A combat warrior will risk everything to awaken the dragons and save her kingdom in Jillian Boehme's epic YA Fantasy debut, Stormrise, inspired by Twelfth Night and perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce.
If Rain weren’t a girl, she would be respected as a Neshu combat master. Instead, her gender dooms her to a colorless future. When an army of nomads invades her kingdom, and a draft forces every household to send one man to fight, Rain takes her chance to seize the life she wants.
Knowing she’ll be killed if she’s discovered, Rain purchases powder made from dragon magic that enables her to disguise herself as a boy. Then she hurries to the war camps, where she excels in her training—and wrestles with the voice that has taken shape inside her head. The voice of a dragon she never truly believed existed.
As war looms and Rain is enlisted into an elite, secret unit tasked with rescuing the High King, she begins to realize this dragon tincture may hold the key to her kingdom’s victory. For the dragons that once guarded her land have slumbered for centuries . . . and someone must awaken them to fight once more.
JILLIAN BOEHME is known to the online writing community as Authoress, hostess of Miss Snark's First Victim, a blog for aspiring authors. In real life, she holds a degree in Music Education, sings with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and homeschools her remaining youngster-at-home. She's still crazy in love with her husband of more than thirty years and is happy to be surrounded by family and friends amid the rolling knolls of Middle Tennessee.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you!
DNF at 21%. There were so many issues just within the first fifth of the book that I knew continuing would be a waste of time.
The plot revolves around a girl called Rain, who lives in the province of Tenema. When invaders breach the 'Stonewall', a protective wall, conscription is levied on every able-bodied man. Rain uses a magic powder to disguise herself as a boy and takes the place of her twin brother Storm, whose childlike mind makes him unsuitable for combat. Note that the powder doesn't turn her into a boy: mostly it just stops her periods.
I struggled with this book from the very beginning. Here's why:
❌ Extremely poor description. This applies to both people and places; characters appeared and disappeared from the page with absolutely no reference to how they looked. It got even worse with places. Rain travelled to town, through her back garden, to an army encampment, etc without any substantial reference to what made these locations different from each other. There was also, at one point, an entire paragraph devoted to talking about the avila plant, which the invaders apparently are desperate to have. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? Somehow, we never even learned what this plant looked like! What colour is it? How many petals? How long are the stems? Considering this plant is the entire reason for the war, I wanted to know more about it.
❌ Rain was stupidly impulsive. Her decision to dress up as a boy felt extraordinarily unrealistic, given that she spent all of five seconds thinking about it before putting this plan into execution. She didn't even consider what backstory she'd give, or spend some time practising masculine behaviour, or ANYTHING. Just, I don't want Storm to go and fight. Hey! Let me dress up as a boy! Should be easy!Considering the author tells us that impersonating a boy leads to EXECUTION WITHOUT TRIAL, you'd think Rain would be a little less TSTL over it.
❌ More examples of stupidity: she blows her cover story within the first ten seconds of meeting someone. At one point she comes across a boy called Forest, who has less personality than a potato. Immediately, she says that she's seventeen - forgetting that she'd planned to pick a younger age, to compensate for her girliness - and also nearly says 'when I was a little gi -', almost ruining her not-very-carefully-thought-out plan. Again, considering her crime carries a death penalty, I was stunned by Rain's lack of preparation. She also has to take the period-stopping powder nightly; she takes it in front of Forest, who naturally asks what it's for. Has Rain come up with some lie about it being stomach medicine, or headache m edicine, or any of the countless plausible reasons she could be eating medicinal powder? Nope! She just stammers a non-answer and changes the subject. Way not to be suspicious, Rain. Why didn't you just wait for him to be asleep before taking it, if you hadn't come up with an explanation?
❌ Insta-love. No thanks. Looking at Forest - whom she knows is her sister's fiancé - Rain almost instantly feels a 'fluttering in her spirit.' What the hell? Not the time or place, dude.
