|Series: Stone War Chronicles #2 – Part 1
||Genre: fantasy, dark fantasy, epic fantasy
|Read date: March 2018
||Author’s website: http://www.ajnorfield.com|
Black ships darken the sea and sky, destroying everything they encounter. High General Corza Setra has mobilized the Stone King's legions—but where is he taking them? When Trista’s village is obliterated without warning, it’s up to her to keep her little brother and newly hatched dragon safe. She’s always held her own as one of the waterclans, but will her skills as a hunter be enough for her to conquer the hardships that await them on the road ahead? Meanwhile, the pressure is on for Raylan and his friends as they flee the Dark Continent. Without their commander, the squad’s strong leadership is gone and those left struggle with the burden of the oncoming danger. Can they stop the Stone King’s forces—including the deadly ghol'ms—from ravaging the world as they know it?
Okay, I have no idea where to start this review, but let’s get the formalities out of the way first:
I recieved an advanced reader’s copy in exchange of a honest review. I would like to thank A. J. Norfield for providing me a copy to read and Meels for making this opportunity happen.
Despite my best efforts, I’m informed that this review has minor spoilers. So, proceed with caution, consider yourself warned, and please don’t come to me crying. I’m currently out of tissues.
Obviously, I loved Windcatcher (book 1 of the Stone War Chronicles), and I was looking forward to read the second book. Second books are a bit of a gamble, because when you loved the first book you are bound to have high hopes for the sequel too and you are worried if the author can deliver it or not. On the other hand (since we are talking about an indie author), second books are tend to be better if the said author is willing to pay attention to criticism and is bound to improve his writing skills (at least in my experience so far). Fortunately, A. J. doesn’t disappoint. The second book is as good as the first, or better still. We get more action, more storylines, more dragons, more torture and more word building.
In my opinion it was a wise choice to add a second (or third) storyline with Trista and Dalkeira. To be honest, I don’t particularly enjoy books which are only about traveling from one place to another while nothing happens (except some danger coming every once in a while) and the author keeps dragging us (and the characters) along for hundreds of pages. And while Raylan, Galirras and the others are traveling as well as Trista, Dalkeira and Decan, the change of POV makes it possible to skip the boring parts. So we only get to read about the part of the journey that are indeed interesting – like finding the baby, or the city in the sand or arriving to Azurna. Breaking up all the traveling we also get glimpses of what happens with Corza and the Stone King. These parts of the story are not for the faint hearted though. We get some serious torture scenes and we learn a bit more about Corza which doesn’t make him much more likeable but at least explains some things. I think he is the best fleshed out character besides the MCs and I certainly hope we’ll read more about him in the future. I guess he is that kind of character readers love to hate and generates strong emotions while reading.
I still love Galirras, his intelligence, his curiosity, his wit and his growing relationship with Rayland and Xi Lao (I whish we could read more about her, because she is the only female character I like), but given her circumstances we learn about at the end of the book, I’m sure she’ll get more time in the next installment of the series. I loved the city of Azurna, the way I pictured it in my head makes me want to visit it along with Sebastian as my guide. Also, I want to get more of him too!
As for Trista and Dalkeira, I have to be honest. I didn’t like them much, or more like, didn’t care about them. I kept reading though, like there was no tomorrow, because I was interested in what happens next. While Decan grew a lot as a character, I felt sad that he was kind of abandoned by the end of the book as the story was focused on Trista and Dalkeira. I’m totally looking forward to the point where he starts to rebel against his new role, hah (please make it happen!). When I started to read, I was a bit afraid that we’ll get the same story but with a female point of view. However, Trista and Dalkeira’s story altough similar is very different from Raylan and Galirras’. Their bond is not that easily made, they are struggling with each other and understanding the others needs. Furthermore, Dalkeira’s personality is nothing like Galirras’ altough she is curious as well, but in a different way (I loved how Galirras asked Raylan about politics, and religion and all that questions about humanity). Dalkeira acts more like a spoiled brat who wants all the attention and thinks she is the only one important in the world. Their story is also does some good for character diversity, since we get a lot more females in the story with them. Which is good, I guess, though I believe I’m in the minority with my dislike for female characters in general. And I’m sure a lot of you will like Dalkeira and Trista more than I did. But then, you can’t like all the characters, can you?
I pretty much enjoyed it all the way, altough it ended a bit abruptly and honestly I was waiting some big twist, which I’ve got in a way. But then it was only the first part of the second book so I can’t be hard on it. I also would have liked some more humor added to the mix. Other than that, the writing was quite good, I liked the descriptions, there wasn’t too much to overwhelm you (I hate long descriptions by the way) and I love to see how the world is being built before our eyes. I might have cut a bit from the Endless Sand scenes, it was a bit dragging, but I won’t complain. Anyway, if you haven’t yet, go and read Windcatcher and Wavebreaker before the next book comes out. I don’t think you’ll regret it 🙂