Eight strangers wake up in a forest, some more battered and cold than others. They soon realise that they are part of a sick game for a live audience, and despite what looks like a winner-takes-all scenario, some must fight together if any of them are to make it out alive.
These types of stories always follow the same structure – characters wake up, paranoia clicks in, some take part in tasks followed by the big reveal. Sean O’Connor’s Weeping Season is no different, but this isn’t the fault of the author because there is only so much you can do with this type of story, similar to those set in a zombie apocalypse. What’s important is putting your own mark on it, creating unique characters and situations. However, when it comes to the characters of Weeping Season, they all, unfortunately, fall flat. And when it comes to the ending of the story, the inability to connect with the main character, Richard, affects the emotional climax.
Perhaps this is to do with the fact that the story takes a while to get going, as the focus is on the characters at first, and maybe that is where the problem presents itself. As the best part of the book lies when the characters are alone, and not when the are together. When the tasks take centre stage, it shows the story’s, and the characters’, real worth. This is also O’Connor’s strong point, his ability to create such unique scenarios, and the way he tells them pushes the story along quite nicely. This is when the book is at its strongest. This is when we see the characters for who they are.
Some of the same problems in The Mongrel (O’Connor’s debut novella) present themselves in Weeping Season. It may seem like I’m repeating myself from my review of that, but there isn’t any need to tell of us everything going on. Readers like to do a bit of the work.
All in all, it is an entertaining read when it gets going, with some unique scenarios and wonderful descriptions. O’Connor can really paint a lovely picture; but sometimes the canvas needs to be right.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️