Book Review : Stormcaster
Shattered Realms Series
By Cinda Williams Chima
The third book in the thrilling four-book Shattered Realms series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima
The empress in the east—the unspeakably cruel ruler whose power grew in Flamecaster and Shadowcaster—tightens her grip in this chilling third installment in the series.
Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move the ocean and the wind, but his magical abilities seem paltry in comparison to Empress Celestine’s. As Celestine’s bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom of her imminent invasion. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose.
Meanwhile, the queen’s formidable daughter, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, is already a prisoner aboard the empress’s ship. Lyss may be the last remaining hope of bringing down the empress from within her own tightly controlled territory.
Multiple intricately interwoven storylines converge in this gripping novel about a brave, coordinated effort to undermine a horrific tyrant. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
Each new book delves into new characters, and in Stormcaster Chima begins the tale with Evan Strangward and Destin Karn – who we met briefly in Flamecaster. Evan is a pirate who has a secret. When Celestine discovers him on board a pirate ship his life is forever changed as he instinctively draws upon his powers for self-preservation. He hides in a port town under an assumed name until he’s ready to start captaining his own ship. While in hiding, he meets Destin Karn – who nearly killed him on sight. Destin also hides a secret, but his fortune turns for the worse when he is discovered by his father. Sparks start flying between Evan and Destin early in the novel, though other than looks, thoughts and one kiss, their relationship doesn’t develop due to their separation. A gay love story to open the novel will put off some readers. I found I wasn’t as interested in Evan and his background, because he feels like a secondary character. I was anxious to move to the characters in whom I already have a vested interest. Evan is barely found after the first half of the novel.
A little past the first third of Stormcaster Ash/Adrian sul’Han comes back from the “dead” and returns to his kingdom. While rejoicing over her son being alive, the wolf queen receives the news that her daughter Alyssa has been captured, and though presumably alive, details are scarce.
At the same time, Hal Matelon has returned to his father’s estate to try to convince the Thanes to unite with the king and the wolf queen to defend their home from the threat of Empress Celestine’s invasion. The Kingdom of Arden is oblivious to the threat. However, the Thanes are preparing to march against King Jaret, who holds their women and children as hostages. Robert, Han’s younger brother, is a hot-head and determines to rescue his mother and sister.
Lyss, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, joins the story at about page 300. She is in a tight spot. To preserve her life she has agreed to train Empress Celestine’s bloodsworn army. While training them she searches for ways to defeat them. Unexpectedly, Lyss meets Jenna and Cas, who tell her that her brother is alive. They begin to form an alliance, but what can two women and one dragon do against hordes of bloodsworn and a powerful enchantress?
It’s fun to see how Chima begins to pull all the threads together in this epic series. Will the Kingdom of Arden avoid civil war? Where will Lyss get the army she needs to fight the enemy? Will Ash be successful in rescuing the next wolf queen? Do the different types of magic have one source? There is a huge twist – which I’m not mentioning – but I was caught off guard and felt like it changes the direction for the next book!
There continue to be many questions to be answered in the next, and final book of the Shattered Realms Series. I loved the second half of Stormcaster as I could see the characters weaving everything back together. There is no doubt the realm is shattered and I have a feeling it will get worse before it gets better.
Cinda Williams Chima has been one of my favorite fantasy authors since I first found The Wizard Heir, and loved the Seven Realms Series. I love her world building and characters.
4 out of 5 stars
If you like the Shattered Realm Series try:
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr
The Kingfountain Series or Harbinger Series by Jeff Wheeler