Book Review: Withered + Sere (Immemorial Year Book 1) by TJ Klune

The world is still in ruins 100 years after a catastrophic event. Cavalo, unable to handle his own demons, is going insane and spends most of his time in an abandoned prison with his dog and a robot as his best friends. But one day he crosses to the other side of the forest where a cannibalistic group of people known as the Dead Rabbits lives and ends up taking one of them, a mute psychopath, prisoner. Cavalo doesn't know why he doesn't just kill him, but this mute prisoner he knows nothing about ends up somehow getting past Cavalo's barriers and changing everything.

Book Cover - Withered + Sere (Immemorial Year Book 1) by TJ Klune - book cover
Title: Withered + Sere
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 327
My Rating: 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.*


How do you even write a review for such an indescribable book???

It was just so different.

A unique, powerful kind of different.

This man, Cavalo, he kind of hears voices in his head that he refers as bees because they buzz at him and crawl under his skin. And sometimes he gets lost to his own demons and relives the horrors of his past. And sometimes he sees and hears things that aren’t there. And he often kind of personifies things or just imagines the thoughts of others as though they’re real based on their actions and facial expressions. And his dog reads his thoughts and understands his words and responds back to Cavalo in his head, which he thinks he’s imagining but isn’t quite sure. In fact, he isn’t quite sure whether anything is real or imaginary sometimes because he’s losing his sanity, which he refers to as rubber bands, and they’re snapping.

I know, I know, all of that sounds confusing, right?

Well it wasn’t. And it wasn’t a psychological mindfuck type of book either. It was just a book about a man whose mind was a riveting place to be, and it was all written in a way that was so damn smooth and fluid and amazing that I started to forget that some of it might not be quite real and willfully flowed right into the insanity with him.

But it was more than just the writing that was incredible. The characters were so complex and interesting and broken. Even the dog and the robot. And the bonds between them were equally as complex, interesting, and, sometimes, broken. There was even a tiny sliver of what you might technically call romance (or rather a setup for future romance), and it too was complex since it was far more bloody and murderous than it was romantic. *SPOILER ALERT* But that first kiss! I stopped and went back to reread it again because just—the two of them—the bees screamed—SO PERFECT! *END SPOILER ALERT*

This book was really dark, disturbing, and tragic at times—I’m no stranger to dark books, but this one had even me cringing at the horror of some of the violence and torture and death—so it won’t be for everyone. But it was also quirky and funny at other times. Sometimes the two even overlapped to form some really macabre humor. And all of this just worked because it was so seamlessly blended together.

The [man] stared down at the tarp-wrapped body of Thomas.

“You can’t eat him,” Cavalo said, more harshly than he intended. “He’s been dead a while, and the body is probably halfway frozen. Don’t you try and eat him.”

The only issue I had was that I didn’t quite understand the ending and felt like the story was incomplete (as in, I know it’s part of a series, but I think Book 1 could’ve included more), but I’m letting it slide because there will be another book and because it was just that good.

As for that afterword and that line that says, “There is a war coming. And war always has casualties“?

Them’s fightin’ words, TJ Klune.

But anyway… Yeah. This book. Dark. Quirky. Gruesome. Funny. Tragic. Different. Beautiful. Really, you just have to read it to understand. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.


Book Tags:

Basic Info

Book Author:
Genre: , , ,
My Rating:

More Info (Possible Spoilers)


Talk to me!

Have you read Withered + Sere by TJ Klune?
Have you ever, or would you want to, read about a character who's going insane?


Your Thoughts


15 thoughts on “Book Review: Withered + Sere (Immemorial Year Book 1) by TJ Klune

I'd love if you'd share your thoughts, too!


Reading your comments makes me a very happy blogger!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Lola

    To me his mind sounds like a creepy place to be. I don’t think this one would be a book for me, if it had you cringing sometimes I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the book at al. But I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. It sure sounds like an original book. And wow a 5 star rating, you don’t give those out often. It does sound nice how it all worked together and how it has exactly those type of characters you like to read about. I hope you’ll enjoy the next book in the series just as much as this one!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I wouldn’t call it creepy, but it’s definitely not for you. I even thought of you while I was reading it lol, kind of what you said, like, man, if even I’m having a hard time reading some parts, Lola would hate this 😛 But gah, it was so original! Thank you, I definitely enjoyed it, and nope, don’t give those 5s out often. But I kept, like, postponing making food even because I didn’t want to stop reading for even one minute to go turn the oven on lol.

  2. AngelErin

    You had me with these 3 D’s- Different, dark, and disturbing. It sounds right up my alley! I’ll have to add this one to my to read this for sure. ??

    1. Kristen Burns

      Don’t you love how words like “disturbing” are the ones that actually make us WANT to read a book? Lol sometimes I wonder about my sanity 😉 BUT YES YOU SHOULD READ IT. I figured you’d one of the people who might be interested 😀

      1. AngelErin

        I am a big horror fan and so I’m definitely okay with disturbing. I wonder about my sanity as well, why is all this so interesting to me!!?? Yes, this book does sound rally fascinating though! 🙂

        1. Kristen Burns

          Right? Like, how did disturbing end up becoming a good thing to me?! Lol. I really did love this book though. Let me know when you get around to reading it 🙂

  3. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    Okay, Kristen, I’m really on the fence about this one. You love it so much that it makes me want to read it, but it sounds maybe too strange for me? I have a hard time with books that are just so way out there … BUT I enjoy books with unreliable, possibly crazy narrators. Hmmm … I know you said it’s on NetGalley. Maybe I should give it a try and give myself the grace to DNF it if it’s just not for me.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I can definitely understand that this book isn’t for everyone and don’t know your taste well enough to say whether I think you’d like it, but obviously you know how I feel about it lol. It’s a different kind of book, but not in an absurd way, if that’s what bothers you. But it is dark and rather violent and gruesome. So if that bothers you, I don’t recommend it. If you have a Hoopla account you could give it a try without worrying about submitting a review 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes! I also love when books are just able to pull you into their depths like that. Which, for me, pretty much always tends to be dark and violent lol. But I’m so crazy about this book, so I am definitely of the opinion that it’s a good read!

  4. Aralyn

    I saw your review for C+S (don’t worry, I didn’t read it, since I haven’t read this) and I just had to see what you wrote for W+S. I haven’t looked at any reviews for it, yet, dunno why.
    Your “recommended for” section fits me to a T. Holy crap, I cannot wait to read this book. The covers alone for these were incentives to buy, but I’m holding off for now (money troubles).
    This review sounds amazing and I love how you described it, like with the characters and such. Sounds right up my alley.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Just for future reference, I generally try to stay spoiler-free for previous books when I review books in a series. At least, I don’t mention anything that the blurb doesn’t or that I really think will ruin anything. But obviously even mentioning a character means he didn’t die in the previous book which could be a spoiler, or something like that, so I totally get not wanting to read reviews for later books. I avoid those sometimes too for fear of previous spoilers.

      Anyway, you HAVE to read this!!! Especially if that recommended for section describes you! I believe both W+S and C+S are on Netgalley right now as “Read Now” books (which means you wouldn’t even need to request, you just click the button). So you could get them for free if you’re willing to write reviews 🙂 And they’re on Hoopla if you have a library card and want to borrow the ebooks. I think it’s funny how everyone feels so strongly about the covers though since I actually don’t like them? I think they’re so plain and don’t do the books justice :-/ But obviously I think the books themselves are amazing!

  5. Pingback: Withered + Sere - Cascade Badge – FaerieFits