We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson

details
Title: We Ride the Storm.
Series: The Reborn Empire #1.
Writer(s): Devin Madson.
Publisher: Orbit.
Format: Advance Review Copy.
Release Date: June 23rd, 2020.
Pages: 528.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13:  9780316536264.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

thoughts

There are worlds you read about that will strike you with the fear of God, leaving you anxiously content of the life you lead and the environment in which you evolve. Other stories bring you to dream about a voyage through time and space to experience firsthand an adventure unlike anything imaginable, to breathe the very air of the lands described by authors who master the art of story-telling. And then you find yourself discovering a world where danger lurks every corner, where war is part of everyday life, where characters are the only ropes which you can hold onto as you indulge the intricacies of the world and the events that unfold. It is these exquisite universes fancied by creative authors that make you wish that their characters were real, that their worlds were real, that the magic hidden among the people was real. Author of The Vengeance Trilogy, Devin Madson presents the first book of The Reborn Empire series and will stop at nothing in her quest to establishing herself as an imperative epic fantasy writer.

What is We Ride the Storm about? Set in the midst of a war where the tension between the Chiltae and Kisia regions rises, the story follows three distinct characters whose lives will inevitably intersect and provoke devastating consequences. In Kisia, the story presents Princess Miko Ts’ai who is bound by the customs of her castle as she becomes a political tool for peace or war. But driven with a desire to rule the Empire, she will have to learn the sacrifices that come with the ascension to power. In Chiltae, we are introduced to prostitute-turned-assassin Cassandra Marius who is nagged by a voice in her head who is the source of petulance and bloodshed. However, upon the arrival of a mysterious man with the promise of a cure to her voice in exchange for a hit that could begin a war, she embarks on a momentous journey that could change the faith of many. Between both nations lies Captain Rah e’Torin of the Levanti and leader of the Second Swords of Torin who was exiled to fight a foreign war. With a small crew, their hopeless fight brings them to uncharted lands where survival is but a luxury to these warriors.

“Even the smallest cog is important in the workings of the clock.”

— Devin Madson

Sheathed within a low-fantasy world dominated by history and an atmosphere of war, author Devin Madson does a phenomenal job in juggling a triple first-person narrative where each point of view offers a genuine and insightful exploration of the characters’ needs, drives, and motives. They all present a truly authentic characterization that makes it incredibly effortless for the reader to attach themselves to their plight and their singular charisma. Their interaction with the world around them also feels natural as well as their voice (or voices) that continuously stuns you in its tone and consistency. What truly stands out from these characters is the immediate transparency that is captured through the narration and that translates into a quick understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. While Cassandra’s chapters are by far the most intriguing albeit the shortest of the three, the tripartite narrative was brilliantly balanced and each character’s life trajectory was enthralling in their own way.

Where I see this series’ potential is in the focus on the political undertones that affect every character, the world-building that revolves around the upcoming war, and the discrete magic elements that ultimately feel promising. There is no doubt that this story contains a complex and intricate world where the dangers of the world gravitate around the characters, hides in plain sight, and assaults them when they least expect it. Rah’s culture offers a comprehensive taste of some truly gruesome beliefs within this world and paves the way early in the story to all the gore that the world has to offer. It is simply fascinating to watch it being unveiled as a reader. Filled with plenty of twists as well as mysteries (some that could’ve benefited from more exposition), the story is drenched in blood and remained dangerously intriguing from start to finish.

We Ride the Storm is a fantastic Asian-inspired fantasy world where war is at the heart of an empire ready to rise or fall.


EXHIBITA
THANK YOU TO ORBIT FOR SENDING ME A COPY FOR REVIEW!

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31 comments

  • WOW! This is the first totally enthusiastic review I’ve read of this book, since so far I’ve seen mostly lukewarm comments which have prevented me from adding the novel to my very crowded TBR. But your mention of the wonderful world-building and the political undercurrents in the story have convinced me to give this one a chance one of these days…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s funny, I actually felt like there was an abundance of love for this series from many avid fantasy readers out there hahaha If you do ever give it a try, I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did, if not more. It’s definitely promising and hopefully it’ll deliver by the end of the series! 😀 Thanks for reading, Maddalena!

      Liked by 2 people

  • Great review as always, Lashaan! The series sounds indeed super promising, and I usually love when there is not just one main character! Thanks for sharing your impressions in such a captivating way! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  • I’m not entirely sure if this one is for me, but there’s enough here to keep it on my list of books to possibly try. I’m not a huge fan of gore, but if it doesn’t go too overboard I can deal with it. I’m not that big on politics, yet I find myself sometimes enjoying it when in speculative fiction (Dune, anyone?). But I do enjoy worldbuilding and worlds inspired by a range of cultures, and low-fantasy with little, or sometimes no, magic can be very refreshing. Great review, Lashaan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it would be a fun one to test out. I doubt it would turn out to be mediocre too. It isn’t politically-heavy though but there are some elements that tie it all together through politics. And I agree. Low-fantasy is quite fun sometimes, making it feel like historical fiction with a touch of magic (sort of like what you find in legends/mythology) but actually exist! 😀 Thanks for reading, Todd!

      Like

  • I really enjoyed this one! I do agree the mysteries were a little too vague. “What is X?” *other character proceeds to ignore question* Hoping we get more answers in book 2! I loved the characters and the chapters just flew by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tell me about it! I wish those little mysteries were further explored. It could’ve made this one even better! I imagine the rest of the series will deal with it as soon as possible though hahaha Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • Yours is the first enthusiastic review of this book, Lashaan, but I think I’ll still keep it on back burner. Somehow it just doesn’t seem to click with me. But your review is great, as always, Lashaan! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  • I was so sure I had commented on this one? 😱

    Captain Rah e’Torin! SUCH AN EXOTIC NAME! 😍😍 Lowkey reminds you of Thorin in The Hobbit! Wouldn’t you agree?!

    Multiple POVs are soo hard to manage and the fact that the author accomplished that definitely speaks in favor of his writing skills!

    I am glad you liked it Lashaan! It really does seem like a great read. 🦋🌻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t worry about. There are always countless posts coming from me. 😉 And a whole back catalog to go through if you have nothing better to do hahahaha

      Torin… Thorin… Yes. Yes. I see the resemblance! 😛 😛

      Yes, she juggles the multiple POVs quite well. Looking forward to how she continues the rest of the series.

      Thanks for reading, Rain! Always a pleasure to see your hyper-enthusiasm on my posts! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  • Stunning cover.
    I always thought prostitutes make for great assassins.
    Three 1st person POV? That sounds like it could potentially be overwhelming. Good to hear that it worked well for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed! The second book’s cover reveal also assures us that the style will be maintained too. And I agree. I’ve seen the whole prostitute turned assassin quite often before and it’s always a fun idea if that character’s personality is done right. 😀 Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  • This one sounds fantastic! I’ll be sure to pick it up when I’m out of my fantasy slump. The three characters sound intriguing and I can’t decide who I like the sound of more. Prostitute turned assassin or the exiled soldier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh man, that slump sounds awful, but it’s still nice that you have other things to keep you entertained nowadays, 😀 And you’re right! That’s why this book had a really good premise to work with and one that had my interest from that start. Hope you get the chance to try it out someday, Aaron!

      Liked by 1 person

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