The Last Stormlord (Stormlord Trilogy) by Glenda Larke
|The Last Stormlord (Stormlord Trilogy) by Glenda Larke|
|Reviewer: Amanda Kane|
|Summary: An engaging and intricately plotted novel. Complex and intriguing.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 640||Date: March 2010|
The Last Stormlord is a unique story which explores a civilization on the brink of disaster. The world survives through the powers of a Stormmlord who brings water to the parched lands of the Quartern from the distant seas. As the story opens the last Stormlord is weak and dying. Choices are being made about who will receive water, who will not and the Quartern hovers on the brink of returning to a time of Random Rain: water that does not fall where or when it is needed. Without a new Stormlord the land will die.
Larke wastes no time in throwing the reader straight into the action. In the first chapter alone there is a horrifically brutal murder and an attempted sexual assault. She creates a violent world strictly segregated by water allowance, with those who are waterless (with no entitlement to water) at the bottom of the social ladder. These people are viewed as expendable and are the first to suffer from any water shortages.
I found Larke's world building detailed and convincing. The value of water is emphasised through the everyday expressions the characters use and the rituals that structure their lives. Of course, for the many fantasy fans out there a world which lacks water will instantly bring to mind Frank Herbert's Dune books. I'm a huge fan of Herbert's early Dune books and was concerned that Larke's world building might bear too many similarities to Dune. Yet Larke's world, while equally unforgiving, is uniquely her own: a complex and dangerous world where the currency of life is water.
However, I did have some issues with the book. While the characters were meticulously created, developed and introduced over the first one hundred pages, it really detracted from the pace. Everything was so slow as the reader is dragged from place to place and introduced to characters, their situations, their background, their motivations. I'm a reader who likes to know her characters thoughts and feelings but when these characters are abandoned until needed again for the purpose of plot development, I lose interest. A little judicious editing would have made a huge difference and ensured that the plot maintained a more vigorous pace. I suspect that these will be developed further in book two and three of the trilogy but it's pretty hard to maintain interest in characters who vanish for a hundred pages at a time! Also, I feel that a book should be able to stand on its own merits – not as part of a trilogy.
I'm also not a fan of the 'incredibly convenient plot device'. I found it totally ludicrous that the villain, Taquar, a man who has been manipulating society for the last twenty years – without anyone noticing – is unable to fabricate a convincing lie to fool Shale as to how he was able to conveniently rescue him. Or the way that Shale learns to understand the Reduner language, thereby allowing him to conveniently hear the secrets that Taquar wished to keep from him.
But these are only minor complaints. If you enjoy your fantasy worlds convincingly presented and lovingly detailed, this is the book for you. However, be warned, this is not a stand alone novel. The book ended with plenty of excitement and action with the fates of many characters left to be revealed in book two.
Thank you to Orbit for sending a copy of the book to Bookbag.
If you liked this book try The Hundred-Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy) by N K Jemisin.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Last Stormlord (Stormlord Trilogy) by Glenda Larke at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Last Stormlord (Stormlord Trilogy) by Glenda Larke at Amazon.com.
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