“Storm Bride” by J.S. Bangs
“Storm Bride” by J.S. Bangs is a tense drama centered on a fantasy world on the verge of war. On one side is Satose, a stranger from distant lands who follows where the God of the water leads her; and Keshlik, the leader of a warrior tribe seeking revenge for a wrong done to their people many years ago. Grief and rage fuel much of the actions of these characters as battles ensue and people on both sides die. Will this need for revenge consume everyone the war touches or will compassion and peace manage to save the day?
There was a lot of story and character development packed into “Storm Bride” by J. S. Bangs. The world the story is set in is rich in history and in spiritual dogma and left me wanting to learn more and more about it. There are several distinct cultures and groups identified in this world, three of which become embroiled in a savage war. The Yakhat are a homeless warrior group who are looking for revenge and the Prasei are peaceful traders and merchants who have built up a vast empire.
The main characters we get to hear from are well developed and relatable; the reader can easily emphasize with their situations and emotions. They each have their stories of hardship and sorrow and I found myself caught between wanting happy outcomes for both sides even though they were on opposing sides to each other. Because we are able to hear from both sides of the conflict it’s difficult to take a side, and I think that is the idea of the narrative; Bangs wants us to understand war is not about evil against good, the conflict is much murkier than that. You definitely feel like sitting the main characters down in a room together to force them to work out their differences, because in the end they are more similar than they are different, and of course you want the happy ending you know must be coming.
This story is not for the faint of heart; a lot happens in a short space of time and most of it is heartbreaking. It was hard to get to know characters and then face their gruesome deaths, but that just means Bangs did a good job in presenting the characters and pulling you into this world. However I would have liked to see this as a fully-fledged novel, because it had a lot of potential. The world was unique and the lore behind it was incredibly intriguing. The events that were the driving force behind the Yakhat aggression for example could have been explained more since it shaped much of what happened in the book. The character of Satose was also a bit of an enigma, I wanted to learn more about her bitterness, about her life before the story took place and more of her emotional drive rather than simply her actions, but she became more of a mother hen character and submerged her personality in favor of other character’s needs.
This was a strong story with a well-developed plot and a fantastic ending that left me on the edge of my seat and just as happy and relieved as the characters.
If you want to buy this book, you can go to Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Bride-J-S-Bangs-ebook/dp/B00QXSSXC0/
Author’s Website: http://jsbangs.com/
Publisher’s Website: http://redadeptpublishing.com/storm-bride-by-j-s-bangs/