Book Review

Book Review: Stormcaster (Shattered Realms #3) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 535 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

I LIKED MOST OF IT.

Unfortunately, I think this will be the weakest book in the series. My biggest issue is that each book has started with a new character. Then we spend 100+ pages going over their back story while I’m impatiently waiting to get back to the main story-line, stopping the empress.

The problem with beginning with the back-story is that it makes all of the love interests seem quick and insta-attraction (even when the story talks about time jumps). I love the opposite attraction of Evan and Destin. Evan is striving to right wrongs and save not only his Kingdom, but the Seven Realms. Then we have Destin, a complex, morally gray character who I LOVE. I never know what kind of move he’s going to make.

I think all of these relationships are going to have a major reckoning in Deathcaster. I can’t wait to see how everyone comes together since literally every pair is one opposite sides of the realm currently.

Now there’s so many POVs and so many things happening that I was missing some characters. Lyssa and Ash, for instance, were hardly in here, even though they are super critical to the finale.

While I had some issues, this authors writing is still entrancing. I find myself flying through the book. I love all of the politics and world-building. Everyone is crossing paths and then double-crossing their actions. It’s really exciting and I love all the twists and turns. I definitely have a lot more questions and am so excited to finish this just in time for the release of the last book!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: knives, physical, poison
  • Trigger warnings: domestic abuse

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Book Review

Book Review: Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 551 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A lifelong war.

Alyssa ana’Raisa is the reluctant princess heir to the Gray Wolf throne of Fells, a queendom embroiled in a seemingly endless war. Hardened by too many losses, Lyss is more comfortable striking with a sword than maneuvering at court. After a brush with death, she goes on the offensive, meaning to end the war that has raged her whole life. If her gamble doesn’t pay off, she could lose her queendom before she even ascends to the throne.

A life in peril.

Across enemy lines in Arden, young rising star Captain Halston Matelon has been fighting for his king since he was a lýtling. Lately, though, he finds himself sent on ever more dangerous assignments. Between the terrifying rumors of witches and wolfish warriors to the north and his cruel king at home, Hal is caught in an impossible game of life and death.

The shadow of defeat.

GOOD.

It’s simple. This book was good, not great. I still was captured into the story by the writing and characters, but it was still missing that last little oomph that makes it a 5 star.

I love love love Lyss. She is a beast. A warrior. Independent. Lyss doesn’t even own a dress! And she has muscles! Oh how I adore the way the author portrays her heroines. I can’t wait to see how Lyss grows into the future Queen of the Fells and rules her Queendom. This is a big reason why I continue to love this (and her previous) series.

The love story is cute, definitely not insta-love like it was in Flamecaster. A little more slow-burn, with my favorite trope: enemies to lovers. Hal is caring and enigmatic. I really want more of his back story. I think there relationship is going places and I am here for it. He only annoyed me when he became a little too love-struck and that literally all he could talk about.

I was a bit confused that we only saw a few characters from the previous book. As a series it was strange to change to essentially a whole new cast. The two stories with Ash and Lyss haven’t combined yet so I’ll see what kind of answers I get in the next installment, Stormcaster.

The plot is engaging and continually moving forward. The antagonists are closing in from both sides on the Fells. And the action kept me on my toes. I’m definitely still interested in continuing this story.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: an intense-ish make-out
  • Violence: arrows, knives, poison, explosions, physical

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