Review: We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson (The Reborn Empire #1)

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I received an ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

There has been quite a lot of hype surrounding this book in the blogger circles I run in. I simply had to try it. And yes, it lives up.

“But what is choice?” he said, checking over every blister and sore. “What is power? In truth you have none. None of us do. We are but leaves buffeted upon life’s stream, our every decision already made before it comes to us.”

We follow three characters – Rah, a disgraced but honourable captain of the Levanti; Miko, a young Kisian princess perpetually in the shadow of her brother; and Cassandra, an assassin-whore possessed by a mysterious entity. Alternating chapters of each, all in first person.

The book has a very Malazan-like, figure-it-out-along-the-way approach to worldbuilding and how the chapters connect wasn’t clear until four or five chapters in, which also made it somewhat harder to connect to the story and especially the characters. Even when I got a hold on all the names and cultures and factions, I still wasn’t connecting as much as I would have liked. It was, perhaps, simply not a right book for me at the moment.

Still, fans of epic fantasy, politics, and grimdark would find plenty to love. It’s fairly dark, with violence abound. The prose is solid and the plot is so full of twists and turns and surprises my poor heart could barely take it. The ending was excellent as well, stopping at a point where it made sense, but leaving some things open to the sequel. A sequel I would gladly read.

Enjoyment: 3.5/5
Execution: 4/5

Recommended to: grimdark fans, political fantasy fans, military fantasy fans
Not recommended to: those looking for lighter/easier reads, also: there’s a rape (not graphic), and a lot of violence (sometimes graphic) so if that’s a no for you, avoid it

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