Basically this is just a BTEC version of Mulan, complete with a wall (Great Wall of China, much?) and vague references to a misty form of martial arts called the Neshu. Considering I had the luck to read a genuinely awesome retelling of Mulan a few days ago (The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas) all the poor worldbuilding and plotting in this book were glaringly obvious. I strongly recommend that you go and read that one instead.
STORMRISE is a compelling adventure about a young woman who is determined to save her twin brother and her country from an invading force by disguising herself as him, and taking his place in an elite combat unit. Rain, sister of Storm, has spent her life trying to make up for her father’s loss of a son. A fever as infants left Storm with brain damage that means he’ll need to remain in his parent’s care for the rest of his life, and Rain has taken it upon herself to learn the men’s martial arts in secret and take on Storm’s domestic burdens as well as her own so her father’s honor isn’t tarnished.
Which is fortuitous because when their home nation is invaded and Storm is drafted, Rain is able to go in his place.
But not without a bit of dragonmagic to keep everyone from knowing she’s a girl. Set in a fantasy world where the dragons vanished generations ago, the only magic in STORMRISE comes from creating tinctures and potions made from their increasingly rare preserved remains, meaning humans are literally consuming magic in order to be able to do it.
When Rain begins to consume the powder meant to increase her maleness—handled superbly by Boehme—she starts to hear voices in her head: the plaintive cry of the dead dragon’s mate, the mighty she-king Nuaga.
For all that the action is quick, engaging, very well choreographed, and gory, the pace is gentle and stretches you along from one fascinating revelation to another. The main plot here isn’t about a soldier waking the dragons, winning a war and defeating a bad guy, but of the internal struggle of a young woman trying to figure out her own value in a society where she’s not allowed to have any.
What I love best about STORMRISE is for all that it is a stand-alone adventure fantasy, it is also a compelling and interesting book that takes the intellectual exercise of a condescending, infantilizing patriarchy to the extreme—where women are executed as thieves for running away or dressing as boys because they are stealing themselves—and what it means to not fit in the boxes that society tries to stuff you into. Kind, sensitive boys use magic to make them cruel and aggressive, boys who prefer intellectual pursuits and bullied into the army, neuro-divergent characters are in danger of being killed because of extreme ableism, and women who don’t want to be wives and mothers are useless.
Boehme’s spare and poetic wordcrafting mirrors subtle worldbuilding that allows room for the imagination to breathe. Boehme doesn’t spoonfeed you anything: characters are only as described as they need to be for you to differentiate them, and the food, architecture, geography, and culture of her fantasy realm is described only through the character’s actions, can be inferred by their observations, without long narrative-disrupting screeds about history and poetry. I personally love this kind of storytelling, because it trusts the reader. All of this is combined with a fascinating, unique and original magic system with a source I’ve never read before.
The resolution of the novel is simple, but no less satisfying for all that. Rain proves that women are just as capable as men, and as a result, changes the mind of the high king and the traditions of the kingdom. That may seem cheap to readers who aren’t paying attention, but the very ease with which Rain changes the world is the point.
No one would listen to Rain, because of her gender. No one would listen to the dragons before they vanished, because they were different. No one would listen to Nuaga, when she came to them in dreams begging for help, because she was the Other, and strange, and terrifying.
STORMRISE offers a lesson to young readers, especially in this age of hate crimes and violence, that you can make a difference, and you can make your voice heard, and even though you are not “the mainstream normal”, you are powerful, and valid. You matter. All you have to do is do the thing.
My only wish is that this was the first book in a series so I could see more of Rain rising to the challenges laid before her by HEA, and the honors she won at the end of the book. I would have loved to have seen the issues of being gender fluid or non-conforming highlighted and addressed even more (though I understand why it wasn’t—Rain herself is not trans, and it would be disingenuous to speak of her as if she was simply because she is gender non-conforming in terms of outward presentation and interests in the world of this fantasy society). If there was a second book, it would be great to see Rain spearheading a movement to recognize and help those whom this rigid patriarchy wounds. And I would really have loved to see what it means to be part of a dragon clan in a world that has largely moved on without dragons, and to see the culture and society of the dragons themselves, as well as share Nuaga’s grief over her long-lost mate now that the war is done and she has time to mourn.
