Set to release in North America on February 11, 2020, Storm from the East is the second installment in Joanna Hathaway’s epic Glass Alliance series, following on the heels of Dark of the West. And it certainly lives up to its description of being “part war drama, part romance” – though it will be up to readers to decide whether that mix is for better, or for worse.
DISCLAIMER: Thank-you to Raincoast Books for providing me with an Advance Readers’ Edition of Storm from the East by Joanna Hathaway, in exchange for an honest review.
War has begun, and the days of Athan’s and Aurelia’s secret, summer romance feel a world away. Led by Athan’s father, the revolutionary Safire have launched a secret assault upon the last royal kingdom in the South, hoping to depose the king and seize a powerful foothold on the continent. Athan proves a star pilot among their ranks, struggling to justify the violence his family has unleashed as he fights his way to the capital – where, unbeknownst to him, Aurelia has lived since the war’s onset. Determined to save the kingdom Athan has been ordered to destroy, she partners with a local journalist to inflame anti-Safire sentiment, all while learning this conflict might be far darker and more complex than she ever imagined. When the two reunite at last, Athan longing to shake the nightmare of combat and Aurelia reeling from the discovery of a long-buried family truth come to light, they’ll find the shadow of war stretches well beyond the battlefield. Each of them longs to rekindle the love they once shared… but each has a secret they’re desperate to hide.
Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired sequel to Dark of the West, Storm from the East, which promises to appeal to readers of Sabaa Tahir, Marie Rutkoski, and Evelyn Skye. And while the romance will have readers swooning, and the action will have readers on the edge of their seats, Storm from the East feels like it is trying to hard to be something it is not, leaving this particular reader feeling a bit dissatisfied.
Storm from the East once again follows the (mis)adventures of Aurelia and Athan as they navigate the increasingly complex geo-political climate of their world – from opposing sides of what quickly becomes a full-scale war. Athan’s story was perhaps the more poignant of the two throughout the entirety of the novel, with Hathaway tackling tough topics, such as the impact of PTSD as it affects friendships, family, and love, and also presenting Athan in all of his full, anti-hero glory – the conflict within him so deep and raging something that many readers will connect with. Meanwhile, Aurelia’s character felt superficial at best, with her dabbling in playing at being the political hero, the dedicated daughter, the rebel runaway – but never really committing to any course of action because – inexplicably – she simply lacks conviction, despite multiple events giving her the drive to develop some gumption and make a difference. And when she does finally make a move, she finds its too little, too late, and that she’s been left behind by players far more experienced than her.
One area Hathaway absolutely excels in, though, is her fantastic world-building. Much of the geo-political landscape was established in Dark of the West, but that doesn’t stop Hathaway from continuing to flesh out the world and its conflicts in Storm from the East. Throughout the novel readers will find themselves immersed in the culture and the story of various peoples, and through this exploration they will come to understand and feel as though they are a part of the world Hathaway is painstakingly building alongside Aurelia and Athan’s story.
Other than that, this reader (unfortunately) doesn’t have much to say about Storm from the East by Joanna Hathaway. While undoubtedly a well-written book, with stellar world-building and poignant topics, Storm from the East simply feels weighed down by its lack luster characters and painstakingly slow plot progression. This results in an enjoyable, but relatively unmemorable story, that will likely be forgotten by the time readers reach for its sequel.