Just from the reading, I have a hard time telling whether or not Fog Season is YA or not. It really seems more YA but that’s not where I remember finding it in the bookstore. The case for YA is that it’s very character driven, the few adults present are villains, servants, or non-presences like mom Alinesse and dad Brevart. Also, the presence of romance, more a factor in this book than the first, is reasonably PG. The violence seems to be a bit less than the first novel, and it too is not especially graphic. There really isn’t much case for adult fantasy, except that the novel wasn’t with the YA new releases; it was with general new fiction. Ordinarily this wouldn’t bother me all that much, but given the general watered down of everything in the story, I kinda want to blame it on something and this is what I came up with. For the record, I take no issue with YA fantasy in general, but this isn’t great at being that, if that’s what it even is supposed to be.
The focus on the sisters was still there, but a lot of the side characters were underdeveloped. I really wish there was more lead up to bad guy reintroduction (someone from the first novel), and motive/explanation for Mirandine. She and Jone were a lot of fun to see with Tesara in the first book, but Jone is sent off to sea early on and Mirandine really only has a few pages. The cook Mrs. Francini and the head of security Malcroft have a fun vibe together, but neither of them get to do much beyond their general servant roles.
Abel the detective as a character could be interesting, but there’s not much about him, except hints at a painful past of some sort and that he’s got abilities like Tesara. Doc, the reason for a lot of the pain, is way too vague to be interesting and he appears to be quite important, and not in a good way.
The bigger problem is that there is still virtually no world building, and very little about the situations beyond the immediate character reactions. The plot itself isn’t much: Yvienne and Tesara are left in charge at home while mom and dad go off on a merchant trip to restore the family fortune. Abel is investigating the disappearance of Trune (source of much trouble from the first novel) and others, both sisters struggle with potential romances, Tesara struggles with keeping her powers under wraps, and everyone has to navigate the social world of high society. Without more information about the world and not much in terms of character growth or change, none of the struggles, especially Tesara’s, really matter all that much. In the end, I was losing interest, and I don’t even care that much about the cliff-hanger-ish conclusion.