Format: Hardcover, 544 pages
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
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. Multiple intricately interwoven storylines converge in this gripping novel about a brave, coordinated effort to undermine a horrific tyrant.
Stormcaster, by author Cinda Williams Chima, is apparently the third out of four installments in the Shattered Realms series, with the final installment supposedly releasing in 2020. If you haven't read this book yet, let me give up a heads up. This is a story filled with multiple storylines from Evan Strangward to Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa and everyone else who has been introduced so far. Like the previous installments, the author spends quite a bit of time introducing you to Evan who we actually have met before.
We ride with him as a 15-year old who is being sought after by Celestine Nazari who claims that she is trying to unite all those with Nazari blood. Apparently, Evan not only wears a magemark on his neck, but also is a Nazari. Later, Evan finds his way to Fallsmarch where he meets characters we've seen in previous books, and characters who have been around since the authors last series which was set 25 years before this one. Really, in essence, it takes a full third of the book to get where the previous installment left off.
Then, it's a hodge podge story that encompasses everyone including Adrian sul'Han, Lila Barnwell, Captain Halston Maklan, Destin Martin, Jenna Bandelow, and of course,
Alyssa ana’Raisa who was taken along with Breon by Celestine. Let's just save some time, shall we? In the end, Adrian and Lila make their way home and there is a touching reunion which leads to news about Alyssa. Jenna meets Alyssa along with her dragon compatriot Cas. Jenna is still planning on killing Celestine.
Meanwhile, Lila is involved in almost every single storyline, except Jenna's. I do mean that. I'm not talking hyperbole. She has her hands in so many different characters plans that I am not sure who she is really working for. After escaping from Celestine's army, Hal arrives back home in Ardenscourt
hoping to gather an army to fight against Celestine as well as rescuing Alyssa. Lastly, Destin is also in Ardenscourt trying to avoid a civil war and gain an upper hand by removing obstacles to his plans.
Oh, and let's not forget that there has been a war going on for 25 years, and now we can add Celestine's advancing armies to the massive kerfuffle. I am rather glad that Raissa hasn't been shoved aside fully. I think there is way more that is to come when it comes to her longevity and ability to survive numerous attempts on her life hoping to end the war. I'm not really a fan of Evan's, nor was I impressed with the author's direction for his character. The problems with having way too many characters and way too many storylines going on at the same time is that certain characters get shoved to the background, like Jenna & Cas. The issue is that all of the storylines are happening concurrently, and thus while something is happening, something else has already happened. I would prefer less characters, and a straight forward storyline. Silly me, right? The only positive is that when we do get to Alyssa's perspective, we get to visit a whole new land and meet Celestine's army that has been blood sworn to her.