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(The Rhenwars Saga #0.5)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Darkstorm is the prequel to the dark epic fantasy series The Rhenwars Saga.

Faced with an imminent cataclysm that will destroy the magical heritage of their people, a secret conspiracy of mages has resorted to harnessing the powers of Hell to save their legacy. The only mages who can oppose them are Braden and Quin Reis: two brothers with a turbulent past and a caustic rela
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published January 19th 2017 by Stoneguard Publication
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spfbo
I read this book as part of the #SPFBO reading I am currently working on, and I have to say I was not disappointed. I went into this book hoping for mage battles and epic magic and a whole lot of drama, and that is exactly what I got. It's a fairly short fantasy book, but it's got a lot of good moments and it packs a strong punch of fun. I would certainly say this is well worth a read.

In this story we follow two brothers, Braden and Quin Reis. They haven't been best of friends for some time than
Montzalee Wittmann
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Rhenwars Saga, Book 0
By: M. L. Spencer
Narrated by: Simon Wright
This is an audible book I requested and the review is voluntary.
I have to say that as soon as the book started I was drawn to the smooth and attractive voice coming from my tablet. I had not heard this narrator before and I was enticed right away. Loved his voice! This man could get away with murder! He delivered a flawless performance and and had me glued to his dreamy voice.
The book was wonderful also but different th
Rob Hayes
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Time for a little disclaimer. It is, unfortunately, impossible to really separate the narrator from the words when reviewing an audiobook. But I have tried.

Darkstorm is a prequel of sorts to M L Spencer's Rhenwars Saga. The author told me this when I started the book, and pointed out that it's probably not the best place to start the series. However, I was after an audiobook, and book 1 was not yet ready (I believe it will be soon and is probably a better place to begin your journey into the Rhe
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
That was a really fun book, review to come soon.
Luke Hindmarsh
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Character driven and original. A must read.

The strength of this book is in its unusual characters. You’ve got Branden, who is hidebound and stiff necked but at the same time carries guilt over his past. His approach is that ever dangerous utilitarian principle of the greater good. The kind of attitude that can steamroll over normal people. Merris is an enigma. She seems to be one thing but is a chameleon, shifting her identity to fit with whoever she is in the company of. This is a fascinating t
The Nerd Book Review
Enjoyable and frustrating!

I interviewed ML Spencer for my podcast The Nerd Book Review ! The book is well written and at times was both enjoyable and frustrating. I thought the storyline was engaging and entertaining but she has a cast of characters that for the most part weren’t very likeable. Her “heroes” are deeply flawed people and the character who I thought seemed like the most middle of the road and reasonable was a villain.
If you like a book with characters in the Mark Lawrence mold the
Rebekah Teller
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Betrayal and failure infest this story, with scant moments of triumph. Spencer teases the reader with glimpses of success and hope, making for an experience that compels you to keep reading, to keep hoping the next plot will work out. It's unsettling, mesmerizing, and addictive.

I devoured this book. I read until my eyes were soupy. I had some vague understanding of where things would end up, and I desperately needed to see how it unfolded. I had started with Darkmage, the first book in The Rhenw
Stanislas Sodonon
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
And it's done!
I've completed my first foray into the Rhenwars Saga.

And I am torn to shreds between satisfaction and despair.
So much good soil, such vigorous seeds... but the tree didn't grow as tall as I'd hoped it would.
Small things kept popping up. And then they grew.

So let's talk about it (usual disclaimer applies).

The 1st chapter
We get right down to it. Someone's about to buy a one-way ticket to the Down Under. Strong start.
I like.
The writing is a bit... lyrical, I'd say, but it gets the jo
Julian Green
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Epic Battle Rap Review for Darkstorm – M.L. Spencer

Yo Dis Jay, Epic Battle Rap Review,
Here to tell you, what he think true.

Darkstorm be epic fantasy, twisted plot yo canna see,
Wild ride no prediction, mad protag antag friction,

Bound by love, fits like a glove
Under threat of war, making the score

Brimming with magic, damn full of tragic
Until the sacrifice, like added all spice

Jay love the mayhem, drilling into brain stem
Fee Roberts
Darkstorm by M.L. Spencer is the first book in The Rhenwars Saga. Braden and Quin Reis, two brothers of great power, are the only hope to stopping a conspiracy of mages who are intent on unsealing the Well of Tears.

