Book Review: Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory

Friday 21 March 2014

Philippa Gregory
Genre(s): fantasy, historical fiction, young adult
Published: June 1st 2013
Pages: 280
Rating: 3 stars

Luca Vero is a member of the secret Order of Darkness, tasked with searching out and reporting signs of the end of the world. Breaking his journey in Piccolo, he finds a place filled with superstitious fears: of the unknown, of the forces of the sea and sky, of strangers. With him are his loyal friend and servant, Frieze, and his clerk, Brother Peter, as well as the Lady Isolde and her mysterious servant-companion Ishraq. The five of them are followed into the town by a huge children's crusade, led by a self-proclaimed saint. Its young leader promises that the sea will part before them, and allow them to walk dry-shod all the way to Jerusalem. Luca and Lady Isolde are swept up in the growing excitement; but something dangerous is brewing far out to sea...

Stormbringers, the second instalment in the Order of Darkness series, is a much more enjoyable, thought out and developed book than it's prequel, Changeling.

For starters, the characters feel a lot more comfortable throughout the book, and it was easier to understand and sympathise with them. It was also easier to become very annoyed with them at certain points in the story, but - to me at least - that is a sign of a well rounded character. Stormbringers makes you really start to care for and value them all, but Freize and Ishraq in particular. The plot as well as the emotion Gregory manages to weave into her prose mean this is a very character driven instalment and you cannot help but feel for them all and wish things could change.

The plot, too, it also a lot more defined and sits a lot more comfortably when reading than that of Changeling. The whole aspect of the wave washing through the village and the mystery surrounding it was very interesting and more than once I found myself questioning how it could possibly happen. That being said, it didn't happen until the book was almost half way done (and it's only a short one) and I felt that the build up took a little too long and the solution... didn't seem like much of a solution.

Nevertheless, Stormbringers was still an interesting and gripping read with good insight into life during the 1400s, even if it is written in a fairly simple manner.

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