My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Review: City of Storms

City of Storms City of Storms by Kat Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story jumps right into the action … with the MC (Fra Alexei Bryce) responding to the alarm raised by the “Markhounds" of an individual “turning” to madness. It was a solid start; although the rapid fire delivery of new language/terms make it slow reading initially because of the lack of preceding context … it is worth pushing through. Some familiarity with Latin and the Catholic Church would probably help as the world building appears to borrow fairly heavily from each.

“There is no God in the Via Sancta” where everything is beautiful and virtuous. Even so, there are enough clever adaptations to make it interesting … instead of the Inquisition chasing down heretics, you have the “Interfectorum” chasing down people for whom the magic marks has gone bad (inverted/turned). These ideas are woven into a magic system based on psyche, ley lines, marks/tattoos, wards, cartomancy, and nihilism that appears to be well researched and implemented … and interesting.

Even with the fantastic world-building, I would regard this story as character driven. The two main characters include a war weary cleric using the Interfectorum for his own purposes teaming up with an “amoral” character from the other side of the tracks (one of the "unmarked”) to unravel a conspiracy that would be right at home in a Dan Brown novel. The twists and turns were exciting where even the supporting characters were interesting and nuanced. While it was not quite top shelf … I really, really liked it … so I am rounding up :-)

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
#CityOfStorms #BookSirens

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.