Series: Daughters of the Storm #1
Published by Harlequin on November 2014
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy
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Lying in a magic-induced coma, the King of Thyrsland is on the brink of death: if his enemies knew, chaos would reign. In fear for his life and his kingdom, his five daughters set out on a perilous journey to try to save him, their only hope an aunt they have yet to meet, a shadowy practitioner of undermagic who lives on the wild northern borders.
No-one can stand before the fierce tattooed soldier and eldest daughter Bluebell, an army commander who is rumoured to be unkillable, but her sisters, the loyal and mystical Ash, beautiful but unhappily married Rose, pious Willow and uncertain Ivy all have their own secrets to keep from her — the kind of secrets that if revealed could bring disaster down upon not only them, but the entire kingdom.
Waiting in the wings is stepbrother Wylm whose dealings with Bluebell's greatest enemy, Hakon the Raven King, would end Bluebell's dreams of revenge on his mother and propel his own desperate grasp for power.
Bluebell, warrior and heir to the throne has been called back to the Royal city with her four sisters – their father, King Aelthric, has fallen ill, into a strange troubled coma. The five princesses set out on a secret journey to find a cure for this strange affliction. Meanwhile, their stepbrother has his own plans to seize the throne.
I’ve found over the last few years with reading such a high volume of books that the ones where the story sticks with me the longest are those with characters I cared about. Realistic (as real as they can be in fantasy, anyway), deep characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses are really what makes stories compelling. That, and dragons. It’s one of the main reasons I love A Song of Ice and Fire, even though I hide behind my fingers at the violence – the character stories are amazing.
Daughters of the Storm is certainly a character-driven story, with the five princesses, Bluebell, Rose, Ash, Ivy and Willow each having a very different story to tell, motivations and reactions to the events around them. One thing they do share though, is a degree of selfishness, which got kind of tiring. Even Ash, who appears selfless and kind at first, ends up serving her own agenda by the end. There are some very real consequences for each of the players in the story though, and as they further their own plans, they actually put the others in a worse state, often without intending to. It’s a tangled web and one that keeps the reader on edge.
The other way this story reminded me of ASoIaF is the body count. After a couple of early shocking deaths, I spent the whole rest of the book feeling anxious that someone else was about to be murdered, especially when the children were around. Thankfully Kim Wilkins didn’t quite reach GRRM levels of character destruction, at least not yet.
The pace and tension are kept high, even through the traveling sections. I love the way Kim Wilkins writes – I haven’t read any of her other work before, but I enjoyed this one so much I think I might have to take a look at her other books!
– A great start to a new epic fantasy series by this Aussie author. Highly recommended!