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Lady of Gems #4

Dream Storm Sea

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She saved their lives. They rewarded her with imprisonment. She vows to escape, even if she has to cross a sea flourishing with monsters and magical storms.

333 pages, Paperback

First published December 20, 2013

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About the author

A.E. Marling

11 books299 followers
A.E. Marling writes on pages, cards, and buildings. A member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, A.E. has published several fantasy novels and written names and flavor text for Magic: the Gathering. The author also shines words in light on buildings as a projection activist (@AEMarling).

Pronouns: he/them

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5 stars
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22 (23%)
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Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
Profile Image for Eric.
599 reviews37 followers
March 3, 2015
A.E. Marling continues his streak of unique and disturbing fantasy with his latest tale of the lands of loam.

I have read all of the novels about enchantress Hiresha. In the latest installment, both she and the author have outdone themselves.

The story begins with Hiresha's life being turned upside down. Before she knows it, she's on the run, separated from Spellsword Fos, and forced to get by with only a single small gem. In extremis, she finds herself at sea in a small fishing craft with a former enemy.

The Lands of Loam are wondrous. The enchantresses' magic freely defies gravity, resulting in amazing feats of engineering like Oasis City's vertical and inverted rivers, or the college of enchantment's fantastical architecture. But it's also terrifying. Feasters, soulstealers, walking dead, and more make the Lands of Loam a deathworld to do Harry Harrison proud. The Dream Storm Sea may be the most dangerous of them all.

The sea and its creatures, saturated with wild magic, present the most hostile environment in an already perilous world. Fifty foot crocodiles, invulnerable leviathans, dragons and scorpions. Dream storms change everything in their path. And through it all swims a mysterious and cruel creature known to fishermen as the Murderfish.

Between this uncanny environment, the dream storms, and developments in Hiresha's own dreaming, _Dream Storm Sea_ takes on a dreamlike quality itself. It alternates between nightmare and daydream, and Hiresha's narrative becomes confused and confusing in spots as appropriate. Marling handles this uncertainty with aplomb, leading the reader through escalating cycles of terror and wonder to a moving series of revelations and climaxes.

At one point I updated "the author has either lost control of his story, or is having an episode of genius." In the end, it turned out to be the latter.
Profile Image for Madison Keller.
Author 30 books22 followers
February 26, 2014
After saving the academy in Gravity’s Revenge, Enchantress Hiresha expects to be lauded as a hero. Instead she is stripped of her titles, her jewels, and her gowns. Exiled to the edges of the empire, Hiresha vows to escape and make her own way in the world.

With the help of Innanis, the Jewel Duper, and Emesea the false novice, Hiresha escapes only to find herself trapped on a small boat in the dangerous sea with Emesea and Tethiel.

I loved the world of the sea. Its incredibly imaginative, and breathtakingly beautiful. Hiresha herself is layered and complex, a flawed hero in a flawed world.

I literally could not put this book down, reading it in its entirety over the course of a single day. The second half of the novel is a whirlwind of activity, made unreal by the fact that neither the reader nor Hiresha herself knows what is a dream and what is not. I won’t say more for fear of spoiling it, but I was on the edge of my seat till the very end.

Tethiel is in fine form, like always, offering seemingly contradictory advice and unconventional wisdom.

Of the three main characters, Emesea remained a bit of an enigma up to the bitter end. Although I was glad she had a chance to redeem herself after her actions in Gravity’s Revenge.
Profile Image for A.E. Marling.
Author 11 books299 followers
August 9, 2016
A note on series:

If you like your fantasy dark and you protagonists to be bundles of flaws loosely strung together by heroism, then first look into Brood of Bones and Fox's Bride.

If more nobility beats in your heart, and you prefer soaring stories, consider reading Gravity's Revenge first.

If you found Dream Storm Sea because you, like me, are entranced by the vast mystery of the deep and want a tale of storm and beautiful monsters, then dive right in. The water is glowing.

The eBook is currently on Amazon (and convertible to other formats), and the paperback will surface in January.
Profile Image for Meghan.
760 reviews14 followers
March 3, 2014
best one yet! so trippy. first I was all "those rat bastards", then "oh, I like her. she is so cray-cray", and then "ha-ha, Mr. sexy got seasick." and then the book got better. soooo original. this was great! and the ending!!!! I had to go back and reread a bunch just to untangle my mind. this is tween friendly, nana friendly, good times. read to your kids. read it to your mom. read it out loud to the stranger on the bus... ok, not so much. the humour in this is just outstanding. so sly. so giggle worthy. I am so glad I gave the first book a try.
Profile Image for Mel Horne.
240 reviews1 follower
December 29, 2013
As refreshing as a dip in the ocean, as perplexing as a cunning idea, Dream Storm Sea is a pleasure to read and think about. The twisting entwining tale is engrossing, it meanders off in parts, but is always fun. A.E Marling is getting better and better a joy to read.
Author 1 book5 followers
January 31, 2023
This review does not contain spoilers***********

I have loved A. E. Marling's work since The Fox's Bride, and Dream Storm Sea only takes his writing up to a lusciousness I've rarely seen in fantasy fiction. He manages to describe settings, scenes, and people with just the right amount of detail and not boring me to death. The action and plotlines are superb, and the book had that "impossible to put down" deliciousness.

