Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano sounds absolutely riveting on paper. A story about teenagers who’ve died and turned into seasons that run around killing each other? It doesn’t get any better than that. Throw in some kind of enemies-to-lovers romance, and I am sold. Sadly, I was left sorely disappointed.
Jack is a Winter, who’s sick and tired of being killed by Fleur, a Spring, who’s annually killed by her best friend Julio, a Summer, who is subsequently killed by his crush Amber, an Autumn. And so the cycle continues.
Fleur and Jack can never be together because inter-seasonal relationships are banned, with seasons living in segregated housing upon their deaths and return to the dormitory where they reside off-season. Jack, influenced by a teacher perceived as a mentor, gets the idea to escape Gaia and Chronos who control the seasons and their cycle in order to finally be with Fleur. They, along with their handlers and fellow seasons engage in a series of maneuvers that lead to an accidental reckoning within Gaia’s ranks. Hijinks ensue. Road trips are had. I grow more and more disappointed with each turn of the page.
Jack is fine. Fleur is fine. Anything good I could say about their characters was overshadowed by the disappointment that was this book. I guess it was interesting to have a majority male perspective, but I was definitely expecting more of a balance between the two perspectives. Most of the time, Fleur was just a love interest in a love story that was, frankly, boring as hell. They do have the star-crossed lovers aspect going for them, which is great, but as we get no flashbacks and very little history of their relationship before we know they’re in love, the relationship isn’t as interesting. There was also no animosity between them, to begin with, so my initial presumption of enemies-to-lovers was dashed, which is unfortunate because I am absolute trash for those stories.
I would have much rather liked some type of platonic “love” story between them, which could have worked (I think, better) with some minor tweaks, as it’s harder to sell a romance without much buildup. I loved Fleur and Julio’s friendship, for example, and found there to be way more chemistry between the two of them than with Jack and Fleur. The group dynamic that grows between the four seasons is leagues more interesting and heartfelt than whatever Jack and Fleur have going on as well. I much preferred Amber and Julian’s story and would have loved the book to have included their perspectives. They were the shining lights of this book for me. Even better, I would have enjoyed seeing all four of their perspectives from the time that they became “seasons,” not right before they decide to cut the cord with Kronos. This way, we might feel the full impact of the character’s relationships, and there would be a lot less boring backstory explanations.
The world-building in Seasons of the Storm was lacking, to say the least. Some of what I got, I liked. I liked the idea of handlers and choosing a different name, and the idea of transferring power between seasons. We understand bits and pieces, mostly from backstory spewed by Lyon, but much of this is historical and unrelated to the magic system (to the extent that there is one), which is what I was interested in most. This ties into the lack of information about the four seasons’ lives before, and includes the sparse time we spend during their actual seasons, after which I still didn’t grasp exactly what seasons do, which makes it easy to break down the (nonexistent) structure and develop the story however you want, but as a reader, it’s an undeniably frustrating tactic. There were times in which I felt the story’s narrative contradicted itself, especially concerning the battery element of the seasons’ powers. Books like Seasons of the Storm make me wonder if I’m incapable of grasping worldbuilding or if publishers really just don’t care about what they throw at us as long as the synopsis sounds entertaining and contains some of the requisite YA fantasy tropes.
Looking at Seasons of the Storm less critically, I liked the ending. I think sacrifice is important, and while I didn’t think that sacrifice was major, it was something. I also appreciated Lyon and Gaia and their motivations, though the latter were thrown in at the end in a way that felt rushed. If that was the intention, then it worked.
If expectations hadn’t been high for this novel, and presumptions hadn’t been made, it’s possible I might have enjoyed it more. Unfortunately, while the concept is incredible, the execution of Seasons of the Storm left me cold.