Released: August 1st 2017
Received: Won (in a contest)
Warnings: Sexual violence
Up front notice: I won an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Ride the Storm through the Cassandra Palmer fanpage on facebook. There is no obligation for me to leave a review, but I am choosing to do so.
Ride the Storm is a fast paced fantasy novel with wit and peril strewn liberally throughout. Cassie is thrown from one problem or fight to the next, frequently with no time to rest. It creates a fast paced and somewhat chaotic feel, but Karen Chance throws enough silliness and insanity into the works that it somehow all makes sense and feels right. This type of writing style may be too busy for some readers, so be aware of it.
Cassie is running on fumes trying to juggle everything at once. She is still desperately trying to save Pritkin, along with the help of his less than ideal father. The Silver and Black Mage Courts are useless at best, an active threat at worst. The vampires on the whole are still recovering from the battle in Reap the Wind. The threat of Ares still looms in the air, as well as a handful of other threats I’ve failed to recall or mention. Normally I find a novel that has that many plots and subplots overwhelming, but it mostly works here. I think because Cassie needs constant reminds about what is going on, which in turn gives us constant reminders about what is going on.
I’m going to cover the warnings first, and then move on to the rest of my comments. One thing I would like to warn the readers about is a scene that occurs between Cassie and Pritkin. I’m not really sure how to feel about it or explain it. They’re put in a sexual situation, which isn’t exactly consensual? I guess that’s as close as I can get. I ended up putting the novel down for a few days to sort out my feelings before I continued. So this is something to be aware of, if this sort of thing is triggering to you. Additionally there are a few other scenes that either imply a rape could happen (Cassie seeing into the future) or show an unnamed character being raped. They’re relatively quick, but they are still there and there isn’t a ton of warning before they happen.
Okay, now on to talking about the rest of the book! One of the first really concentrated fights occurs between a metric ton of war mages (is that the appropriate way to measure mages? It feels like it should be) a couple shopkeepers, Cassie, and a dozen irritated reporters. I learned a couple of VERY important things from this fight: 1.) don’t tick off reporters and 2.) it really isn’t; smart to get yourself stuck to a hellhound. Despite the dangers against all the side characters, I was howling with laughter reading this scene. I wish I could say I wasn’t literally howling, but I’ve been told there may be a recording of it. So threatens my husband.
There were some massively satisfying points in this novel, if I may say so. First, we finally, FINALLY get to see what Mircea was up to. Since book one I was absolutely convinced he had another motive (besides the obvious) for wanting Cassie in his good graces. Now I finally have my answers, and while I feel bad for Cassie I’m also feeling very vindicated about my theory about him. Speaking of vindication, all the courts (vampire and mage alike) totally get called out by basically every news agency out there about not backing the Pythia. This is something that was bothering from the beginning (how could they justify not supporting her, especially when they knew it was the right thing to do?) so it was a breath of fresh air to see them having to face the truth on that one.
Another thing fans will be happy to hear: there was no cliffhanger this time! I repeat; no cliffhanger! I was worried there would be, considering the last couple kept leaving us in limbo (or more accurately, leaving Pritkin in limbo).
There were also some confusing points, going a bit beyond the normal chaos that surrounds Cassie’s life. I had to read the final battle twice to understand everything that was happening (admittedly, there was A LOT going on). Once I got a grasp of what was going on though, it was a pretty decent ending. One part I didn’t end up loving is because of my preferences, and I know it. I personally am not a fan of using other literary figures from other series (so needless to say I don’t love the series use of Vlad) so I wasn’t too psyched about the whole Arthur spin on this, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve seen.
Finally, there are some relationship developments in this series (finally) but I’ll leave the details for the novel.
I am a huge fan of the Cassie Palmer series, so when I say I was conflicted about what to rate this novel as, I want you to understand what I mean. Part of me reflexively wanted to give it a four start rating, but if I’m being honest with myself it was really more of a three and a half star rating. It’s still really good, I just have some complaints about it.