Book Review

Review: We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson

I started this book back in June, had to take a break because it was pretty chonky and I had other commitments on, and I finally returned to it last week to finish the job. That makes it sound more of a chore than it actually was – and in no way was this book bad! The setting is so well-considered, planned and plotted. But if you are looking for fast fantasy, We Ride the Storm is probably not for you …

Title: We Ride the Storm
Series: The Reborn Empire #1
Author: Devin Madson
Pages: 528
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: June 23rd 2020
Ownership: eARC provided by the publisher

Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

Kisia and Chiltae are poised on the brink of war. In Kisia, Princess Miko dreams of wresting control of the throne from her father, and to rule alongside her brother Prince Tanaka. On the border of Chiltae, Rah wants to keeping moving forward, his herd of Second Swords have been outcast from their home but they are not in agreement. And the assassin and whore Cassandra from Chiltae has been sent on a mission that will hopefully produce a cure for the voices in her head…

My Review

We Ride the Storm is dense, political, action-packed fantasy built in a rich and intriguing world. It feels a little like ancient Rome meets Asian-inspired fantasy, and that’s a lot of fun together. I understand that this isn’t Madson’s first series in this setting, and it really shows, as there’s a great deal of depth to the world, the culture and the customs in this place. And for me, that’s always the hallmark of good fantasy.

Even better, is one of my favourite things – three very different narrators, each with different motivations and characters, who are slowly spiralling around each other until their paths cross without realising it. That for me makes a good narrative.

There are a few stilted moments in the story, however, which is why I think I ended up reading this book slowly to start with, dropping it and then picking it up again later. First, it’s quite a slow burn – that can be really good, but it can also be a bit of a drag. And there were times when I felt as though I was wading through this book. However, when the action or the intrigue gets going, it certainly goes!

The other thing was something odd that I noticed at the start of each chapter. The first two paragraphs or so at the start of every chapter were written in a very passive or stilted way, which meant that if you weren’t concentrating hard, it made it challenging to switch to the next point of view chapter. But once you were past that first part, then everything cracked on normally again.

In any case, it meant that this was a fantastic fantasy novel that I really enjoyed reading, but one that I occasionally had to work hard at.

I’m also really looking forward to the next book in the series, as things definitely didn’t end well for any of the main characters, so I’m excited to see what could happen next …

I received an eARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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