Book Review: Crisped + Sere (Immemorial Year Book 2) by TJ Klune

Having recently found out just how valuable Lucas is, Cavalo now has to decide whether to return Lucas to the tribe of cannibalistic "Dead Rabbits" and save his people in Cottonwood, or to keep Lucas safe and go to war. With the help of his dog, his robot friend, and the mute psychopath who has somehow gotten past his barriers and under his skin, Cavalo will have to use the remains of his sanity to convince the town of Cottonwood to fight because the future of the country could depend on it.

Book Review: Crisped + Sere (Immemorial Year Book 2) by TJ Klune | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, lgbt, m/m
Title: Crisped + Sere
Book Number: Book 2 of TBA
Pages: 340
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes used in this review were from an ARC and may be different in the final book.*

This book was not the end of the series (update: scratch that, it did end up being the end), but it did complete the story arc started in Withered + Sere. And since the two books do feel so connected, much of my review will pertain to both.

There’s just something magical about this series. It’s so dark, yet it’s so beautiful, and it’ll break your heart, but in a hopeful way rather than a sad one.

If you haven’t read the first book yet, you don’t understand how impossible this review is to write because there just aren’t words. Nothing I say can describe these books because the way they’re written is so different and beautiful. The very writing itself, not just the story, builds up into all these layers, and I could show you a million quotes, but it still wouldn’t do the books justice because it’s all the little details and nuances, the different voices Cavalo hears, the words and names each character uses, the repetition of specific phrases, the fluidity, the way everything comes together and works together and builds up onto each other—THAT is what makes it so amazing. It’s completely and utterly indescribable, and I’ve never encountered another book like it.

Another one of the amazing things about these books is Cavalo’s insanity. Does he actually hear Bad Dog and Lucas in his mind??? Every time he questioned it in this book, I would get so confused and conflicted! I feel like… I feel like he does. I believe. Does that make me insane? But he saw things this time, like a vision, even! I don’t know what’s real and what’s not sometimes in terms of what Cavalo hears and sees, and normally I hate when books are like that, but, in these books, it’s just part of the magic. It’s written in such a fluid way that, instead of confusing, it’s just wondrous. It sucks me in. And it’s never used in a sneaky way to mislead the reader, it’s simply part of the story.

Then there’s the characters, the broken, complex characters and their heart-breakingly beautiful, complex relationships. How is it that a dog, a robot, a psychopath, and a man who is maybe not quite a psychopath but still has rather questionable morals can make me so emotional and invested in them???

As for this book in particular, some of these characters were messed up (I’m looking at you, Lucas, especially in that “DO YOU TRUST ME NOW?” scene), but I felt for them. Even while they were repeatedly stabbing people, I just wanted to give them a big ol’ hug. (Ok, well, not during the stabbing. Maybe, like, after.) And every time Bad Dog or SIRS said something sweet or did something nice for the other even though they pretended to hate each other, I got all mushy inside. Every damn time. And when Cavalo felt something after seeing Lucas pet Bad Dog. And when Bad Dog was happy that the two men smelled like each other. And when SIRS caught them kissing and told Cavalo to “blink slowly.” And when Cavalo just needed to be touched. And when Lucas’s grin, that cocky, bloody, psychopath grin, faltered.

The bloody smile wavered. Trembled. And for the briefest of moments, the clever monster was gone, and in its place stood a young man, barely in his twenties, hurt and afraid, bloody and bruised, and didn’t Cavalo’s heart just ache then?

I don’t know about Cavalo’s heart, but mine sure did. Mushy. Mushy all over the place. I don’t think I even have organs in my body anymore because they all just melted at the touching moments in this book.

Of course the book was still dark and gruesome though. This one had maybe more violence because of the battles between Cottonwood and the Dead Rabbits, but it also had more light and hope.

It was also still quirky and funny. I just can’t get over that part when Hank asked if the marks on Lucas’s face were from the Dead Rabbits. The juxtaposition of the truth and the lie were so perfect. And there were other parts that cracked me up too, some with a dry kind of humor, others with what is maybe, ah… an acquired type of humor.

“Who’s Lucas?”

“The Dead Rabbit.”

Her eyes widened. “He can talk?”

“No. He wrote it in blood on the walls.”

The book was also intense sometimes. Like, completely-lost-in-the-moment, goosebumps level intense.

