Blood and Tempest (Empire of Storms 3) by Jon Skovron
Blood and Tempest is the third and final book in the Empire of Storms trilogy by Jon Skovron. If you’ve ever read this blog before, you’ll know that I am a HUGE fan of this guy. I have read and reviewed all three of the Empire of Storms books now, and they are relentlessly good. Click the links to see my previous review of Hope and Red, and Bane and Shadow.
The blurb for Blood and Tempest;
Still reeling from the events on Dawn’s Light, Hope struggles to understand what it means to be a warrior who has vowed to never again take up a sword. Her search for enlightenment gives her mastery of surprising new abilities, which leads her to uncover some disturbing clues about the true origin of the empire.
Red has excelled in his new role as an imperial spy. Now he’s been assigned to the one task he’s desired all along: recruiting Hope and Brigga Lin to help rid the empire of the council of biomancery once and for all.
But the council have set their own plans in motion. Their increasingly tenuous grip on the empire has left them desperate and willing to do anything to maintain their power . . .
Once I’d finished Blood and Tempest, I was a little unsure of how I felt about the final instalment in the trilogy. There is more weight on a final book in a trilogy, quadrilogy, or series. If the reader has bothered to buy it and read it then it’s fair to assume that they have fully bought into the characters, world, and the author. And this is true for me. I like the author’s style of writing, I think the world he has created is awesome, and I absolutely love the characters. However, it’s the journey in this final book that has me scratching my head and searching for my true feelings around it. Hopefully during this review, I can properly explore that and give a fair summary. So, down to it, what was GOOD about the book?
First of all, the writing. Skovron has a real knack for creating liquid prose, you know, the kind that has you turning pages at a frantic pace because the story is just so damn good. The story s all there but the writing, the vehicle, is as smooth as ever. The conversations between the characters hold real value and aren’t there simply just to fill the space between the action. The language used by Red and the other ‘Wags of the Circle’ is as crude and perfect as it is in the preceding books.
Now, the action. Throughout Blood and Tempest there is plenty of action, whether it be a slaughter by a highly skilled maniac, or an all-out assault by something much larger, it is here in droves. Skovron also has a way of dealing with the action that is clear, concise, and not too self-indulgent. However, it is bloody and it is frantic, and you now that someone will end up missing an appendage or losing their head, I love it!
Ah, the characters. What can I say? I could read about Red and Hope all day long, hell, I have! They are yin and yang. One is from the bottom, a street-smart quick witted, foul mouthed rogue. The other is highly trained picture of morality, but with a bloody past and a need for vengeance. Their journey through the trilogy is a winding one, with more than one bump along the way. Again, I love it! Skovron has a hold of these characters and he mills then for all they’re worth. Throughout Blood and Tempest, we also see the ending of arcs for the peripheral characters, some end, and some have new beginnings, but all are essential. I always think that peripheral characters are dangerous because they can become collateral for the writer, an easy way out if a death is needed, or an easy explanation if something doesn’t make sense. Not here. Skovron writes all of his characters in a way that makes you think “Shit, I’d love to read a book about this guy/girl”. They each add another dimension and actually bring something to the story. Again they’re essential.
Oh, and there may be another side to the biomancers, just sayin’.
Now, to the however part.
The biggest difficulty I had was with where I thought the book fit into the series. It felt to me as if it could have been a standalone novel. And not just that, some of the character arcs felt a little rushed, as if their ending was too soon and it left me thinking “Come on, they could have been so much more!”. That was my main issue with Blood and Tempest; it was just a little rushed.
Would I recommend this book? You’re damn straight I would, and I AM! It’s swashbuckling dark fantasy at its best. And, all-in-all a worthy ending to one of my favourite fantasy series EVER!
Where to find Blood and Tempest
Where to find Jon Skovron
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