No spoilers–so I can only really talk about the first book, and how the second book felt.
The story begins with the end of the world–a Season. Seasons are terrible events that are the end of the world for a lot of people, with groups retreating into their comms (cities, towns, etc.) and trying to stay alive until it passes. But this Season is so bad that it will last for a very long time–too long to hunker down. If you read the summary, it mentions a murdered son, missing daughter, betrayal, and power wielded without mercy.
And the next book, without giving anything away, is darker. There’s more struggles as people try to survive, not caring about the cost to others–and this sort of behavior is expected, not everybody is doing it. No truly good characters survive, because they can’t–life is too difficult, with shortages of food, all kinds of mutated killer animals, people competing for supplies, and… well, there’s a system in place that divides one group of people from the others, and it’s terrible. Systematic abuse, murder, torture, brainwashing, and some really creepy psychological effects.
The world-building is fascinating, the characters are well-developed, and the story is compelling. But it’s so dark and depressing, that it was difficult to keep reading. I managed to finish it, and I want to pick up the next book, but I might need a happy fluffy sort of book to read after it–or even during.
How do you decide how dark of books you read? Do you ever abandon one for its tone?