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Symphony of the Wind

(The Raincatcher's Ballad #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A bounty hunter with a death wish. A girl with fearsome powers. A kingdom on the brink of destruction.

Serena dreams of leaving her harsh desert home behind in her very own airship. But when an assassin’s knife meant for Serena kills her friend instead, the rebellious orphan ventures into the corrupt heart of Dalthea to discover who put a price on her head. With each new tu
Paperback, 660 pages
Published May 4th 2018 by KDP Print
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Steven McKinnon Hi Alejandra,

There's not much in the way of romance, I'm afraid. Love is a theme, but displayed through a prism of grief and loss.

I hope this helps!…more
Hi Alejandra,

There's not much in the way of romance, I'm afraid. Love is a theme, but displayed through a prism of grief and loss.

I hope this helps!(less)

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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  173 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dalthea is recovering from the war with the Idari, parts of the city still closed off due to the horrifyingly destructive power of an ignogen fusion bomb, dropped on what will be known forevermore as the Night of the Amberfire, when thousands died and the Dalthean fleet was destroyed. Even now, the threat of the Idari’s return feeds the political machinations of Prime Councillor Thackeray, allowing for ever tightening Orwellian style security measures, but unrest is growing. The kingdom is built ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spfbo-2018
* This is one of the SPFBO finalists for 2018 *

I picked this one up and instantly knew I would like it because the writing style was easy to connect with and I found the world to be a lot of fun. This is a book that managed to hook me in early, and keep me guessing throughout because there are a multitude of twists and turns I didn't see coming. I found the characters and world both very likeable, and I enjoyed hearing about the darker side of the world, the corrupt ruling powers and the scope o
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve thought a lot about this book over the past couple of weeks. Not only because I recently finished it, but because I had to compare it to several other excellent novels in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog Off contest. We at Fantasy Book Review have decided to push this book forward as our selected finalist, and I think it will do very well against anything else in the competition. And yet. And yet! Even though this book has dominated my headspace for the month of December, I am s ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m still not sure how I feel about Steven McKinnon’s Symphony of the Wind . An ambitious and gritty epic fantasy series starts here, in the technologically advanced world. People conquered skies and filled them with airships. Different fractions and ethnicities fight for power while citizens suffer. Tormented heroes must stop a conspiracy before the kingdom falls to ruin.

Sounds simple? Well, it isn't. Unless you're a battle-hardened Malazan veteran, that is*. Slowly revealed and nuanced plot
Mark Lawrence
I've not read this book yet, but it is one of 10 finalists chosen from 300 entries to the 4th Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off contest, so it is probably very good!

See the other finalists here:
Queen Terrible Timy
Actual rating: 4.5
The full review is available on my blog:
I've read it as part of SPFBO, however my rating doesn't affect the later results. Check out my SPFBO4 page where you can follow FBR's progress.

I was a bit weary when I started to read Symphony of the Wind. Partly because it’s 660 pages long, and partly because I had no idea what to expect. I probably wouldn’t have picked it if it weren’t for Emma, and while we tend to have similar opinions, that’s
The Nerd Book Review
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I hope to interview the author, who is a finalist for SPFBO at some point in the not too distant future.

I enjoyed the epic nature of the book a lot. Great concept and execution. There are a fair number of fight scenes that I just didn’t even try to follow. I’ve mentioned that this is a failing of mine but for sone reason here I just couldn’t follow the fight scenes at all. Aside from that I would have given this a 5*. Great world building and in depth characters for sure.
Richard O'Donnell
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Huge statement of intent from a young Scottish author.

Symphony of the Wind is part one of the Raincatchers ballad trilogy and follows several characters - Tyson Gallows, Serena and Damien Fieri - as they unravel a government conspiracy in Dalthea.

What follows is 650 pages of heart pounding action, brutal fight scenes, adventure, incredibly well written villains and a great story that just leaves you wondering when the sequel will arrive.

If you're in any way interested in sci-fi, fantasy, grimdar
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reviewed as part of SPFBO 4, originally posted at Thoughts Stained With Ink:

If you're part of the SPFBO community, you know that this review was meant to go live last Friday, but your girl got sick the week after I started reading Symphony of the Wind by Steven McKinnon, and that derailed my plans a bit. But, after playing a lot of catch-up, I finished the book earlier today and have been able to get this review ready to go for you all! Thanks, first of all, for everyone's patience.

