Book Review: Angel of Storms by Trudi Canavan
A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Series: Book 2 of Millennium’s Rule
Publisher: Orbit (11/12/15)
Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
When it comes to magic, no one writes it quite like Trudi Canavan. I was first introduced to her work with the Black Magician Trilogy. Captivated, I went on to pick up several more of her books set in the same universe. Then a couple years ago, I found out about her new series called Millennium’s Rule and was doubly excited to dive into a brand new world.
There was something very interesting about the structure of the first book Thief’s Magic, however, and I’m sure those who have read it would know exactly what I mean. Essentially, it was like reading two books in one, with the narrative alternating back and forth between two character POVs: Tyen, a young archaeology student on a magic-rich world who uncovers a sentient book named Vella while excavating the ruins of an ancient tomb; and Rielle, a dyer’s daughter from a magic-poor world where using magic is a grave crime, akin from stealing from the Angels themselves.
What do these two seemingly disparate storylines have to do with each other? Curiously, absolutely nothing at all—at least in the first book. So what gives? Well, I was hoping the link would finally be revealed in the sequel, Angel of Storms.
Thankfully, we do get some answers…to a degree. As it turns out, there is a panoply of different worlds out there, both magic-rich and magic-starved, and both Tyen and Rielle are pieces of a much bigger puzzle. If there is one thing in common between all the worlds, it is that most of them have heard of a powerful sorcerer known as the Raen. Some regard him as an evil force, while others worship him as a benevolent god. What matters now though, is that the Raen has returned, and his arrival has caused ripples of uncertainty all throughout the worlds.
It has been several years since the end of Thief’s Magic, and Tyen is now a teacher at a well-respected magic school while Rielle has hidden her own magical talents and started a new life among the tapestry weavers of Schpeta. With the Raen’s reappearance, however, the peace is broken as worlds take sides. Tyen agrees to help spy for the sorcerer in exchange for a way to free Vella from her book, and Rielle accepts an invitation from the Angel of Storms to train and hone her burgeoning magical skills. For much of the book, the two characters’ lives are still rather separate and unrelated, though towards the end we do see some convergence in the storylines.
Overall, it’s not quite the connection I’d hoped for, but it’s a start. Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a bit disappointed. The main problem with Angel of Storms (and the series so far) is that it develops slowly, and it falls prey to the “second book” syndrome—instead of ramping up the plot, it drags. The book’s structure also makes reviewing it challenging, especially since I was more drawn to Rielle’s storyline than Tyen’s, even though his was filled with more action and suspense. How do I rate a book when I really loved one character’s half of it, but was only lukewarm about the other half?
To the novel’s credit though, I was pleasantly surprised at the role of the Raen in explaining how Rielle and Tyen’s worlds were linked. I’m also fascinated by the differences in their worlds’ cultures and the way each character’s attitude towards magic is shaped by their upbringing, setting each of them on their individual paths. In addition, Canavan ramps up the world building, further developing the concept of multiple worlds in this sequel. The characters travel to some truly amazing places, and readers gets to enjoy vivid descriptions of every kind of world imaginable.
So while Angel of Storms is far from perfect, there’s still lots to love. At times, I had difficulty staying engaged with the story, but by the book’s climax, that was no longer a problem. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that things got more interesting the moment Rielle and Tyen’s storylines started coming together; I’ve waited a long time for answers, and I’m glad we got some even when they were slow in coming. In spite of the book’s flaws, I was hooked by the enticing teaser at the end, and I’m looking forward to the third book to see what will happen next.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Thief’s Magic (Book 1)