author: Mercedes Lackey
series: Mage Storms #2
published: 1 October 1996
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In Storm Rising, mysterious mage-storms are wreaking havoc on Valdemar, Karse, and all the kingdoms of the West, plaguing these lands not only with disastrous earthquakes, monsoons, and ice storms, but also with venomous magical constructs - terrifying creatures out of nightmare. Both Valdemar's Heralds and Karse's Sunpriests struggle to marshal their combined magical resources to protect their realms from these devastating, spell-fueled onslaughts. But as the situation becomes bleaker and bleaker, the still fragile alliance between these long-hostile lands begins to fray. And unless Valdemar and Karse can locate and destroy the creator of the storms, they may see their entire world demolished in a final magical holocaust.
Storm Rising is the second book in the Mage Storms trilogy, and in many ways it is my favorite. All of the Valdemar books are very character-driven, yet somehow this one is even more so. There is a diverse cast, all of whom are approaching the central problem from wildly different perspectives, which makes the story so engrossing.
Even though he is clearly a villian in the first novel, I really love Tremane’s character. It’s hard to not to soften one’s feelings about him as the man he truly is aside from the Empire emerges. His perspective is so different from that most of the Valdemaran characters and their allies, making it a fresh and unique point of view. He’s been put in a unforeseen situation, one that truly changes him.
And it may make me terrible, but I really enjoy Firesong’s story in this book. Until now, everything in his life has come rather easily to him. Power, love, admiration, the ability to solve almost any problem with his magic. Those things have given him a sense of superiority that often led to arrogance that others seemed to consider part of his “charm,” his abilities used to forgive those moments. But in this book, Firesong doesn’t have all the answers. His power and knowledge have been tested, and his love is drifting away. For once, he isn’t the center of attention. So it was rather nice to see him struggle. It made him less perfect, made him realize that he was no better than anyone else. There was real darkness for him, often terrifyingly so. It made his character much less likeable for awhile, but I did love his redemption near the end.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next!
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