We Ride the Storm
- Author: Devin Madson
- Genre: Fantasy
- Publication Date: June 7, 2018
- Publisher: Orbit
- Series: The Reborn Empire #1
Thank you to Orbit and Angela Man for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
CONTENT WARNING: gore, body shaming, murder, blood, rape, violence, suicide, murder of children, alcoholism
War build the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.
Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.
In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts’ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her throne, but the path to power could rip the empire—and her family—asunder.
In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises her a cure if she helps an empire fall.
And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e’Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.
As an empire falls, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.
I’ve got a confession. I absolutely judged this series by their covers, because … look at them! They’re gorgeous. The whole series has incredibly beautiful covers, and I’m glad I got sucked into how pretty the covers are, because otherwise I might have missed out on an awesome story.
To start with, this is a dark, violent, and very gory book. The second chapter opens with a pretty graphic depiction of one of the MCs beheading a corpse. It isn’t done strictly for shock value, and it is meaningful to the story, but it’s still pretty grim. This is the kind of read that’s brutal and full of battles and violence.
There was definite Chinese and Mongol influence in the setting, and I loved how it gave the story a unique feel. Miko is a princess, Rah is a captain of a group of mounted men, and Cassandra is an assassin, but there’s definitely diversity in the characters—not all of them are coded as Asian, because some are described as being pale-skinned, blond-haired, and light-eyed. Regardless, it was interesting to see how the storylines all crossed.
The story was a little slow to get started, mainly because the chapters are a bit long. We meet Princess Miko first, and she’s fighting against regular assassination attempts for as far back as she can remember. Consequently, she has learned how to defend herself, although she’s a twin and isn’t likely to inherit the throne. Her character was a smart one, and I found her easy to relate to.
After that, we meet Rah, who is the Captain of the Second Swords of the Levanti, a nomadic tribe of horsemen. They’re generally a peaceful tribe, but don’t hesitate to defend themselves if they are attacked. However, Rah and his group are exiled for a year and find themselves captured by a group of Chiltaen warriors, enslaved and forced into a war they want no part of. However, Rah holds his own moral code close and struggles to compromise, even when it causes more problems for him and his warriors.
Cassandra was quite possibly the most interesting character to me. She’s a whore and an assassin (aka whoresassin haha) who also has the added burden of having a voice in her head of someone dead that she only refers to as “She” or “Her.” The only relief she gets is when she drinks “stiff,” which seems to be some kind of alcoholic beverage. But when she’s offered a contract that presents the opportunity to fix the voice in her head, she jumps at the chance, not realizing how big of a fiasco and how involved it is going to turn out.
Overall, this was a fantastic book. The writing is incredible, and it’s full of action. Things move quickly throughout the story, and I found myself glued to the pages, waiting at the edge of my seat to find out what was going to happen next. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished, and I’m beyond ready to start the next book to see what happens to our characters. If this is any indicator of what the rest of the series is going to be like, it’s going to be outstanding, and isn’t a book to be missed.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 14
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