Title: We Ride the Storm
Author: Devin Madson
Series: Reborn Empire #1
Rating: 3/5 stars
The Overview: In the midst of a burgeoning war, a warrior, an assassin, and a princess chase their own ambitions no matter the cost in Devin Madson’s visceral, emotionally charged debut. War built 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 empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder. In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with 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 dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood. -Goodreads
If you’re looking for a fun, fast-paced fantasy, this is a great pick.
The author doesn’t waste any time throwing you into the deep end. Luckily the components aren’t too complicated to pick up on. These types of quick reads are always great to make me feel like I’m making progress on something (even though the page count was still about average). The snappy beginning did come at a bit of a cost – enough time wasn’t taken to ground you with the characters and fully establish their motives. So later in the book when suddenly everyone has these grand convictions, it felt a little thin because we lacked the foundation at the beginning. In fact, things went so fast in places that I kept having to backtrack to see if I’d missed anything. This general feeling was a consensus in my Patreon Book Club. Had some of my Patrons not also voiced a bit of struggle with the pacing, I may have just assumed it was an attention-span problem on my end.
Even though the characters didn’t get a lot of grounding, they were still wildly interesting profiles. You have three very different perspectives and each one provides a unique payoff. There’s one in particular who is still a total enigma by the end of the book, and I’m most excited to read on to see what’s going on with her. I love when authors can keep me coming back for more. I also enjoyed the trajectory of the story and the fact that all of my early predictions came to naught. I feel so happy to be reading in a era where authors are no longer following the same old storytelling formula. I think it a theme lately that I keep describing books as “unconventional,” which is thrilling to me – it’s driving my enthusiasm for reading to discover new things. This one had familiar setups but then took a bunch of different directions to the point where I stopped guessing and just started enjoying. Good stuff.
Overall, I’m glad for the time I spent with this book even though it lacked a bit of depth. Sometimes read something fun and uncomplicated is exactly what you need. I’ve forgotten that with all of the heavy tomes I’ve been into lately. It does, however, offer some promising things for future books, so maybe one day I’ll be raving how much fun and substantial this series is… fingers crossed. :)
Recommendations: pick this up for a fun, fast-paced fantasy that will take you on an unconventional ride… into the metaphorical storm.
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