Plot 5/5 : Interesting plot with some twists.

Characters 5/5 : Well fleshed out characters

World building 5/5 : An interesting setting

Pacing 5/5 : Steady pace with spurts of action.

Writing 5/5 : Beautifully written with tastefully written scenes of sexual encounters

Overall 5 stars

C.T. Phipps
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Darkstorm is an interesting novel because I can't help but think of a high school class of Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, and other short fantasy novel series with Rhenwars sitting in the back as the Goth chick. It's a book which superficially has a resemblance to all the fun Dungeons and Dragons "adventure" fiction where there's a threat to the world, a misfit party of adventurers, evil villains, and a ticking clock forcing everyone to put aside their personal baggage.

The thing is, in this cas
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
It all starts with a young mage, Merris, who overhears something from her master and a stranger. It causes her to have to flee and take refuge in a place where she never thought she'd be. Seeking help from two brothers, one a battlemage and one a drunk, they need to figure out what exactly is happening, how deep it goes and how to stop it.

It took me a little while to fully immerse myself into the world the author was setting up, but once I did, I ended up really enjoying this. This book doesn't
Damien Black
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A suspenseful and lugubrious fantasy tale, Darkstorm is aptly named indeed, for it offers a foreshadowing of things to come. And those things don't bode well for humanity. Two high civilisations, Caladorn and the Rhen, are on the brink of war, their rival ruling synods of warlocks at daggers drawn. But underpinning this mortal conflict is a much graver danger, and averting this may involve a diabolical pact with the forces of darkness. This story thus revolves around a moral dilemma on a large s ...more
Adrian Collins
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed on Grimdark Magazine by C.T. Phipps.

Grimdark comes in a variety of shapes and sizes but tends to be viewed as epic trilogies or doorstopper series. Rarely do we get to see what I term to be “pocket-sized fantasy” where the adventure begins and ends within in a single 300-page volume. Darkstorm, by M.L. Spencer, challenges that by telling a stand-alone story as the first installment of The Rhenwars Saga.

Darkstorm by M.L. SpencerDarkstorm has the premise of saving the world (li
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast-paced and vividly rendered story of dark magic, "Darkstorm" is full of twists and turns. Merris Bryar is an acolyte mage in Aerysius who stumbles into a conspiracy between high-ranking officials of her own country and Caladorn, their sworn enemies. Before she knows what is happening, she has to flee to Caladorn and take refuge in the protection of a washed-up drunkard who used to be a powerful mage. But the conspiracy goes deeper than anyone suspects...

Hovering somewhere on the border bet
Paul Lavender
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely cracking story that is hard to put down. I urge everyone to buy a copy. Really looking forward to book two.
Melissa Hayden
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Throughout the book I found myself drawn into the world and the magic here. I enjoyed the characters. Even when I was getting a bad vibe from a character or two because this is a sign of them being written very well for me to get the right feel off their actions and emotions. The end happened fast because we were moved from one character to another to get the whole view as it was happening, which pulled me back some, but that's the movement of everything happening.

Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially I was confused by the prologue, it almost spoiled the book because I already knew part of what was going to happen. I always think a prologue should be set either a very long time ago or a very long way into the future. I also struggled initially to get into the stride of Spencer's writing style - for me, it felt a little overwritten but then I am of the one word will do school of writing. Once I got used to the liberal sprinkling of adjectives I was able to get into the story and it i ...more
Frank Dorrian
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I finally got to finish Darkstorm by M. L. Spencer today (only took me 2 months thanks to work and my own writing).

Darkstorm for me has a bit of a special place on my shelf as it is not only very, very good, it is also the first full length kindle book I've read and it's by a self published author.

M. L. Spencer's first installment of the Rhenwars Saga has really impressed me for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is obviously the quality of her writing, she's accomplished, professional an
Aaron-Michael Hall
Darkstorm by M. L. Spencer is an exceptionally well-written fantasy epic with dark undertones. Spencer weaves a compelling tale of intrigue, sacrifice, betrayal, and love all enveloped in a magical world on the fringe of war and disaster.

