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| ISBN-10: 0316069140
| ISBN-13: 9780316069144
| Publisher: Orbit (August 1, 2010)
| Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
| Cover Illustration: Larry Rostant
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 4 Stars
For a second book in a trilogy, Stormlord Rising is really well balanced. It did not feel like a middle book to me. Instead it felt just as intense and if anything, more action packed then the first.
Because it is a middle book I was really surprised to see so many events coming to a head. I expected more character and world development, which I got, but I also got to witness a brutal war. Glenda Larke did not hold back on the brutality nor was she afraid to kill off alot of important characters. As a result the pacing was pretty fast and the "omg what could possibly happen next" tension held me to the pages.
I am getting alot out of this story. A world where every drop of water is precious intrigues me. There is also a religious overtone to the story where the divergent cultures are completely different in their beliefs. Glenda Larke not only gives religion a large role but explores how completely offbase a system of beliefs can be when clouded by time and misinformation. I am looking forward to seeing how that line of the story plays out.
I like the magic systems too. Mainly because magic is not the automatic solution to everything. There are costs and consequences. Moral dilemmas abound over when, where and how it should be used, or if it should be used at all. There are also clearly spelled out limitations. Definitely the type of magic I like.
There are so many layers to this tale I can not begin to touch on them all. I am curious to see if it is ever explained why rain stopped falling on the 4 quarters to begin with. I really want to see what happens when Terrelle must travel to the land of her ancestors and I want to know exactly what is living inside the singing sand dunes. I am wondering why the people of the White Quarter call themselves Guardians but refuse to say why or of what. Plus I look forward to seeing how Shale/Jasper resolves the problem of being the only Stormlord left alive, and a flawed one at that. I could go on and on. Needless to say I have become very invested in both the story and its characters.
There were a few things that tugged at my immersion in the story. There was the not so surprising reveal of the identity of one of the main characters. Saw that one coming way too early. That same character did not quite ring true to me either. I know he was meant to be complex but some of those layers did not feel natural. I also had a bit of a problem with how fast Shale, renamed Jasper, grows from scared little boy to leader of a army. Granted he had to grow up fast because of the situations he was forced into, but it felt a bit too rushed to me. I would have preferred to see atleast a glimpse of something in between. Too much story and not enough pages I guess.
This is a stark world full of brutality, rape, prostitution, slavery and a fierce struggle just to survive. Though there are some glimmers of compassion, love, loyalty and bravery, most of the choices being made here are between really bad, and much worse. There are rarely any easy answers. I personally enjoyed every minute of the conflicts. When the path is unclear, it is very hard to predict what will happen next, but you are reasonably sure that whatever it is, it will not be pretty. I also enjoy the fact that this story makes me think long after I have put the book down. I find myself wondering what I would do if faced with the same dilemmas our heroes face. Honestly, I have no idea.
I'm eagerly looking forward to book three. While not really a cliffhanger ending, with events both started and finished during the course of the book, there is still so much more of this world to explore. I can hardly wait...
Amazon Rating 4.4 out of 5 Stars
(23 customer reviews)
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Epic Fantasy Book Review of Stormlord Rising (Watergivers: Book 2) by Glenda Larke - Reviewed by Mulluane - on July 27 2013 - Rating: of 5 Stars