Which all just proves that I was invested enough in the tale to want more.
All of my wishing aside, STORMRISE is an alluring, charming novel of magic, self-determination, and the journey of discovering one’s authentic self and true power.
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice It’s not very often that I pick up books without knowing too much about them. In this case, I picked it up at a conference because of the cover. It’s got this imposing dragon on the cover that just screamed: READ ME! So, without any knowledge or expectations of what was going to happen in this book, I enjoyed the story that I found within its pages!
In Stormrise, Rain would be a great Neshu combat warrior, if her gender didn’t get in the way of that. However, when an army invades the kingdom and all the able bodied men are conscripted into the King’s army, Rain decides to masquerade as a man using magic to join the fight. It’s a dangerous thing, considering that if she’s discovered, she’ll be put to death. When she begins to train at the war camps, she begins hearing a voice; one of a dragon she didn’t believe existed. Soon she becomes part of an elite unit intended to rescue the King, and the dragon secrets that she’s been concealing might be the key to victory.
So when I finally looked at the stories that Stormrise was said to be inspired by, I had a hard time finding the similarities. However, I did feel that it reminded me of a different story altogether. The use of magic to help Rain seem a more believable male was definitely a creative use of the magic system. Actually, the magic system itself was very interesting, as it is based on the usage of parts of the old dragons (the ones that some people don’t believe to exist). It could be their blood, oils, and other things that could be made into powders and things that would help the user become something. I guess it’s not necessarily magic per say, but the qualities that these products have can be considered magical.
I found myself drawn to the characters and wanting to know more about them, but unfortunately, we don’t get to know them for very long. I wanted to know more of Storm and Rain’s backstory, any tenderhearted moments that would make me feel more connected to them. If I’m being honest, if this book had been a little longer, I think it would have achieved a deeper connection. The plot moves very quickly, and I found myself interested in how Rain grows as a young woman, and in the connections she’s making with her fellow army recruits and commander. It’s so fun to see how easily she can command the respect of her peers, until you remember she’s pretending to be a man.
The fact that all she’s achieved while pretending to be a boy is rendered meaningless because of her gender carries a lot of weight in this story, and that struggle and overcoming of the issue felt really positive. It was empowering to see Rain overcome prejudice to help save her family and her fellow soldiers. This would have been the perfect story for a heroine not to have a love interest. I’m sure others will have different opinions though.
Now that I’ve mentioned the love interest, I did have some qualms about how the relationship was developed. I can’t go into it because of spoilers, but there’s definitely some drama going on. In all honesty, I didn’t feel like that was necessary, and it could have been approached differently, and readers would still enjoy reading about the romance. Despite those little nags, it’s still enjoyable to read. I’ll never say no to romance, but I was hoping for something more.
Okay, so there were a couple of things that I couldn’t really let go of while I was reading this book. One of them was how little world building or description there was. There were so many great opportunities to build the world that Rain was in, because I definitely struggled to picture it. I also felt like the beginning of the story was a retelling of Mulan. This is in no way a bad thing, but when you get into some of the character interactions, I struggled not seeing this as its own unique book. Though it does become its own story around the halfway mark, I think readers might have a hard time separating the two.
My rating for Stormrise would have to be a 7/10. It was an enjoyable read, delightful at times even, but I think it had the familiarity of a story a lot of us know very well. If we’d had a little more depth in the world and the descriptions, I think this story would have been a knockout. That said, it was a very quick and fun story to read during an afternoon. I encourage readers to pick this story up, because even though I might not have loved every aspect of it, you might find that this is the story for you.
Mulan meets Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce in this standalone debut fantasy! I haven't seen too many people talking about Stormrise, but it's a lot of fun and I think more people should pick it up.
Rain disguises herself as a boy and joins the military in order to protect her family. While there she is chosen to be a hero by a dragon, and has a forbidden romance. So very similar to Mulan, but with its own world and magic system! It slows down a bit in the middle, but the pacing is mostly decent and the ending had me riveted. Not groundbreaking, but a solid debut and an enjoyable read.
