Cinda Williams Chima’s latest YA Fantasy Book, Stormcaster, came out last week, and though I tried to take my time reading it, cherishing every moment I spent visiting the Shattered Realms, I still seem to have overindulged and now, a week later, I am still reeling from a major book hangover.
The saga continues and does so marvelously. I suppose it didn’t help that I reread Flamecaster and Shadowcaster before starting this, perhaps to build up my tolerance, but I’m glad I did. Even so, having read this, I want to reread the earlier books again, knowing what I know now.
Stormcaster, the third book in the Shattered Realm series, goes back in time, using an overlapping timeline, just as Shadowcaster did, so past events are revisited from a new angle. This narrative choice adds depth to familiar scenes. It adds a layer of complexity to the already complex political climate of the Seven Realms.
Stormcaster does not mark the end of the series, that is clear. And I’m glad for it. Where the Seven Realms series is political and introduced the conflict between the different groups in the Queendom of the Fells–wizards, the mountain tribes (both Demonai and those at Marisa Pines), and the non-magical citizens of Fellsmarch–the Shattered Realm series (set 25 years after the conclusion of the first series) introduces the challenges of the lower realms–the Church of Malthus (bent on eradicating the evil of magic, sending its followers out to hunt down and kill “mages”), the King of Arden (with a personal grudge against the Queen of the Fells), the conquered Thanes who are tired of funding twenty-five years of war, and now the Empress Celestine from across the Indio ocean, who has a seemingly unlimited supply of fierce warriors looking to cross the ocean and attack, a task made much easier when the mainland is embroiled in civil war.
There is a new group of characters in this series, mysterious orphans with a magemark embedded in the back of their necks, that are being hunted by the Empress, who have magical powers (you can figure out what they are by the titles of the books in this series). Flamecaster introduced us to Jenna, Shadowcaster to Breon, and Stormcaster to Evan.
The storyline of Stormcaster jumps from place to place, from character to character, creating a rich mosaic, like a fine wine with a complex bouquet. (Sorry if that’s not a proper metaphor; as you can tell by this post, I get drunk on books.) As I read, I concurrently wanted each section to continue so I could see what happened to that character, and needed to know what was happening elsewhere. I’m hooked, and I am loving it. I just wish I didn’t have to wait a year to read more! I’ve got a major book hangover, and feel bad for whatever book I read next.
Consider yourself warned.