Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh
Publisher: Self Published
Length: Full Length (388 pgs)
Age Recommendation 14+
Rated: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon
In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.
Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.
Then she meets Lucas, everything changes.
Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.
It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.
And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.
Utterly enthralling, Whispers in Autumn has an immediacy that keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. The mood is serious…or perhaps, seriously creepy. For this is a dark world not embattled, but controlled; a society not of revolutionaries, but anxious sheep… except for the odd one, here and there. The ‘broken.’
Whispers in Autumn kicks off with teenage Althea's own, immediate (yet intriguing) problems, a first-person account with identity issues. Her experience is outside our world – it is in fact, outside her own world – or so it seems. However, it isn’t long before we start to share Althea's sense that things are not, truly not, quite right, with the world. We settle into her autumn persona, come to know her ‘family’ and realize with her that things are not right. Her developing power seems to have purpose…
We puzzle over the issue of just who or what Althea is, all the while realizing that her issues are not her own, and that this truly is a world (or society) shattering … or perhaps saving…story. The story grows from the miniscule to the massive. And, every minute, this story becomes more and more eerie and unpredictable.
In this dark society, people’s own lives are beyond both their understanding as well as control. Yet, they fail to perceive this horrifying truth. They are under the jurisdiction of the 'wardens.' They hardly recognize that they have lived a lifetime of fear. Some (okay, most) seem to think the wardens are a benevolent group...but there, Althea has doubts. Or fears. She recognizes manipulation; we recognize misinformation. When Althea meets Lucas, well, the doubts become solid distrust. She and Lucas will perhaps change the world… we hope.
Trisha Leigh handles this other-worldly society in a straightforward and completely believable way. The author's world building skills rival her character creation skills; and the best way to talk about that is to bring you into one of Althea’s moments.
Wardens—two this time—tread heavily down the street sweeping flashlights in an arc. I hold my breath, body vibrating as Lucas sucks his in as well. If my heart weren’t pounding from terror it would be struggling with such nearness to a boy—to another human being, really. His peculiar scent mingles with my own odd fragrance, creating a not entirely unpleasant mixture that hovers around us in a cloud. I fervently hope it doesn’t extend to the sidewalk because if the Wardens smell it, they…”
The smallest details bring with it such intensity in this story. Although the big questions are out there, it is ultimately the characters who drive this story.
Whispers in Autumn is a noir mix of psychological horror and unpredictable fantasy that had me completely engrossed throughout. You don’t need to be a fan of the genre to find this an exceptional read. I am anxiously waiting for the next, and a chance to see what happens in Iowa in the winter.