Monday, May 17, 2021

Elizabeth Hunter - The Storm

Scarred by loss, Irina warrior Renata has held the world at a distance. Fighting the Grigori and protecting humanity are her goals, but her heart remains frozen to the bonds of family and love. Only one scribe, Maxim of Riga, has managed to see through Renata's armor. 
On the darkest night of winter, in the halls of her ancestral home, Renata is forced to face her past. Can a fierce storm and a stubborn scribe coax her back to life, or will she retreat into duty forever?

 Newly republished as a stand-alone with bonus novella Song for the the Dying.
When a letter arrives from a remote scribe house in Latvia, Leo and Max must return to their childhood home to face the father and grandfather who raised them. The past is inescapable, but can it be overcome? Is it possible to build a future of happiness from a foundation of pain? 
The Storm and "Song for the Dying" are two novellas in the Irin Chronicles, a romantic fantasy series by Elizabeth Hunter. 
Comment: This will be just a quick comment..
This is installment #6 in the Irin Chronicles series. I have been trying to keep up with the series and I'm close to finish, since there is only one book left.

This book actually contains two novellas and not just one full length novel. I wasn't aware of that when I started but I was a little confused by how.... choppy the romance of Max and Renata was.

We have met these two in the previous books and their relationship has been a bit int he style of "cat and mouse" because it was clear there were feelings between them, which they didn't seem to acknowledge or act upon, although they did care for one another. I thought this novel would be how they finally dealt with whatever issue there was and in between they would recognize they are stronger together than apart.

It's true there is some background on them, we especially learn a lot more about Renata and what happened to her since she was a child. However, the new information is given to us mostly on scenes from the moments the couple shared in the past, anytime their paths crossed. I don't feel it was set enough for me to appreciate how their relationship spanned years. I actually felt a little sad they took so long to take the step into being a couple.

Part of this is due to what happened to Renata's family during the time the Irins call "Rending", when many people were killed and how those who survived carried their loss forever. I can understand this and the fact Renata has felt the need to get revenge on those who killed those she cared about and that such a mission helped her cope but it certainly took the couple a long time to establish they were a good team. 

Only a certain part of the novel is set on the current time line of the series and, of course, they are faced with an example of how wrong we can be when we define our actions on things we cannot change. Renata, in particular, leaned her lesson but it did take an extra help to allow her to finally have some peace and the will to move on. I think her character and actions are understandable but for people who live such long lives, the "lessons" should be more obvious from others' examples, no? As if it took too long for her to see what she had been doing wrong.

I think I enjoyed this one more because of how familiar the characters already were than for the story itself. There were good scenes, don't get me wrong, but nothing amazing like I imagined.

As for the second novella, it is a continuation of sorts, of what happened to Max and Renata and Leo and Kyra (book #5) because Max and Leo are cousins and they called back to their childhood house in Latvia. This is smaller than the other one and basically it's a story about making peace with the past. It was a good novella, quite emotional to be honest, more than I expected it to be but apart from one piece of news, it didn't advance things in any way. 

All in all, I really don't have much to say about either novella, they make sense within the world, they can have meaning for those who like the series but neither brought much novelty, no.
Grade: 7/10

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