So, Symphony
David Zampa
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk, dnf
Pretty well written. It's resident evil with monocles and parasols.

I noted in my updates that there was a head hop early on. This was very much an aberration and shouldn't put anyone off from reading the book. The book is really well edited.

I would read something else by this author, but this book wasn't for me. I'm just so desperately sick of zombie stories.
Travis Riddle
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spfbo4
A really intriguing, exciting steampunk adventure with airships, zombie-esque creatures, political intrigue, and even some monsters. Basically everything you could want in a fantasy adventure can be found in Symphony of the Wind.

I read the prequel novella "The Fury Yet to Come" before reading this book, but they can be read in any order and you're filled in on all the events of the novella throughout this book; given that, I would recommend reading the novella first if you were planning on read
Marco Tosolini
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got this book through TBRindR which means I got it for free which means nothing as I still will write whatever the fuck I want
Normally I’d start by telling you what kind of book I just read. Here I’d say “Oh that’s a fantasy-book” or maybe I would be more specific and while Symphony of the Wind clearly belongs to some sort of fantasy I’m not so sure on what label to put on it exactly but for now I’ll go with “Fantasy-Resident Evil-Spy Thriller with some Science Fiction”
This probably sounds we
David Stewart
Feb 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
I began Symphony of the Wind with the great hope that this would be a book I would love. It has airships and bounty hunters and the world seemed well-thought out and original. The Princess Bride is one of my favorite stories of all time, and anything approaching it will undoubtedly find a soft space in my heart. I even liked the beginning of the novel. I found several of the protagonists likeable, flat-out loved a scene involving a giant snake monster, and was all set to bury myself in this SPFB ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, spfbo4
Full review is here, on my blog!~

This is (among other things) the story of Serena, who is a 16-year-old orphan who lives in the city of Dalthea. Dalthea is a desert city after a bomb dropped in a war with the Idari has ruined all of their natural sources of water. They have technology that allows Spires to cause thunderstorms and use airships from the Raincatcher Guild to collect water from them. Serena apprentices on one of these airships. She doesn’t remember her parents, but she is strange in
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spfbo2018
This is an excellent book, only thing that lets it down is that the author has rammed so much stuff into the content, I am worried that the 2nd book will be a let down.

The descriptions of the world is wonderfully written in excellent prose, you really get caught up in storytelling.

Can see why it reached the SPFBO 2018, it really deserves to be there.
I have so many great things to say about this book I am at a loss of where to even start. The world is incredible, the characters that fill the world are very fleshed out, there is magic and science and technology. One of my favorite reads of the year, and it even taught me a new word, outwith.

Let's start with the world, the story takes place in a city called Dalthea which is really a very small kingdom. The city is struggling to survive after the war with the Idari. There is no natural water so
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is filled with a wide array of characters that makes following it difficult to begin with, however as they become fully fleshed out it becomes much easier. Filled with mystery and action it makes for an excellent read. My one gripe would be, I would have liked to see Serena use her power more but I guess I will have to wait for the sequel. I also hope there will be more of Damien's story. ...more
Originally published over at for SPFBO 4.

Symphony of the Wind is impressive in its scope, a novel that’s intricate in its characters and ambitious in its worldbuilding; more impressive is the fact that it’s Steven McKinnon’s first self-published book. Ambition, McKinnon certainly does not lack.

The biggest compliment I can throw at McKinnon is this – reading Symphony reminded me of the first time I picked up Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon; the action starts early on and it hardly ever
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read the prequel to this ( The Fury Yet to Come ) a couple of months ago, and I’ve been desperate to continue my journey with Tyson Gallows. We left him reeling from his encounter with a mind-infiltrating witch, and find him again in Dalthea, a member of the Hunter’s Guild, yet broken and grieving for his departed fiancée. But Gallows is one of those guys that trouble just seems to find, and soon we’re catapulted into tornado of crime, corruption, and a shitload of fighting. Sign me up for t ...more
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
She wants is to leave in her own ship but when her friend is killed instead of her She wants to find out what is going on. He is grieving his fiancee death but when they meet they find they have something in common. See what they need to do to find the truth

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dropped
Disclaimer: I have voluntarily reviewed this book after receiving a free copy from Hidden Gem Books.