When a powerful secret order is discovered plotting the morally unthinkable, can a few conflicted and emotionally scarred characters intervene in time to prevent an apocalyptic event that would change the very fabric of their existence? The perfidious depth tha
Al Burke
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally got around to reading this, even thought it's been on my TBR for quite some time. It was darn good too. It started off like some YA fantasy (not that that's bad) with some hints of a dark undercurrent, slowly building up the tension. Then about 70% in, bang - here we go (don't worry, you'll be intrigued throughout).

The plot revolves around two brothers and their "ladyfriends." Braden is the successful one, the highest ranking mage in his homeland of Caladorn. He is the equivalent of the
Glenn Proffitt
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blurred lines

After what seemed like a slow start I found myself engulfed in the world built by the author. The twists and turns went down a dark path that lead to a beautiful place in the end. Book stands alone but left me in wonder of where the next story will go.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book in the end. Starting off, I found some of the characters and their development a little rough. Still have that feeling about Merris/Arden, but she worked as what she was finally created to be. But like I said, I liked this book in the end. The story was wrapped up nicely with a nice feeling of the future historical significance of the events being portrayed. I feel like this could have easily been a wonderful book at a longer length, but it didn't need it. Well done Ms. Spenc ...more
Kevin Potter
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
At this point, I have to wonder why I waited so long to read this! 

Okay, in fairness, it isn't the best indie book I've read this year, but it's definitely in the top four! 

About the narrator:

We have some generally skillful narration here. Although he does suffer from the oh-so-common problem of not being able to create convincing female voices, his male voices are awesome and he has a keen understanding of pacing and tempo. The one glaring flaw here, unfortunately, is his pronunciations. Let's
Mark Halse
Oct 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-priority
Buyer beware! Note that most of the top reviews for this book were completed as part of a promotion or well known reviewing personalities. This book is marginal at best.

I only got a little over half way through this book before I decided that I just didn't want to spend anymore time with these lackluster characters or this confusingly annoying world.

Worse yet, the fantasy proper nouns were probably the most awful I've ever experienced. This book is populated with names that if you pronounce out
Jeffrey A. Dewey
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Action packed with treachery and sabotage as warring factions continue to fight with evil magic versus good magic for the survival of clans.
K.S. Marsden
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mages from opposite sides have to come together to stop hell being unleashed on earth. Sephana, Merris, Braden and Quin only have three weeks to overturn the apocalypse.

I received free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is a great Fantasy story with some big ideas.
The impending apocalypse; the idea that magic is a tangible thing that people devote their lives to, and the threat of it reversing polarity; and what people will sacrifice to stop it.
I also found the morals and arguments of th
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Where Darkstorm shines is in its damaged characters. The most intriguing of them is Merris, an acolyte of Rhen with magical potential, who yearns for a Transference. She comes off as driven and ambitious, though her goals don’t become clear until the end. With the expectation of at least one mild romantic thread in epic fantasies, I could never quite pin down her true love—probably because she seemed to find several powerful people attractive. We never really learn who… or what… her True Love is ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Darkstorm" was a very enjoyable read. There's lots of light and shade throughout the story, with some deeply interesting characters.
M.L. Spencer writes with a natural ability that pulls you right in to the story - and doesn't want to let you go!
Alyssia Cooke
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, indie
Having read Chains of Blood, the beginning of the series set after The Rhenwars Saga, I thought I'd solve my confusion by going back to where everything starts with the prequel to The Rhenwars Saga. Points to the author, I enjoyed Chains of Blood even without the background knowledge that would have come from reading the initial series first, but I have to say things started to make a whole lot more sense when I stopped being awkward and read the books in the proper order!

Darkstorm takes you all
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Grimdark Fantasy: **Darkstorm: thoroughly recommended dark fantasy** 3 71 Jun 28, 2017 03:29AM  

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M.L. Spencer is an epic fantasy author. Her debut novel Darkmage won the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for Fantasy, and her novel Chains of Blood was awarded Silver in the 2020 Readers' Favorite Awards for Fantasy.

Other books in the series

The Rhenwars Saga (5 books)
  • Darkmage (The Rhenwars Saga, #1)
  • Darklands (The Rhenwars Saga Book 2)
  • Darkrise (The Rhenwars Saga Book 3)
  • Darkfall (The Rhenwars Saga Book 4)

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