I love occupying the Lands of Loam, and will wait, no matter how long, for the next book.
Profile Image for Roger Eschbacher.
Author 11 books130 followers
December 29, 2022
A delightful addition to one of the best series I've ever read. Author Marling is a master storyteller with an imagination that's second to none.
Profile Image for Jake.
153 reviews15 followers
October 5, 2021
Oh wow.

Seriously, absolutely awe inspiring. I would have written awesome however the modern language has altered it's meaning just enough it no longer means what it use to mean. Such is language.

Drifting from my purpose though.

This was the best one by far! I loved the first and third (the second one for me just wasn't as grand) books but this one crowns it all. It is the paragon of the series.

The start of the book is good. It has wit and wonder. And then it falls apart and things just don't go anywhere in the realm of better for Hiresha, Lady of Gems. However this isn't why this book is now in my favorites collection. The writing was superb and the story and plot going wonderfully when suddenly we hit the sea and everything goes everywhere! Like lobbing a boulder at a frozen lake. Whoosh, there goes our sense of understanding and now you're trying to read the bubbles in the water and the cracks in the remaining ice to work out whats happening. That is what became of our tale. And it was incredible. Absolutely masterfully done. Now, for a fuller understanding, I'm afraid you will need to go read the book.

I've already hinted at too much.



You are persistent. Or bored. Or both. Or persistently bored. Regardless, I'm leaving. And if I'm gone you can't sit here trying to read and convince me to tell you more.

Because I won't.

I want to.

But I won't.

*Vanishes in a haze of half forgotten dreams and half remembered realities*
Profile Image for Elwyn.
Author 2 books4 followers
August 30, 2016
So, sea-faring stories are a love of mine. Also epic battles and sweet-ass magic. Put them together with a dash of dorky sayings from a particular illusionist, a savagely fantastic and fearless warrior, and the overly-practical enchantress I've fallen for, and it makes for a heart-stopping story.

Dream Storm Sea also gave me a ridiculous amount of emotional turmoil as Hiresha fights two very different battles in her mind. Guessing between the two realities was upsetting to the point where I had to take breaks to compare discrepancies. I liked both possibilities for different reasons, and disliked both for other reasons. It was conflicting and an interesting way to add tension to the story. The reality I thought was real turned out to be dream, as well, which made me equally happy and sad (for very different, very spoilery reasons). Ultimately overjoyed with the true reality - it did take me quite some time to sort out my feelings for it, though!

Dazzling, exhilarating, and exulting. A fantastic read for fans of The Lady of Gems series.

Profile Image for Kristi.
94 reviews8 followers
February 7, 2016
At the beginning of this book i was pretty excited by it and found it hard to put down. The descriptions of the sea and the monster were so fantastic and amazing. But as soon as the dreams began...i felt so many conflicting emotions. Both seemed impossible at times and both had elements i wanted to be real along with elements i hoped were not. By the end of the book i was very confused about what was happening in each dream, i was getting them mixed up. I really want to reread this but haven't found the time yet. I think that i will read all the chapters for each dream in sequence next time instead of switching back and forth. Ultimately i think there is some good character progression here but i'm not sure what was real nor how Hiresha will be able to live with two conflicting realities at all times.
Profile Image for Jently.
24 reviews
August 31, 2016
Loved it! The Hiresha books are probably one of my favorite reading discoveries of the last year. Anyone who is looking for a unique, exciting and wonderfully magical fantasy setting should check them out. Dream Storm Sea was no exception. I love how Hiresha is coming more and more into her own with each book. Not to mention how great a partner in crime Tethiel has become. I have no idea how a happy ending would work with those two but I can't help hoping for it. :)
Profile Image for Lillith.
18 reviews4 followers
December 29, 2013
I could not put this one down! This is some beautifully detailed, clever and suspenseful writing in such a fantastic setting - around the sea, over the sea, under the sea. The action is intense and the developments with Hiresha were a delight to read. The maps are gorgeous.

Absolutely loved it.
Profile Image for Danielle.
111 reviews
March 7, 2014
I'm really bad about not reading the chapter titles. Read the chapter titles. It'll save so much confusion.
Profile Image for Min.
189 reviews
March 30, 2014
poor fos. where did he go?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews

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