My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Disclosure: I started as a fan of Sean and Dave’s, and as of June 2013 am currently working with Sean on other writing projects not related to this title. My opinions are in no way influenced by my other projects with Sean. I received an advance copy of the book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.
The Yesterday’s Gone series has certainly been an entertaining ride, one that I have enjoyed taking, and the fourth season is no exception. It is my second favorite of the authors’ series, coming in behind Whitespace with, with similar development of great characters, and beating out their other series because of its excellent action and, of course, Boricio, my favorite character.
Season Four finds us back on Earth. Those who “disappeared” in the incident on October 15th have made their way back home and are trying to recreate their lives. For some, that’s easier than others.
However, the Darkness has followed them back to “our” Earth and is attempting to do here what it did “over there.” This time it’s being sneakier, biding its time, and at the beginning of the season, the characters aren’t even aware of it. That quickly changes, however, and the book follows their attempts to stop it from recreating Hell on Earth.
I’ll start with the things I liked LESS in this season just to get them out of the way. Please be aware that these did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the book but are simply points that I felt could be improved upon.
The role of women in this series has never been fantastic. In this season I felt like it was underplayed even more. This could just be because I’ve grown more sensitive to it since reading the first three seasons. But in particular, I felt that Mary was a stronger character in Seasons 1-3, whereas in this one I felt she was a little whiny and dependent on men. The other female characters, Rose, Marina and Paola, were much less interesting to me than their male counterparts.
The book took a while to really get going. The first third to half of the season felt like a long, slow simmer. That’s not necessarily a problem—in fact it’s my favorite part of their other series, Whitespace. But it’s not what I expect from Yesterday’s Gone.
Sometimes the transitions between characters felt a little bit jumpy. In particular there was one part where I remember seeing an extremely short chapter from one of the characters, and thinking it could just as easily have been told from another character’s viewpoint if the other character’s chapter had been extended slightly.
Boricio was amazing this season. How they’ve managed the evolution of his character is incredible. For anyone who doesn’t know, Boricio is a serial killer with the foulest (and yet most poetic) mouth you’ve ever heard. Picture Dexter as played by Josh Holloway.
Luca is a couple of years older in this season, and the authors did a FANTASTIC job of aging his character, both in his dialogue and in his narration—i.e., what’s going on inside his head. He still talks somewhat childishly, but they’ve toned it down perfectly as the character has aged.
SPOILER: A bully gets his comeuppance in this season in the most incredibly satisfying way.
SLIGHT SPOILER: There’s a re-appearance of my second-favorite character of the series, right near the end and in the most WTF way.
The authors play with political and religious themes in this season in very interesting ways. The “Hollywood cult” element is particularly intriguing.
There’s a very real sense of unrest and disquiet in this season, and it’s not just because of the darkness. The authors do a very good job of capturing the political discord and social anxiety that the world is currently going through.
Season Four is an excellent continuation of the series that has everything I’ve always loved about Yesterday’s Gone and sets up for a hopefully amazing Season Five. Fans of the series should love seeing the adventures of the characters back on Earth.
This season gets four stars from me. It would probably be five, except that Whitespace is five, and doesn’t suffer from the cons I mentioned above. Despite the missing star, I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of dark horror and/or dark science fiction.