Anyway, I have done my absolute very best to explain how incredible these books are, even though I’m sure I’ve failed. If you’re deciding whether or not to start the series, I encourage you to read my review for the first book. If you’re deciding whether or not to continue it, well, this book had all the same stuff but with more violence, more hope, and Lucas’s fascinating backstory. To put it simply though, both books were dark, quirky, and beautiful with incredible writing and some of the most complex, broken characters I’ve ever read about, and I’ve loved every second I’ve spent reading them.


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  1. verushka

    OMG, that cover what! That is creepy CREEPY — you are definitely impressed with it, so it’s good, obviously, but that cover is seared onto my eyeballs right now!!!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha I think it’s so interesting that so many people are creeped out by the cover because I never really thought anything of it. But I definitely loved it, creepy cover or not! Go look at puppies or something now to make your eyeballs happy lol.

  2. sjhigbee

    Yes… I have to say I agree with Verushka. That cover is deeply uncomfortable! Glad to hear the books are a remarkable read – but I’m dreaming far too vividly at present and don’t sleep all that much anyway (a consequence of too much editing and not enough writing…) so will be kind to myself and give this one a miss. I really enjoyed reading your passion for the book and the series, though:). Thank you for sharing.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I find it so interesting how much everyone else seems to be affected by the cover since I’ve always thought it was just kind of plain! But I can definitely understand why these books aren’t for everyone. Thank you for reading and commenting on my review though! I really am crazy about these books 😀

  3. Lola

    I don’t think this would be a series for me as I don’t like gruesome and that cover creeps me out. But I love how enthusiastic you are about the books. It almost makes me want to read it just to understand what you’re talking about. It does sound unique and I like the sound of it being dark in a hopeful way and not a sad one.
    And the characters sound very interesting. Sometimes those characters who are messed up or broken and with questionable morals are the best ones. I am usually not a fan of not knowing for sure if what a character sees is real of nor, so that would probably bother me. I did really enjoy reading your review as it makes it obvious how much you enjoyed this book!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I don’t think it’d be for you either, and it’s not the kind of stuff you can skip over since there’s too much of it. Though as I’ve mentioned in my other comments, I think it’s so interesting how everyone else is so creeped out and affected by the cover because I’ve always just thought it seemed plain. It’s kind of growing on me though, what with everyone else’s talk of it, haha. But thank you! It’s no fun being enthusiastic and excited about a book when no one comments, so I’m glad you still are happy for me and my enthusiasm even if the book isn’t for you 😀 The writing is just so impossible to describe though.

      Normally I really do hate not know what’s real and what’s not. I hate not knowing things in books and being led on and tricked and whatnot by the author. It’s one of the reasons I avoid psychological thrillers and unreliable narrators. But these books… they just aren’t like that. The not knowing for sure is really just magical. I don’t know how else to describe it. And it’s not there to mislead or trick you in any way, it’s also just a part of the story because whether it’s real or not, it is what the character hears and sees. So it’s kind of like, even though he’s not sure either, it’s still real to him. Hard to explain, but I love it. Thanks!

  4. Michelle @ FaerieFits

    I picked up the ARC for Withered + Sere from Netgalley after reading your last review. DEFINITELY going to be reading it in August 🙂

    Weird cover on this one, btw. Does it fit with the content of book 2? It just seems so … different from the cover of book 1.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay, I’m so glad you’re going to give it a try!

      Actually, I’d say this cover is more fitting. The first book cover doesn’t seem to relate to the story at all and looks almost serene (if you ignore the fact that the poor bird is being abused).

      By by the way, are my comments not going through on your blog? I’ve left numerous comments, but they never show up, and I don’t want you to think I’m not visiting :-/ That Crimson Corset book actually sounds really great and I put it on my TBR after seeing your review!

      1. Michelle @ FaerieFits

        Huh, I think I’ve seen, like, one comment from you and it was the one I followed to your blog. When I can actually get on my computer in the morning I’ll have to see if I can figure out what’s up. I know some of my email notifications for your blog were originally going to spam, winner of your comments are too 🙁

        I do so hope you’ll like The Crimson Corset. It seems like it would be right up your alley based on the reviews of yours I’ve read 🙂

          1. Kristen Burns

            Oh no! I know I commented on the book review and on the Beautiful People post :-/ Let me know if you figure out what’s going on so that I can comment without my comments being swallowed up into the ether.

            And lol, I hate when it autocorrects words that you typed correctly.