The book lives up to the blurb and the Hype!! Totally understand how Tamora Pierce could have devoured it in one sitting. Didn’t have the tome to do that but i finished it in a couple of days. The story fills you with wonder and you want to cheer for our heroine who didn’t count for dragons but now has to deal with them. The world is rich and yet simple enough to allow for more mystery. Loved it!
I was fortunate enough to score an advanced reading copy of this fantastic debut novel, and I could NOT. STOP. READING!! Such a powerful story--written first person--of a young girl finding her place in a man's world, true courage deep within her own heart, some humor, some romance, magic, dragons...couldn't be better. Jillian drops you right into the action and ties your heart up with the characters barely a page in. Fantasy novels can get a little heavy on the descriptive text, but there isn't a single unnecessary, dry word in Stormrise! This is a book I'm happy to have already preordered, and it will be a part of my life forever.
So many problems with this. So many technical and thoughtless errors in the first ten percent of this book. My gosh. If you're planning on reading this, I want to make you aware that in the first chapter, the main character - Rain - describes her mentally disabled brother as "half the boy he was meant to be" and this isn't something that's dealt with. This is her perception of her brother. And that's only one instance of ableism in the first 10%. Needless to say, that really, really pissed me off. Add that to the poorly executed, bland Mulan 2.0 (2020 Mulan too, not the OG) and I'm freaking done.
This is a tough one. I enjoyed the dragons and the lore surrounding them, but I feel like a lot of ground has already been covered here. The book read like an old school fantasy, and I wished for fresher ideas.
There aren’t many descriptions of landscape or feelings. The book feels like it’s mostly dialogue. I also wasn’t super invested in Rain because she didn’t really face many challenges where I was worried about her success or survival.
This book had a lot of potential, but I just don’t think it got there in the end.
I didn’t know much about Stormrise before I started reading, and less than ten pages into it, I had to pause my reading to check to see if it was a debut. Yes, this is Jillian Boehme’s first novel and I think it shows a bit in some of the cookie-cutter characterizations and overdone plot points. Still, to the author’s credit, there’s a clear effort on her part at refining a well-tread narrative to make it her own, and even though there were plenty of stumbles in the first half, a strong recovery towards the end made up for them.
In a kingdom threatened by war, a young woman training to be a Neshu combat master decides to enlist in the army to save her brother’s life. Mentally disabled, Storm would not be able to fight, so his twin Rain devises a plan to disguise herself as a boy and report in his place at the mandatory conscription for service, even though it would mean death if she was found out. In order to strengthen her disguise as well as to stop her monthly bleeds, Rain pays a visit to a mystic who runs an apothecary and purchases a powerful potion that promises to imbue her with the magic of a dragon.
On her way to meet up with the army, she meets a fellow recruit on the road named Forest the two of them become traveling companions, and then later tentmates once they reach the training camps. In spite of herself, Rain begins to develop feelings for Forest, but then realizes he is the man betrothed to her older sister Willow. As it is local tradition for marriages to be arranged, Willow has never met Forest, but Rain knows her sister had been looking forward to her nuptials before the war broke out, and it fills her with guilt. Worse, Rain’s dreams have been visited by a strange voice lately, claiming to be the dragoness Nuaga. As someone who doesn’t believe in dragons, Rain is initially skeptical but soon comes to realize that the army will need Nuaga’s help if they are to have any chance of rescuing the captured High King. But first, Rain will need to get the others in her squad to accept and trust the dragon, which will be no easy feat while trying to keep her identity and gender a secret.