Oh boy. I was really trying to get into this book. The description seemed interesting and I always enjoy some good steampunk elements in my fantasy, moreover the ratings on goodreads were really high so I was expecting an amazing adventure.

Sadly I didn’t get it. And as much as I hate to leave books unread, I wasn’t able to bring myself to finish this one.

One word I’d use to describe my experience
Shawn Robertson
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for "steampunk," this isn't it. This is something better, in my opinion.

In a world of subtle magic and a burgeoning industrial age, McKinnon brings to life a brilliantly fast-paced story. The characters all feel fully-realized and deep, and the world building is simply fantastic. Swords and guns, fantastical minerals that provide a near-limitless source of energy, paving the way for automobiles, airships, and other ingenious devices? It all blends together to support the dark a
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
Had to start this book thrice!
But after passing the 3rd chapter I really couldn't put it down!
Very good!

Hopefully the wait for the next one is not too long!
Phil Parker
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Symphony of the Wind is epic fantasy, literally. Everything about it is huge and yet at no time does Steven McKinnon lose control of this narrative juggernaut. In fact, he takes every tight corner, every twist and turn of the plot with the skill of a downhill racer. This is a story that leaves you reeling because no sooner has one threat been met, others are lining up to take its place. This is not a restful read!
What is equally impressive is the imagination that underpins the story. World-build
Janelle Garrett
3.5/5 stars

This story follows the tale of Gallows, a Hunter who gets caught up in a whirl of conspiracy, revenge, and just plain, flat-out rollicking bad luck. It also follows Serena, a young girl who isn’t what she seems and has powers she knows little about.

I’ll start with the things I really enjoyed. Interestingly enough, I feel it was the side characters who really shined. Damien, Pierro, and V (who we didn’t get to see much of and I wish there had been more) were among my favorites. They w
Jan 25, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rock Solid

A highly polished debut offering, Symphony of the Wind (4.5 *) treads several atypical tropes:

1. The setting, or world, is nearly a multiverse type setting: clearly not archetypical fantasy, and also well beyond Steam Punk (jets, monitors/tablets, and ‘Ignineum’ being clearly ‘nuclear-Esque)... it’s nonetheless fully realized.. and just... works

2. Borderline ‘too many’ twists (yet not crossing the Rubicon)- ‘undead’? Faint references to Sumerian lore? Bat sh#t crazy escape sequences? A
Jun 22, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 20%

I'm sorry, but this was sooooo hard to get into. I love the concept. The world is advanced technologically, and the skies have been conquered. There are warring factions/groups and there's some sort of conspiracy, and the plot is quite layered. All exciting stuff but, it was soooo slooooooooooow.

It's not you, Book. It's me. My expectations were very different from what I got and that's on me.
The narrative jumps were just so jarring. That, Book, is on you.

Maybe I'll try again later.
Daniel Baker
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Jake Swartz
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Symphony of the Wind is a wonderful new epic series and offers readers a unique world of mild steampunk, a glimpse into a 'science based magic' system and an alternate magic system from the history books within the world. There is a diverse cast of characters with multiple POVs, with plenty of action and political intrigue.

This book follows multiple characters who are trying to find answers and/or redemption for their past
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Symphony of the Wind is Steven McKinnon's first fiction novel, and is Book One of The Raincatcher's Ballad. The Fury Yet To Come is a prequel novella set in the same world.

His first book, the true-life tale Boldly Going Nowhere, was released in 2015.

Steven is 32 years old, and was born in the bathroom of a Glasgow flat in the year 1986.

He has since moved out.

To get the Raincatcher's Ballad prequel

Other books in the series

The Raincatcher's Ballad (2 books)
  • Wrath of Storms (The Raincatcher's Ballad #2)

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Ciannon Smart has been holed up in her England home since the pandemic began a year ago, but by no means has she been idle. She’s been on...
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