We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Through war empires rise and fall. War is ready to tear down the Kisian Empire. Some like Princess Miko, a daughter of a traitor, will fight to preserve the empire. Some like exiled Rah e'Torin will fight because he has no choice. One woman, Cassandra, fights to make the voice in her mind go away. Blood will be spilled as a storm wipes away an empire.
We Ride the Storm reads like a low magic version of A Song of Ice and Fire. There are bastards, traitors, secrets, horse lords, and so many lies. If that was where the similarities ended I wouldn't mind, but two of the three point of view characters felt heavily inspired from A Song of Ice and Fire.
Princess Miko was perhaps the most naive and needy character I've seen since reading Sansa Stark in A Game of Thrones. Miko seems to go through Sansa's arc as she begins as considerably naive with some plots of her own and becomes massively manipulative as the story continues. She seemed to be too naive to survive, but like Sansa she kept managing to stay alive. Miko did have some differing qualities from Sansa as she was incredible with a bow and she has some political sense.
Rah e'Torin, the exiled Levanti captain, hung on to his honor more than any character I've seen since Eddard and Robb Stark. Rah would rather be executed than submit and it was only the threat of death to those under his charge that got him to go along at all. Rah is stiff necked and determined. Honestly he seemed like a gigantic pain to have around. He and the rest of the Levanti felt like a slightly more civilized version of the Dothraki from A Song of Ice and Fire. They love their horses and are deadly fighting from them. They are nomadic people who care nothing for wealth and civilization as a whole.
The third point of view character, Cassandra, is the one who received the least amount of page time. Cassandra happened to have the only story I felt was truly intriguing, but she gets massively ignored in the second half of the book. It seems Cassandra has another woman's mind living in her body and in order to ignore it she drinks. The other woman can take control of Cassandra's body at times and she largely disagrees with everything Cassandra does. The other woman can do even more interesting things than that, which is why I wanted a lot more of her and a lot less of the Kisian War. I forgot to mention Cassandra is also a whore assassin and apparently very good looking despite her being a little old for a whore.
Dom Leo Villius is the one other character of note. He has an interesting arc and he's incredibly mysterious. He has some power or someone powerful backing him and I would have much rathered see his point of view rather than Miko or Rah.
The war storyline was largely predictable. Nothing happened that truly felt like a shock. Nothing happened that even excited me. Generally I enjoy a good war story, but I found myselt wanting to know the origin of the other woman in Cassandra's head or how Leo could do the things he did.
We Ride the Storm is a story that had quite a bit of under used potential. I'm curious to see if the sequels will focus more on the interesting tidbits rather than being a lesser version of A Song of Ice and Fire.
3 out of 5 stars
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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