Weeping Season: Seán O’Connor
Reviewed By Steve Stred
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Matador (28 August 2019)
“A man awoke to hysterical screams.”
Last year I had the pleasure of reading ‘The Mongrel’ by O’Connor, which at that time I raved about. It still is one of the best survival tales I’ve read, but one such issue I had was I felt that the werewolf aspect was tossed in, simply to make it a werewolf story. The book would have stood on its own merits even if it had just been a battle against the elements to survive.
KR: You can read the Kendall Review for The Mongrel here
‘Weeping Season’ doesn’t suffer from any throw in’s. From word one on page one, O’Connor decides to crush our faces with desperation and horrific events and it works to the nth degree.
I’ve seen this described as a Black Mirror type book, but to be frank, I couldn’t tell you, as I’ve never watched an episode.
From where my experience sits – this was a full-on barrage of ‘Hunger Games’-meets ‘Maze Runner’ – meets ‘Saw’ – meets ‘Survivor’ – meets ‘Siberia.’
That’s as close as I can get a TV/movie comparison. I found a lot of the book reminded me of the show Siberia, which sadly only had one season. A random group of people are brought into the middle of nowhere and have tasks to complete to get rewards. The last one standing and surviving wins.
In Weeping Season though, O’Connor lets us know early and often that the chances of survival aren’t very good.
I absolutely loved the task elements and the idea of each contestant having to confront their extreme fears dead on.
The further along in the book I went the more and more I wanted to know the back story or the behind the scenes stuff that was playing out, so after finishing this, I hope O’Connor treats us to another book where it’s from the antagonists viewpoint. I can’t say much more about that as I don’t want to get into spoiler territory.
Lastly – I just wanted to touch on the ending. There is a ‘twist’ ending to this book and personally, for me, it didn’t really work, at least for what I wanted. I really dug the twist but felt it almost would’ve been served better in a different story. It wasn’t enough to derail the book or anything like that, and the ‘resolution’ for one of the characters was darkly fascinating, but I wasn’t wanting such a jarring 360-degree change.
Well done to O’Connor with ‘Weeping Season.’ I raved about his gift of prose and his ability to captivate his readers and he delivers again, showing he is easily one of the many up-and-coming dark fiction writers to keep an eye on.
A group of strangers wake up in a cold isolated forest with no memory of anything before their arrival.
Lost, hungry and wandering aimlessly, they are summoned to a campsite by a remote entity who controls their fate through a series of tortuous objectives.
Their only hope for survival is either escape from the psychological game reserve, known as Block 18, or face mortality at the hands of its maniacal moderator, who loves nothing more than watch his participants suffer.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here