The Storm Within – Richard Parry

*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: Assassins come for the Savior of Ravenswall.

Geneve and the sorcerer Meriwether are beset while burying their dead. The assassins’ goal is simple. They will erode support for the queen and take the crown from her trembling fingers. With the power of illusion, they can be anyone, go anywhere … or wear the skin of the one Geneve loves.

She and Meriwether race to kill the head of the assassins: the lord in the north. Fires of rebellion blaze across the kingdom. Feybrind and Vhemin go to war. The gods turn their faces away as whispers spread of a dragon in a madman’s grip.

If Geneve can’t best the dragon, all she knows will be ash. Even the ancients feared them. Her skymetal blade feels insufficient for the task.

Continue the dark fantasy adventure today!

This is the second book in the ‘Splintered Land’ trilogy, so if you haven’t read the first, Blade of Glass, I strongly recommend that you do that first. There is so much character and relationship development, and worldbuilding of the setting, magic and cultural systems, that you would miss out on if you don’t, even though the author kindly recaps the bare necessities as we go along.

The Storm Within begins right after Blade of Glass ended, with our main characters still reeling and mourning those they lost in the action-packed climax. Still, most of the gang survived – more or less intact – and it is evident that their epic battle against the evil that has permeated their world is still very much ongoing. With Faebrind and Vhemin at war with each other, the Templars in tatters, and most remaining Sinners arrayed against them, Geneve and Meri need to work out what their next move should be. It might involve dragons…! And for Meri, this time it’s a bit more personal.

You can expect this instalment to be just as enthralling as the first: full of death, sacrifice, battle, magic, love and comradeship. There is not only the struggle between good and evil, but a struggle between love/unity and hatred/division which feels very topical for… well, for pretty much any period in human history to be honest!

I do have a bone to pick with the author about his treatment of a certain group of characters that will remain unnamed (no spoilers!) – you know what you did, Richard, and they deserved better! But I will grudgingly admit that he did pay them their deserved respect in later parts of the storyline (too little, too late!) and my emotional response to the characters does serve to demonstrate how I was compelled into engaging with even the most side of side characters. So, I’ll give him that one!

In all seriousness, this is truly epic fantasy in every sense, and I was so glad to be able to dive straight into the third instalment immediately and continue my journey through the Splintered Land with Geneve, Meri and… I’m not telling you who else made it this far… just go and read it! 😉

“Where you lead, we follow.”
“But—”
“Ikmae’s sometime balls,” Armitage rumbled. He approached with his bear in tow. “We’ve followed you for weeks. It ain’t gonna change now.”
“But—”
“Get your horse, and start moving.” The Vhemin’s snake eyes watched her, considering, measuring. “If you like, we can arm wrestle for who’s in charge. You’d lose, and then I’d abdicate, and we’d be where we are. Happy to do it if you think the theater will help.”
{Who better to lead a handsome cat, a horrible monster, a wounded soldier, and a sinner?} Sight of Day half-smiled. {We’re only offering you the job because none of us want it.}
“He’s right.” Meri stood with arms crossed. “It sounds like real work, and that’s for suckers.”

– Richard Parry, The Storm Within

Check out Richard Parry’s website, or follow him on Facebook and Goodreads.

The Splintered Land trilogy is available on Amazon right now, and you can check out my reviews of other stories by the author herehere and here. Or pop here to find Richard’s thoughts on writing continuity and here for an interview with the man himself!

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