The description of Stormrise claims it is inspired by Twelfth Night, but needless to say, I think what most people will think of when they read the plot summary is Mulan. It certainly doesn’t help that I recently finished The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas, an excellent Mulan retelling that begins very much the say way—with a girl training to be a warrior, who risks execution by joining the army under the identity of her twin brother. I have to say, there’s not much in the first half of Stormrise that hasn’t already been done to death, and Rain could have easily been a paint-by-numbers YA heroine. Early character development is also very unsubtle and awkward, relying mostly on telling instead of showing. The intro reeks of a desperate need for the reader to think Rain is special, simply because the character doesn’t believe in living by society’s rules and she plainly seeks to prove it by doing really obnoxious things like looking down on her sister for wanting to get married.
For what it’s worth though, I think the second half of Stormrise is much improved, and it’s not a coincidence that this is also when we get a lot of the dragon magic. I found I really enjoyed the world-building, and once enough of it had been established, that’s when the story was truly able to come into its own. The premise is still a familiar one, but Boehme manages to gradually transform it into something else entirely with the addition of dragons and their mythology. Given time, the story became quite interesting, with so much at stake and not knowing how Rain will manage to get the men in her unit to support her and Nuaga. The action scenes are also well done and adds a fair bit of excitement to the plot, though at no point did I notice any lulls, which is quite impressive considering how pacing problems are a common pitfall of debuts.
That said, overall the characters still needed more work. For one thing, it would have helped make the romance more convincing. This one is borderline insta-love, going from zero (Oh no, I think I’m crushin’) to a hundred (I love you and you are my reason for living!) in like the span of an eyeblink. The fact that Rain kept pursuing Forest even after finding out he was her sister’s fiancé also probably bothered me more than I’d like to admit. It didn’t matter that Willow had never met Forest, nor him her; that’s just not something you do to your own sister, especially when Rain knew full well how badly it would destroy her. Things worked themselves out eventually, but the resolution was too neat and still felt like a copout, not to mention it was strongly implied that Rain would be forever keeping the secret from Willow, which is just not cool.
But all in all, despite some stumbling blocks along the way, I would say Stormrise was a solid debut and I was kept thoroughly engaged for most of it. I don’t know if it hurts or helps that the premise feels so derivative, because even despite the clichés, familiarity with some of the standard YA tropes made this one a quick and entertaining read. It definitely had its moments too—flashes of originality and fascinating world-building ideas—and it’s my hope that we’ll see more examples of these in Jillian Boehme’s future work, because I think she has lots of potential.
This is a Mulan retelling with dragons, and I wanted to like it, really, but at almost page 200 I DNFed it. I mean, the story was promising, but it was lacking in character development and consistency. Also, there were parts in which the plot was dragging and I got the feeling the story wasn't moving forward. The dragons idea was a good one, but was also lacking more consistency, as it seemed very apropos and only developed when needed to. I found myself not caring for the characters or their struggles anymore, as the story kept losing force.
I received an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Review and blog tour can be found on *Milky Way of Books*
A book with dragons? Check. Mulan inspired? Yup check. Also forbidden romance? Triple check!
Stormrise caught me from the moment the cover was revealed. It caught the ferocity of the dragons and the ferocity, combined with bravery, a girl takes as war looms closer and closer.
Rain and her twin brother Storm live in a village where, tales of old dragon magic make people fearsome and others, trying to exploit them. There's old lore about the time of the dragons but there are none alive. Training to become a Neshu fighter, despite not being allowed to be one due to her gender, Rain doesn't have time for marriage proposals.
Knowing that her brother won't make it, she disguises herself as a boy by also taking a mix of dragon powder in order to sound like one. And from there training begins friends and alliances.
The book was more a military YA fantasy than a dragon-centered one. I enjoyed seeing Rain become stronger and discovering her potential along with the lore of the old dragons. I also loved the romance and how sweet it was with its moments and stumbles.
I love a book that sucks you in within the first few pages and doesn't release its grasp until the end; sometimes holding on long after the cover has been closed. In this regard, Stormrise did not disappoint at all.
From the beginning, it is obvious that Ms. Boehme is a genius with words. The way that she weaves the story, page after page, through character and plot developments feels incredibly natural. Her characters are relatable, with a fantastic mixture of realness, humor and awkwardness that I could relate to with knowing chuckles but also with choices to be brave and heroic in the face of what seemed like insurmountable odds; character traits that I would strive to have.
