I’d like to share another indie book review. Get hyped for Storm Born by Amy Braun. It just came out during March of this year, so it’s still fairly fresh and fun.
Rating: 3 stars
Ava’s neighbors have been trained and prepped for a Centennial Storm, which is a string of natural disasters that everyone dreads. While Ava and her family survive the storm, it’s not the end of disastrous weather and turmoil.
While being trapped in the storm, Ava gets caught in the middle of power struggle between the Mistrals and the Precips. She’s “tethered” to a Precip, Hadrian, and from then on, she learns about what truly causes these storms and how her role in this whole mess could potentially stop them.
She’s given abilities to control ice against her will, but despite the pain she endures, she knows she’d rather be involved if it means saving her family and community. Ava doesn’t like working with the Precips, but wonders if she has what it takes to avoid the Mistrals’ plans to make her their ultimate world-shattering weapon.
What I enjoyed:
- Extensive, interesting action: If there’s one thing Braun excels in, it’s crisp and engaging fighting. There’s a lot of action—whether it’s full on battles, scuffles, or Ava testing out her new powers. Instead of glossing over fight scenes, she gives literal blow for blow so you can fully visualize what each character is doing. It’s helpful to readers since the characters are almost always doing something interesting.
- World building/magic system: There’s a lot of magic rules to digest, but Braun helps us understand how Ava “charges” her powers uses them to attack her enemies or defend herself. You understand how powerful she is and her limitations. The Guardians (characters who are really old and really good at cleaning up Centennial Storms) and their charges have tethers where they can borrow each other’s energy to boost their own. It adds a bit of interest factor; Ava and the others have to decide when to rely on their own abilities and when it’s safe to borrow.
What I didn’t enjoy:
- Ava as the weak and white girl: Ava kept reminding us (the novel is in first-person) that she was pale and weak. It sort of made it difficult to root for her when she spent a lot of time not rooting for herself. She constantly compares her unattractiveness against the flawless features of Piper; her confidence at the end, but for a college freshman, she sure carries a lot of teenage angst.
- Hadrian as the cliché lover: Because we’re constantly reminded of Ava’s frailties and unattractiveness (she looks great on the cover), it’s hard to believe that Hadrian would fall in love with her. He explains his feelings at the very end, but the chemistry was hard to believe for a long time. He simply chooses to brood instead of explain his emotions like a reasonable adult.
- Hard-to-follow language: While the metaphorical descriptions were beautiful and interesting, they were distracting. Since Braun is explaining unique magical concepts unique, metaphorical instances of intestines being rearranged or lungs exploding made me wonder what was literally happening to Ava. Like, if someone was watching her take someone’s powers, would she be convulsing, standing still, or something else altogether?
- Declan as the cliché bully: Declan is literally described as a “walking stereotype” from the get-go. It made it hard for me to sympathize with his background, or really see him as a person, even though Ava has her moments of sympathy for him. Braun does some interesting things with him towards the end, but the bull-headed, misogynistic jock ploy was a bit overdone.
- Too many “blackout” chapter endings: Ava herself says she’s tired of blacking out—which she experiences in at least half of the chapter endings, if not more. There has to be better ways to transfer to another scene or chapter.
My Final Thoughts
I realized part-way through that I’m probably not the target audience for this novel. I’m sure younger readers, or those who love a good romance, will really get a kick out of this novel. The magic and world building kept me reading the novel, but the cliché characters made me wince once or twice. After writing a few clichés myself, I’m not one to talk, but once you notice them, it’s hard to forget. I’d recommend this novel to young adult readers, with a warning that there are a few carefully-placed F-bombs here and there.
I was pretty impressed to see the extensive list of novels that Braun has already gifted us with. If you’d like to read this or other works by Amy Braun, you can catch up with her via social media:
Have you read this novel? Do you have your own thoughts about it? Share with me in the comments!