Storm Siren falls under something I call a “world builder.” A first book in a series that is more about introducing the readers to the world, the ruleStorm Siren falls under something I call a “world builder.” A first book in a series that is more about introducing the readers to the world, the rules of magic, and building the power structures rather than character building and development. This is common when a book is a multi-layered world. Storm Siren was not an amazing book; it was a good book with a strong story. I honestly believe that the cliffhanger ending, albeit painful, easily draws the reader to the second book (which I will be reading!).
Storm Siren follows Nym, a powerful storm elemental, who by rights should not exist. In the kingdom of Faelen elementals are always male and completely devoid of rights. They are killed at birth as part of the treaty with neighboring kingdom, Brom, to keep them from overtaking Faelen. Because Nym has no rights, she has been a slave since her uncontrolled powers killed the people she loved. Her most recent owner Adora, a noblewoman who believes controlling elementals will help their country win a war, offers to help Nym learn to control her elemental power in exchange for her help in defeating king of Brom. It is the King who is consistently whispered about, giving the book a constant threat of war just over the horizon. The war doesn’t really make an appearance in Storm Siren. I have a feeling it will build in the second and third books.
Nym is a compelling character, but her constant anger and self-loathing strangle any character growth until almost the end of the book. Even with this limitation, Ms. Weber’s writing is more poetic than prose, giving Nym a lyrical inner voice. The secondary characters are what make this book shine. Eogan, Nym’s trainer, has so many layers to his character that you don’t know if he is good or bad, crazy or sane, loving or hateful. While the twins, Colin and Brek, offer a rare acceptance of their status in the world and lots of comic relief. Princess Rasha brings an odd breath of strength in a glittering world of intrigue and politics, even if Nym doesn’t trust her. The addition of monsters, like the flesh eating horses that Nym, Eogan, and Colin ride, give more depth to the world Ms. Weber is creating.
While I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars, I am excited for the rest of the books in the series. Sirens Fury, book two came out in June 2015, and Sirens Song, book three came out in March 2015. If you’re looking for something good with a large world to get lost in, I suggest Storm Siren. ...more
Jennifer Estep is a master of the craft. Storytelling is her forte. She weaves tiny details into everything she does; Cold Burn of Magic is no exceptiJennifer Estep is a master of the craft. Storytelling is her forte. She weaves tiny details into everything she does; Cold Burn of Magic is no exception. It is a richly layered world, from the magical mountain above Cloudburst Falls to the smallest details on the coins left for the lochness that lives under the bridge. I have a fondness for old fairytales. In Cold Burn of Magic Jennifer Estep weaves in pieces from lots of old fairytales to build upon her idea of a magical world. It’s clever, fresh, and delightful to read.
From the back of the book: There be monsters here…
It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.
I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.
But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .
Cold Burn of Magic is set in the town of Cloudburst Falls, a magical Disneyland if you will. The town is broken up into sections that are controlled by the magical families, with the Sinclair’s and the Draconi’s at the apex of that power structure. For centuries there has been infighting and power struggles as each family vies to take control of more of Cloudburst Falls.
Although I found this book to be a rollicking and action filled read, it does have its flaws. The characters are (mostly) teenagers. As such, they suffer from wildly differentiating emotional responses, much like a real teenager would. For older readers this can be frustrating, but the overall character growth is consistent with their core desires and beliefs. In addition to the character’s youth, it was remarkably easy to predict who the general “bad guy” was early on in the book. Readers are clearly presented with one big bad, which seems to be intended as the main bad guy throughout the Black Blade trilogy. Each book in this series also has a general bad guy. This is easier to predict than it should be. Even so, it doesn’t detract from the overall book.
One of the strengths of this book is the magic system. Magic is broken down into three categories: type, strength, and rarity. A character might have a weak ability to heal and a strong ability for enhanced speed or they might have a singular ability of enhanced strength. Rarity is another matter. Lila has two rare abilities, soul-sight being one. I won’t spoil the other. Something unique to this world is that genetics only determines whether or not you receive magical abilities, not which gift you are born with. If your mother has a strength ability and your father a healing ability, you may have a minor affinity towards these abilities, but you could also end up with a strong ability for enhanced sight and hearing.
The characters in Cold Burn of Magic are a delightful mess. I mean that in the best of sense. Your main protagonist is Lila Merriweather, an orphaned thief living illegally in the basement of Cloudburst Fall’s library. Her goals in life include killing the man who killed her mother, not get caught or executed by one of the ruling families, and eventually moving out of Cloudburst Falls. None of these goals are as simple as they seem. Victor Draconi is the head of the Draconi family and the man who killed Lila’s mother. The main secondary character is Devon Sinclair, the Bruiser (second in command) to the Sinclair family. All Devon wants is to protect his people and the creatures that live in Cloudburst Falls. Only someone is killing off people in the Sinclair family and the creatures in it’s care. Helping an hindering Lila and Devon are: Mo, Lila’s main fence, substitute parent, and owner of Cloudburst Fall’s main pawn shop. Felix is Devon’s best friend, resident smart-ass, and budding Romeo. Claudia is Devon’s mom and head of the Sinclair family, deliberate, scheming, and willing to do anything to protect her family. Deah, the daughter of Victor Draconi with the power to mimic anyone’s ability, who both helps and hinders Lila for reasons no one knows. Blake, son of Victor Draconi, a budding sociopath with anger management issues. Oscar, the honey-beer swilling, country loving, cowboy pixie, who does his best to help Lila.
Cold Burn of Magic is an incredible book full of magic, evil villians, fairytales, magical monsters, and second chances. I know that the second and third books will only be better. You should read it. ...more