Please note this book is the second in the A Hollow Dream series, the first being A Hollow Dream Of Summer’s End. This review will have some connections to the first book which could be classed as spoilers so if you want to read it first then check this review out I can understand that. I can also highly recommend reading A Hollow Dream of Summer’s End which is a novella (and currently FREE for the Kindle edition on Amazon and has been for some months), although Eternal Autumn stands up perfectly well by itself.
Aiden Park is 12. He has just died. He knew this anyway. The monsters are coming for him. A stranger appears from nowhere and helps him to escape the monsters through underground tunnels and leads him to the Eternal Autumn and the city of Everland. Aiden’s mind is swimming with questions. Is he really dead? Who are all of the people in the city? Who are the Outlanders and the Dismemberer’s? What magic does the tree give? Does it give a second death or a second chance at life? Aiden needs to firstly discover who is telling him truths and who should never be trusted.
This book is quite simply stunningly superb. Anything I have read before by Andrew Van Wey has totally captured me and had me totally mesmerized by his writing. Eternal Autumn goes one step further…..it grabs you by the squidgies and just refuses to let go until you reach the last page.
Aiden is obviously dead. There is no going back from that. You find that out at the end of Summer’s End. He knows it. The man who rescued him knows it (I won’t tell you who he is). Everyone in Everland knows it. The problem is that everyone else in Everland know a lot more than they are telling him and some of them are keeping secrets that no one expects.
The descriptive writing in this story, painting the picture of Everland, is just mouth-watering. You forget you are reading a story about dead people. The world is amazing. It’s huge. The way it is written just gets your imagination running totally wild and the world turns out as big as your mind wants it to be. This sets the scene for the rest of the story because you always have that backdrop in your mind’s eye and it makes it very easy to get lost in it. Imagine the first time you saw Avatar (if you have). I bet when you looked at the screen at the world you just thought “WOW”. Now think about your mind thinking that through reading it instead of looking at it. Such is the power of this writing, creating a world where the seasons never change and the sun never sets.
The characters are fantastic. You have Aiden who grows up very fast for a 12 year old although in Everland you can be there for decades and your outward appearance does not change. You have his rescuer who is much older and appears to be much wiser but can he be trusted? On Aiden’s side you have Colin and Evie. Colin’s humour comes through brilliantly and you can’t help but love him. He passed over when only one Star Wars film existed and can’t believe when Aiden tells him there are more. Evie starts off as the cold and brutal type but their friendship soon develops into much more. Evie’s brother Marcus is the right hand man of the self-proclaimed leader Zane. Both of these are despicable in their own ways and seem to do nothing but follow the mysterious High Priestess. All of the people in Everland have died at different periods in time so all have differing experiences to relate.
The story revolves around the constant struggle to protect Everland from outside forces like the Outlanders and the Dismemberers. Outlanders are outcasts that live in the Darkland and cannot be trusted with anything. The Dismemberers are evil monsters that will hunt you down and do just that, dismember you.
The second part of the story is to do with the Tree of the Dead. This is a mysterious tree in the centre of the city that anyone can complete “trials” at. The trials involve a journey into your past life called a “jaunt”. Rumour and prophecy says that one day, someone will complete their trial and bring the seasons back to Everland and will be given the gift of a second chance at life. Aiden sets his mind on doing just that.
This book is primarily a horror story. Although the world in which it is set is wondrous and spectacular, there are horrors at every turn. Constant battles with the Dismemberers will give you the creeps and I will hold my hand up to being chased by a few in my dreams this week. You have the psychological horrors that are involved with people dealing with their own deaths and the manner in which they happened.
The parts that most stick in my mind are when Aiden takes his trials where he visits the world before he died and sees the effects his death is having on the people he left behind. I found this to be very harrowing and it did bring a tear or two to my eyes.
You do get some laughs and the pace is just perfect, alternating between almost surreal passages to heart stopping periods when the Dismemberers are involved.
In summary – you will occasionally laugh. You will be scared, a lot, for a lot of different reasons. You will be amazed by the way the story paints wonderful pictures in your mind. You will probably cry.
I write this review on 5th January 2015 and to be honest I will be surprised if a story captures me as much as this one for the rest of the year. It’s that good.
The easiest 5 stars ever.
Reviewed by Nev Murray
DEATH HAS COME FOR HIM.
On the last night of summer, a child's game has turned grim. Aiden has fallen and woken up to a terrible truth: he is dead.
YET THE END IS JUST THE BEGINNING
Fleeing through a tunnel between worlds, Aiden discovers others, those who have found sanctuary in a place beyond existence.
--LIFE IS CRUEL, DEATH IS NO DIFFERENT--
Welcome to Eternal Autumn, a land of whispering mystery between existence and nothingness. Here, among the frozen colors of Autumn, is a world home to the memories of the dead... and the demons that hunt them. A city of collective memories and agless children; dark swamps and darker magic; and an ancient ritual that just might bring Aiden what all dead truly want...
... a Second Life.
At the intersection of Lord of the Flies, Peter Pan, and Dante's Inferno is
A Hollow Dream - Eternal Autumn, the Second Chapter in a Harrowing Series where Fantasy meets Horror at Childhood's End.