Rating 3.5 Stars ★★★☆☆
“Not in this lifetime.” Tazir snatched two of the pebbles off of the pile for the equipment budget. “Or at least not after what you pulled coming into Hanshi.”
When the Dragon Ships began to tear through the trade lanes and ravage coastal towns, the hopes of the arichipelago turned to the Windspeakers on Tash. The solemn weather-shapers with their eyes of stone can steal the breeze from raiders’ sails and save the islands from their wrath. But the Windspeakers’ magic has been stolen, and only their young apprentice Shina can bring their power back and save her people.
Tazir has seen more than her share of storms and pirates in her many years as captain, and she’s not much interested in getting involved in the affairs of Windspeakers and Dragon Ships. Shina’s caught her eye, but that might not be enough to convince the grizzled sailor to risk her ship, her crew, and her neck.
I think I would have loved this book if it had been longer. It starts out great: the characters are amazing, the setting, the banter, the magic, I loved it all.
Let’s start with the characters. We got the crew of a dhow who are tight on funds and are desperately looking for a passenger. Unfortunately, ever since the dragon ships started raiding the isles, people tend to stay put where they are. That is, until by a stroke of what seems like luck (to captain Tazir, at least) they find Shina, a girl desperate to get off the island and north as fast as possible.
The relationships between the characters were incredibly sweet. I loved the gruff captain and how tender she was to Shina. I loved the banter between her and the rest of the crew. It was really fun.
“I – I don’t drink,” said Shina.
The Captain clicked her tongue. “Well, I don’t know your life,” she said. “but that might be part of your greater overall problem.”
And I loved the magic system. Some people are born with the power to summon storms. These windspeakers are trained in storm temples until they are ready, when they have their eyes cut out and replaced by stones. It makes their powers easier to control. I loved the idea and I would have loved to get to know more about the magic.
Sometimes, full-grown Stormcallers with wet eyes and dangerous talents were brought to the school in chains, to have those eyes gouged out and replaced with stones that reined them in.
So the first part of the book is awesome. We got great characters, a cool world and exciting new magic. Shina is running north, the dragon ships on her tail. The whole book builds and bulds and builds towards a climax. I couldn’t wait for it. I was expecting a full-blown storm.
Unfortunately, what I got was a puff of wind. The last part of the book just falls flat. The conclusion was unsatisfying and felt rushed. I kept thinking: wait, that’s it??
It would have been better as a longer novel, spending more time with the characters and the world and giving more space to a final battle of some sort.
Great world and magic system and utterly loveable characters make for an entertaining read.