The plot flows smoothly from beginning to end, always giving me just enough tantalizing action that I simply could not stand to put the book down. And, it was with a box of tissues on hand that I completed the final pages of Stormrise.
You would do yourself a favor to grab a copy of Stormrise and immerse yourself into the life of Rain and follow her journey to defy the odds to become a respected Neshu warrior and bring honor to her family.
I believe that Jillian Boehme is an author to watch; her writing promises many more page turners that are next to impossible to put down ~ perfect traits of a great book!
I couldn't wait to read this one, and it did not disappoint. Once I started reading, it was very hard to put down. The world the author created was fresh and the story was edge of your seat unpredictable. I loved the main character immediately, and didn't want the story to end. I hope the author will write a whole series of Stormrise books because she has gained a huge fan. 10 stars for this one.
I adore Jillian (aka the Authoress). She is an inspiration to the writing community, and I know how long and hard she's worked to get her books published. I was so excited to see her debut, Stormrise, finally making shelves.
This is a good Mulan retelling. You can tell Jillian has been writing for a long time. Her line by line writing is flawless, it has good flow, and her dialogue is quick and crisp and sincere. I just wanted more from this.
Personally, I like my re-tellings to have some uniqueness to them. Especially the ones that are popular re-tellings, like Mulan or Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast. This had so many events directly copied from Mulan, that I had "I'll Make a Man out of You," running through my head. So, if unlike me, you like your re-tellings to be more like the original, then I think you will enjoy this aspect of it.
The thing that did make this different was the inclusion of the dragons, but here, I also wanted more. In the country of Elonda, they used to worship the dragons, but that lore has since been lost and reduced to mythology. That being the case, what do they worship now? What is their religion? Their rules for morality and tradition? How did dragon lore fade from existence?
Rain is skilled in the art of Neshu, some form of martial arts, and I also wanted some more description here. She frequently takes the first or second stance, but I didn't know what that looked like. Were her arms raised? Her legs spread? I kept thinking it would have been cool if they had dragon-based names, like the Dragontail stance, or the Firebreather.
Rain is a likable character. She's smart and determined, and self-sacrificing, but many of her decisions in this book didn't feel earned. She changes her gender and signs up for the army because her brother, Storm, is incapable fighting. He is brain damaged from a fever as a child.
Before making this life-altering decision, Rain doesn't give it much thought. Considering she could be killed if discovered, I needed more to cheer on her quest. Much of the intro is spent building the relationship between Rain and her sister Willow. I would have preferred to see more with Storm. If he had run into some soldiers who teased him and assaulted him, and Rain stepped in to save him, I could have seen why she would be so driven to take his place.
We also don't see the offending army until much later in the book. They are talked about as being cruel and vicious, but a scene of them attacking a village or even a survivor appearing, bloodied and hysterical talking about their violence, would have helped me urge Rain on her quest to defeat them.
This is one of those books where I can see how it amazing it could be with just a little bit more. I think, as she is such a skilled writer, Jillian's next book will definitely reach that level.
Nothing can make my blood race faster than the speed of light than dragons and if is a girl awakening them, I am in absolute fantastical bliss.
Ylanda was a patriarchal land where women were not considered good enough to become Neshu combat master. But when the nomads invaded the land, to fight them, the king needed all able men to join. Her brother was not of a sound mind, so Rain went to the medicine woman to get a powder which helped her disguise as a boy, gave her the power of the dragons, and then she started hearing one such dragon calling her.
My first book by author Jillian Boehme, Rain awakened a passion in me, a need to read the book, despite the late hour. Rain was simply awesome; she fell and got up so many times that I couldn't help but admire her.
In some ways, Rain was not courageous to begin with until the dragon showed her the path, and slowly and surely, the author added layers to her character, and in each step, she became more than she was before. She centered herself and found that core in her that every woman has and became the warrior that she was meant to be. She was the who would wold lead the dragons in the fight to protect their king.
