We Ride the Storm Review
4.5 / 5 Stars
We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson has been on my radar since we both competed (not against each other) in the SPFBO. I remember seeing reviews of the first page having to do with cutting off a head being tougher than you'd think, and that of course peaked my interest.
Now, that was not how the version I read started, as Madson was offered a traditional publishing deal (yay for her!) and made some changes. But, rest assured, there is still plenty of decapitation. Too much for some, but I've never been turned off by a little over-the-top violence.
The story follows three POV characters: Miko, Rah, and Cassandra. Rah is a huge warrior, an honorable dude whose moral compass and conviction gets him in trouble. I really enjoyed learning about his culture (nomadic horse people who cut off heads to release the juicy spirit inside) and he had some of the best philosophies in the book.
Cassandra—and her mysterious passenger—were probably my favorite. She’s a badass whoressassin possessed by a goddess (or something). Her interactions with a non POV main were some of my favorite, and I kept wanting to get back to her chapter. My biggest complaint was that she didn’t get enough page time, and that her ending seemed to lack some ooomph.
The final POV character, Miko, was a princess who was trying to survive in a patriarchal society while navigating politics (which, being young, she is fairly bad at). Her goal is what is right for the empire, and she has a couple glorious moments along that path. While not bad by a longshot, she was my l least favorite of the three. Her ending—a final battle—also felt somewhat rushed.
The writing, throughout, was a highlight, Madson has a way with words, and there were several noteworthy sections that felt great to read.
i felt like the overarching plot is tied together well. I understand how the characters relate to one another, even if they just meet in passing, and I appreciate the different perspectives that help you tie together the big picture. There are enough mysteries left that you keep reading to find out more.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to lovers of violent fantasy and Grimdark. I’ll be picking up the next book as soon as it comes out.