One of my goals for March was to finish and review an indie book, and here I am fulfilling that goal! The book I chose to read was Rise of the Storm by Christina Ochs. It came out last year and I finally got around to reading it for myself.
The novel follows four characters throughout the book: Prince Kendryk, Princess Gwynneth (his wife), Braeden, and Janna. Each chapter takes turns using their perspective to tell the story of a bubbling war and religious conflict.
Prince Kendryk tries his hardest to protect a beloved religious leader yet branded heretic, Father Landrus. The young prince spends much of the story trying to choose what is convenient for him and what is best for his people. This naturally ruffles the feathers of Empress Teodora, who is ruthless, powerful, and famous for her temper tantrums. Kendryk heavily relies on his wife as his clever and diplomatic other half to help him navigate the political mayhem.
On the other side, you have Janna who loses just about everything in the book. She represents what the common people suffered as a result of war. Braeden is mainly acting on orders to do the fighting and village-burning, even though his heart isn’t completely in it. Through their eyes, you wonder who the real tyrant in this story truly is.
My Rating: 4 stars
What I Enjoyed:
I was surprised that I enjoyed the organization. It made it easy to transition from each point of view, and it also made me eager to check back in with that character. I felt this way especially about Gwynneth and Janna. It was a good way to keep me in suspense, and yes, sometimes I skipped straight to their next chapter to satisfy my curiosity.
Speaking of Gwynneth and Janna, I loved how Ochs chose to feature these interesting women who experience the war on opposite sides; one a princess and the other a poor widow. You get a sense of the political, decision-making side of the war, and then you see how the subjects pay for it. I was just as eager to hear what Janna was going through just as much as I wanted to know what Gwynneth was plotting next.
Because you get to see so many character perspectives, each character felt well-developed and likeable in their own way. Christina also does a good job with scenery and description. I enjoy writing that gives me a clear backdrop to make the scene really come alive.
What I Didn’t Enjoy:
Ochs gives many character descriptions, especially for Kendryk and Gwynneth, but often you aren’t left with much vision clues for the rest of the characters. You often get one brief description and you’re left to your own interpretations. There are so many characters that I would have appreciated more references to character appearances.
The Final Say
Overall, Christina Ochs delivers an interesting and engaging story of political intrigue, and the choices that have to be made to decipher right and wrong. Ochs shows us the beautiful and ugly side of war through her characters, as well as her extensive knowledge of war strategy, weapons, and politics.
This novel is ultimately appropriate for young adults and older; intercourse and rape is mentioned but not explained in detail, in case that’s not your thing.
I would highly recommend picking up Rise of the Storm, and while you’re busy doing that, I’ll be busying myself with her sequel, Valley of the Shadow.
To learn more about Christina Ochs and her works, check her out on social media:
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