I loved the way the others in her team ably supported her and added the emotions to her. Respect for Jasper, friendship for Dalen, brotherhood with Forest, and enmity with Sedge. A stronger worldbuilding and better descriptions would have uplifted the prose and made it haunting.
This was Rain's story through and through where she learned all the moves, fought bravely, and sacrificed everything to prove she was a warrior and not just a girl. She showed her king and the land she lived in that she was worthy of all glory befitting a powerful warrior.
I liked this. It reminded me a lot of Mulan. Maybe too much? I do love Mulan though. It had a lot of the same situations as Mulan had. A girl taking the place of her father by dressing up as a boy. There was even the same arrow task as the one that was in Mulan. I'm not saying that that was a bad thing, it was just something that was definitely noticeable. This had different dragons then I was expecting. The had hair, six legs, and I don't think they could fly, but they could run really fast. It threw me a little bit. I also liked that it was a standalone. It was a story that didn't need a sequel, a trilogy, a five book deal to tell its story. I also really enjoyed the ending. It was sweet. I enjoyed this. It wasn't exactly the story that I was expecting, but it was fun to read. It also has an awesome cover. A+ for cover design. If you like a story with dragons that is kind of like Mulan, then I'd definitely recommend this one.
Thank you to Tor Teen for the ARC of this wonderful book!
When I read the plot summary, I really did not expect this book to be particularly good or surprising. A girl dresses up as a boy to go to war in place of her brother and father. Sounds pretty derivative and overdone, right? However, while the basic plot was certainly derivative, the character development and the actual details of the story felt fresh and interesting. I loved the addition of dragons and the history surrounding them. I loved Rain's character, and I didn't mind the romance at all. I also got right into the writing style and felt swept up in the story the whole way through, and I even wanted more when it was over.
So basically, it was Mulan with dragons, but also so much more than that. Definitely recommend!
I received an ARC for an honest review. Thank you!
Stormrise is beautiful. At its core it is a retelling of Mulan, in a fantasy world, with dragons. It's familiar, yet different enough to surprise and feel fresh. The world feels so real--the history is rich, and the magic is simple yet authentic. And the characters--I LOVE the characters. They could walk right off the page. Even the minor characters are distinct. The MC, Rain, is flawed--she makes believable mistakes, and her feelings when she has to make difficult decisions...I ached for her. She cares deeply about her family, her friends, her homeland. If I had to pick someone for my team in a fight, I would absolutely pick her. This worked really well as a standalone novel, but I would love to see more of Rain, and Forest, and the rest. Or just more in this world. With dragons.
My only real complaint....there is no map. 😝 I get all turned around when a lot of traveling happens in a story, but I have no map to reference.
The ending was perfect. I cried. I will definitely be reading this one again. And again.
Stormrise hits all the high points I look for in a fantasy. A main character I rooted for before I was halfway through chapter one. Danger from all sides. Desperate choices. Intrigue. Dragons. Gripping combat scenes. Fear. Hate. Bravery. Friendship.
I mentioned dragons, right? Wicked cool dragons, too.
When the kingdom demands each family send a son to war, Rain disguises herself as a man and goes in her ailing brother's place. Rain is tough on the outside and determined on the inside, but she knows the balancing act she's set for herself. One careless move and disgrace will be the least of her troubles.
To save her family's honor she makes a desperate choice. Except she never dreamed the far-reaching consequences of that choice.
Boheme's details make this book as real as the city you live in. She created a world where I saw, felt, smelled, breathed, walked the earth her characters walked.
Stormrise is a great ride with an ending that lives up to everything preceding it. This book is a winner.
This book is pretty much Mulan infused with a bunch of cool dragon lore and I've gotta say I really enjoyed it!
Stormrise is a YA military fantasy infused with dragon lore and it was captivating from start to finish. War, battle training, a band of young men (except one lol) marching to evacuate the king, a dragon prophecy set into motion, and a young heroine who sets forth on a dangerous path impersonating a solider to save her family and her kingdom. Lots of action, plenty of lore, many intriguing characters, tons of challenges to be overcome, and every moment Rain is desperately guarding her secret.
