We Ride the Storm Review, Part Two

Thanks everyone, for stopping by. Kellen and I are about to continue our ongoing review of We Ride the Storm. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comments section!

KC Winters: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to our collaborative review of We Ride the Storm.

I don’t know about you, but I REALLY enjoyed this second set of chapters, as so many pieces begin to click into place and the plot begins to move along at a faster pace.

Kellen Darcy: I’m really getting into it. All of the parts are starting to come together and we’re seeing how they interact with each other, and we’re starting to get a glimpse of the overall plot arc. Maybe. I got at least one big surprise in this batch of reading.

KC Winters: What I find really compelling about this book is the ways in which it manages to shift in tone from chapter to chapter, from the brutality of captivity to the no-less-deadly (if more suave) dance associated with politics.

For that matter, I’m still not entirely sure which characters I am really cheering for, since they all seem so complicated and often unpleasant.

Kellen Darcy: I’m kind of into not just how it manages to shift in tone, but how the characters themselves shift from part to part, and how they each have their own distinct voice. They’re all definitely different people from different cultures with their own distinct personality; I don’t get the feeling that any of it is just shoehorned in for the sake of having them, though

I WILL fight you about Miko, though. I haven’t encountered a character I enjoyed so much out of the gate in a long, long time. She is brilliant and wonderful and shining and I will hear no different.

KC Winters: LOL! I, too, like Miko. I’m always partial to politics in fantasy novels. The wheeling and dealing, the backroom plotting and scheming, that’s the stuff that draws me and keeps me interested. I definitely agree with you that Miko is a fascinating character.

But, can we talk about what a gut-punch it was to see her brother killed so offhandedly? I honestly didn’t see it coming, and while he wasn’t a particularly bright fellow, I was still shocked at his death.

What I also enjoy about this book is the way that there are a lot of enigmas, both large and small, that are slowly being revealed as we make our way through the plot.

Kellen Darcy: I was mostly surprised when he got snuffed because I assumed from early on he was the obnoxious character that’s mostly required of fantasy. You know, the one that we get stuck with through an entire series for, as far as I can tell, the express points of both annoying us and making all of the other character’s lives difficult.

Which isn’t to say that he wasn’t a well-written character, because he was (while he lasted), but whew. I’m not sure whether he just wasn’t the brightest or he was just so wrapped up in himself it stunted his growth.

Let’s talk about Cassandra. We’ve found out a little more about her in this part, but I feel like of the three main characters she’s still the most mysterious.

KC Winters: Ah yes, Cassandra. I have a feeling that there’s something deeply significant about her name (referencing the Greek character, of course). But that scene where she withdraws Her from the dead body was deeply unsettling. It’s yet another sign of this book’s strength, that it manages to bring in a note of the horrifying to spice up the fantasy.

Kellen Darcy: I find Her to be pretty unsettling all on Her own. What is She, anyway? I assume from the things Cassandra thinks and a few others have said that She has been around since at least Cassandra was a child, but absolutely nothing that clues me in on what She actually is.

She’s like some hysterical Victorian woman who is somehow possessing an assassin in a fantasy world. I approve. I hope there’s a spectral fainting couch following her around. She seems to need one.

KC Winters: It was rather surprising that Cassandra seemed to feel so empty without her, suggesting that a symbiotic relationship has emerged between them.

And that moment when they reconnect was…unsettling. However, I did like that Cassandra’s storyline began to intersect with that of the Empress and, by extension, Miko. I can’t wait to see what happens!

Kellen Darcy: Yeah, the last few chapters we finished seems to throw some of the last few connecting points for the main characters in. I suspect Miko and Cassandra would actually get along rather well, even if it starts out bumpy while they tell one another how the other one is just awful.

Although I don’t think they’d ever admit it, they’re kind of similar people at the base of things, even if Cassandra is suspicious of everyone and Miko is only suspicious of what so far seems to be the wrong people to be suspicious of.

I think the big rub between them would be that Miko seems to care more about things that are bigger than her, while Cassandra is suspicious of everything. I’m seeing the odds being very good for Cass telling her that Miko thinks she’s a better person because she cares about the Empire, but that she’s just as selfish because she cares more about the Otako than Kisia itself. I also suspect the odds are good that Cassandra wouldn’t like me calling her Cass.

KC Winters: Lastly, I just wanted to say how much I also enjoyed reading Rah. He’s just such a compelling character, and the brutality of his scenes are refreshing in their own way, even as they show us a very different picture of this world.

Kellen Darcy: It looks like this is where we’re going to end this one. We’ll be back soon with the next part of the review. See you then!