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Review of Storm Without End (Requiem for the Rift King #1) by R. J. Blain

Review of Storm Without End (Requiem for the Rift King #1) by R. J. BlainStorm Without End by R. J. Blain

Rating: I Really Liked It
Series: Requiem for the Rift King
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
Pages: 406
Publication Date: 11/26/2013
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Book Blurb: Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.

When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

There were some great things I really enjoyed about this book. First, there are talking horselike creatures that are rather nifty and the Rift people have horses they are extremely fond of. I’m a huge fan of incorporating animals in books so it was very pleasant to read about the connection the characters had with these animals. Might have been my favorite part.

Something I also liked was the main protagonist, the Rift King himself. Unlike most of our heroes, he’s not a towering walking mass of muscle, not that I mind those. He’s short, missing an arm, and rather skinny. Furthermore, he kinda gets hurt a lot. That’s not to say he’s weak; he can actually be a bit of a badass. As much as I enjoyed it, I also found that Blain’s constant referral to his childlike size made me think of him more as a child, or at least a teenager, when he’s actually thirty. Even in the book he’s mistaken as a child. It screws with my perception a bit.

Of course, I like the fact the Rift King has overcome some major obstacles. He’s had a bad round of it, but he keeps fighting. He’s a strong character and one you can get behind. He has some vulnerabilities that were touched on, which I hope we see more of in the second book. Which brings me to my next thought: This felt like a setup. There was a lot of information thrown at you with little initial explanation, and several things were more hinted at; vague sentences that later revealed themselves. Honestly, this was the biggest negative for me. If I would have known some stuff up front, I would have had more sympathy for the characters. I would have understood more. I would have connected more. Sometimes I felt like I was in the dark trying to find my way to the door with little luck. To compound that feeling, I did find myself a bit lost during some action scenes. This just might be because I lack a solid imagination.

Another thing I enjoyed was the relationship between the Guardians and the Rift King. It was interesting to read about and gave the story a nice lift. I might still be a bit confused about the whole Rift people and their traditions, but it’s coming together. Like I said, this book felt like a setup for book 2 in the fact that it’s got a base, but there’s still a lot of questions and thoughts half explored. It was annoying, but it’s got me curious enough that I’ll be reading book 2 when it comes out.

These negatives kept me at the slightest distance. Still, there were some very interesting ideas in this book and I enjoyed the story immensely. I hope now that we have a nice built up base that book 2 will be more satisfying.

About R. J. Blain

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

When she isn’t playing pretend, she likes to think she’s a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband, and obeys the commands of Tsu Dhi, the great warrior fish.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

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