I read an advanced reader copy. This is basically a re-telling of the legend of Mulan only it takes place in a different world rather than China. The basic premise is the same. Overall I thought it was well written and the story really draws you in. I would have liked a little more backstory for some of the characters to understand their motivation but not having it didn't detract from the story. Also, there is one point when Rain's character does a complete 180 from what she has built up to be which really annoyed me but she turns it around and it all turns out well in the end.
Full disclosure, I received an ARC of Stormrise from TorTeen. However, it was not given to me for the sole purpose of a review, as I won it in a drawing. Spoiler alert. Rain L’nahn is a girl in a family of five with an older sister and a twin younger brother. She practices the art of Neshu fighting with her father who is a grandmaster. There is a great divide between men and women since only men can fight, while a woman’s goal is to become betrothed. In time, a decree comes down from the High King that the Kingdom is at war and the all males in each household must report for military training. When Rain and Storm became ill as children, it was Rain who received the proper medicine leaving Storm to grow mentally scarred, leaving him unable to survive as a soldier. Rain decides to take Storm’s place in the army by taking his name and disguising herself as a male, and, therein lies the tale. While her skills at Neshu fighting are unmatched among the soldiers, she must constantly stay alert to prevent from being discovered as a girl. If that happens, she could be put to death. To aid her disguise, she purchases powder made from a great dragon, but it comes with side effects. After being assigned to a specific battle group, she begins to hear voices in her dreams—voices of dragons—which are only a myth. To make matters worse, she may be falling in love with Forest, another soldier who, she discovers, is betrothed to her sister and who is willing to die for the Kingdom. The book is expertly written, keeping the reader on edge with each turn of the page. It flows extremely well making it hard to put down. The characters come alive on the page as the intensity of the story increases with the final battle scene. Storm/Rain is an especially well-written character. Although I generally don’t read Young Adult novels I found this one to be a worthy read. There are some scenes of death and destruction as Storm/Rain witnesses the horrors of war, but Ms. Boehme writes with enough tact to make it important to the story yet doesn’t bog down the reader with unnecessary descriptions. If you like a character out of place stories, and if you like love and war stories, and if you like dragons, you’ll love Stormrise.
I believe that this book was supposed to be inspired by a story but to me, it was somewhat similar to Mulan which I am not at all mad about. I found that I really enjoy the trope of a young woman disguising herself as a male to fight for her country. *Spin the Dawn is another prime example*
I found that I really enjoyed the pacing and the plot in the book. It wasn't too fast nor was it too slow and I also really enjoyed the dragon element as well. I also really enjoyed the friendships that Rain culminated while she was in the army. And from what I understood, there was also a good disability rep because Rain's twin brother, Storm, had a disability which didn't allow him to join the army.
However, despite the aspects I enjoyed, there were two issues that I wasn't so fond of. First of all, the world building was a bit lackluster. I never felt completely immersed in this fantasy world that Jillian created. I got some inkling that there were some Asian-inspired elements to it due to the martial arts that they excelled at but that was really it.
And finally, the way how this world treated women especially when it came to capable tasks was quite demeaning. There were so many times when they would belittle women and while I get that this world was different, I didn't like how it was pointed out so often. It was like being hit constantly in the head that women were somehow inferior to men. There was even one scene where a fellow soldier essentially sexually assaulted Rain so definitely be aware of that.
Overall though, I still enjoyed the book. As stated, there were elements that I wasn't fond of but it was still a fast-paced and enjoyable read. There was also this hint of romance but I liked how it wasn't the main focus at all.
This book..... 😍 I always loved Mulan growing up and I love the slight tie-ins this book had... Yet it had so much more. Rain is an amazing character and I loved going on the journey with her... So many times I gasped or laughed or, yes, cried haha And the ending was PERFECT!!! A great adventure that spoke to my independent soul and made me love every page. So if you're on the fence about this book.... Just give it a read, s'da? 😉