Release date: 3 October 2023
Book Boxes: FairyLoot October Adult
Special Editions: Waterstones Special Edition, Barnes and Noble Special Edition
Synopsis: The heart is a battlefield.
All Talasyn has ever known is the Hurricane Wars. Growing up an orphan in a nation under siege by the ruthless Night Emperor, she found her family among the soldiers who fight for freedom. But she is hiding a deadly secret: light magic courses through her veins, a blazing power believed to have been wiped out years ago that can cut through the Night Empire’s shadows.
Prince Alaric, the emperor’s only son and heir, has been tasked with obliterating any threats to the Night Empire’s rule with the strength of his armies and mighty shadow magic. He discovers the greatest threat yet in Talasyn: a girl burning brightly on the battlefield with the magic that killed his grandfather, turned his father into a monster, and ignited the Hurricane Wars. He tries to kill her, but in a clash of light and dark, their powers merge and create a force the likes of which has never been seen.
This war can only end with them. But an even greater danger is coming, and the strange magic they can create together could be the only way to overcome it. Talasyn and Alaric must decide… are they fated to join hands, or destroy each other?
The Hurricane Wars is primarily a romance and then a fantasy novel. The trouble is, in the beginning, it reads like Star Wars with a fantasy veneer, and then it later struggles with pacing and does not get to the romantic plot until about 25-30% of the way in (and even then at a snail’s pace). Empires of darkness. Rebellion fighters of light. A dark empire prince rises and a light magic wielder rises also to meet him. Stormships. Tactical meeting plans. Light magic training. Rebellion forces. Flying battalions. Lightning storms. If you like reading recycled stories, retellings, and/or fan fiction, then you’ll love this book.
I opened THW up knowing it was a Reylo fan fiction, so I basically asked for it. I won’t drone on and on about that aspect of the book. I’m not a fan of retellings, because it feels too much like rereading and gets monotonous. Thought it does not have as much hype as Fourth Wing, I still fell into the high expectations trap that comes with the assumption that a popular book will be interesting to me personally. Unfortunately, again, I did not enjoy a book with a lot of hype.
The plot for this one dragged so badly for me, I had to stop reading it for about a month and then pick it up again. And again. And again. When I finally got to the end, it was a relief to be finished. I avoided reading because it was a chore to get through. While I know it’s not an objectively terrible story, I just couldn’t immerse myself in the stop-and-go plot or connect with the characters. Talasyn is very headstrong and obstinate—and not in a good way. There was not a single thing I can remember she was willing to budge on. She reluctantly did everything to a degree of petulance that grated me so badly. Alaric, on the other hand, was a great character. He was mature, willing to see things from another’s perspective, and loving toward Talasyn, despite her constant rejections of him. After a while, I would have thrown her out a tower window.
In addition to characters, the political intrigue was not quite as strongly developed as it should be. There are many aspects of a world-encompassing war here that require intricate world development; however, because the book is also equally a romance, it gets in the way of the fantasy. The plot is a giant tug-of-war for dominance, and it flip-flops all over the place. Where there should be romance, it’s absent. Where there should be world development, readers get training scenarios and light shows. Dragons fly across the sky and hint at different aspects of the world building, but they’re only blips—cameos—despite the dragon adorning the cover of the UK edition. Additionally, Many events and characters briefly appear like they were shoved in as afterthoughts. Oh, and it ends on a giant cliffhanger, as one can expect.
On a positive note, I’m a big fan of cool old people in books. The Hurricane Wars has a very cool leader in it who stole the whole show for me. I can’t give details because they would spoil a major plot point, but I can say that any time the character was on page, I flew through the pages.
Overall, I give it a 3.5/5. It’s not a completely terrible book, but it’s also not a fantastically good one. The first 25% was a slog, and all the parts that weren’t romantic were also a slog. I feel like 480 pages is too long for this one. It could easily have been trimmed about 50-75 pages and got on with things. I’ll still be purchasing all the editions of the book, but I may regret that later if the next installments in the series don’t improve.
My thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the eArc, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.