Mini Review: Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Stormcaster is the third book in the thrilling four-book Shattered Realms series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima. Like previous books in this series, Stormcaster features multiple intricately interwoven storylines, which converge in this gripping novel about a brave, coordinated effort to undermine a horrific tyrant.

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.

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I am a huge fan of Cinda Williams Chima’s writing – her Seven Realms series is one of my all-time favourite YA Fantasy series – and while I still adore this series, it hasn’t inspired the same level of enthrallment in me that the Seven Realms did. This can potentially be attributed to the amount of new characters being introduced each book – honestly, the Shattered Realms series, and Stormcaster in particular, seems to lack the personality of fantasy reads that I love. It has proven a bit harder for me, as a reader, to get into each book in this series right away, since each book introduces more new characters. However, by the end of each book most familiar faces are back, and Chima has me loving the new characters, leaving me desperate for the next installment, so it’s not all bad!

Speaking of characters, I felt that a lot of them were really well fleshed out in this one – in particular Evan Strangward and Destin Karn. Evan has a detailed and lengthy origin story – which was thankfully so interesting that readers likely won’t be too perturbed that it takes up a third of the book to get back to where Chima left off at the end of Shadowcaster. As with previous books, the reader eventually unravels the links between books, finding that Evan was the envoy that came to Ardenscourt for Jenna in Flamecaster. Evan and Destin’s history was also exceptionally well fleshed out andwill say it was different than I expected but wonderful. I was happy to find out he wasn’t exactly what we thought he was. Meanwhile, Adrian, Lila, Alyssa, Breon, and Jenna (with her dragon) are all pursuing their own tasks to quell the coming war and protect those they love, no matter the cost.

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Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chima is a huge turning point in this story, setting the stage for a grand finale that will likely blow readers away. While it had slower bits, and sometimes felt to be dragging through multiple perspectives, by the end of Stormcaster readers will have a decent idea of what plans are falling into place, which characters are or will soon be in the same locale, and what the final battle(s) might look like (3.5).

 

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