. Greer doesn’t show up until towards the end, but Griffin is present throughout, though Althea and Pax are unaware of who he is until about halfway through. Much is still unknown about them at this point, but they are definitely interesting. Greer appears to be more level-headed than her brother, who stills leaves me confused about whether or not I like his character. Hopefully the two will be featured more in the third installment of the series.
There is way more action in this book than in the first of the series. Between elemental usage and mental penetration, the action never stops. Seriously. It never does. Once again, I found I had to force myself to stop reading, as I would find myself up at three in the morning still reading this book. The Others have found how to access Althea’s mind: during the periods when she is unconscious. During these times, they can find her through her alcove (read the book…it explains it) and through there they are capable of retrieving information from her by torturing her even though she’s not physically there and is merely asleep. The Others do not mess around, especially the Prime and his two children (his daughter is extremely creepy. Kind of like a person that seriously needs a straight jacket.) The mental penetrations that are carried out are extremely painful, often leading the victim to feeling like their brain is literally melting inside of their head, along with other painful happenings. However, Althea finds a way to outsmart the Others, thanks to her mother, Fire, and Pax. Althea knows that she must keep the one secret she discovered in Whispers in Autumn from the Others ever finding out, otherwise all humans will be in danger.
I feel like I barely touched on anything about this book in this review, but there was just so much in it that I’d be typing here all day if I did. I love that these books come out only a few months apart, so I don’t have to wait an entire year like some books. Thankfully, the third installment (centering around spring) comes out around December 11 and the last installment (focusing around summer) comes out sometime in February. You can best believe I’ll be reviewing those books as well!