White Winter (The Black Year Saga 2)

White WnterHey folks, so I’ve been doing a ton of reading lately (though not near enough writing), which I’m chalking up to having a newborn around. It takes me a while to get reviews up but I plan to post reviews for Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass and Stephen King’s Revival. Until then, I leave you with the review for D.J. Bodden’s White Winter, which just released today (March 10th). Hope you enjoy the review, and be sure to check out the Black Year Saga—it’s definitely worth checking out.

White Winter (From the back): White Winter picks up 5 days after Black Fall ended. Now a probationary enforcer with the Agency, Jonas can finally take time to process what happened to him and get back to being a regular teenager.

Just kidding. It’s the end of the world and Jonas is in the driver’s seat. More rogues, more bullets, more explosions, and more dog jokes. Gunplay and swordplay. A grudge-match 4000 years in the making. Follow Jonas, Kieran, Eve, and the rest of the team as they put down a supernatural insurgency and pave the way to the Balance in ash, blood, and bone

The MC: The primary main character is Jonas Black, a sixteen-year-old who is anything but typical. He’s near vampire royalty, though he’s also something much more: part-daywalker, part sorcerer, full on badass. Even if he is still a kid. In Black Fall, Jonas—who thought he was human for most of his life—uncovers the existence of the supernatural community and struggles to find his place within its ranks. In White Winter, Jonas is still navigating ever new waters, but he’s much more competent and able, and he also has some cool new powers that are fun to watch him grow into.

Typically, I don’t read or like most YA, but despite Jonas’ age and relative inexperience, I like the kid. He’s not whiny or entitled (both of which I hate in YA), and a broad cast of characters that feature some salty former military personal, balance out the YA feel nicely. As with Black Fall, White Winter has a full cast of secondary characters—Eve, Jonas’ girlfriend, for example—but, for the most part, they feel fleshed out and not extraneous, which is a hard trick to pull off.

The World: The world building was great. Though you do see most of the same standard urban-fantasy creatures—vampires, werewolves, demons, and a spattering of others—they are all uniquely different from other types you’ve seen out there. The supernaturals work for, and are policed by, the Agency: a shadowy, covert organization that has a compact with the highest levels of human government—doing unpleasant black ops and, in return, being left mostly alone. There are also human hunters, folks who have stumble across the supernatural and actively seek to protect humanity at large.

The Story and Writing: As with Black Fall, this is where White Winter really shines. First, Bodden is a great writer—his use of language is clear and concise, never getting bogged down by over-writing, purple-prose, or overly-pretentious literary style. The man’s got a story to tell, knows what he wants to say, and doesn’t beat around the bush. I envy that in his writing. The story itself is also intriguing and fast paced, mixing in dashes of humor and hints of deep emotion. Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with White Winter—it’s a solid follow-up to a great debut and I look forward to seeing where the series is headed.

The Rating: Four and a half stars. A strong follow up that offers something quite different to a stale and often annoying YA market place. Buy it here: White Winter

You can also see what the awesome ladies over at OneBookTwo think about White Winter.