The Last Stormlord
The Last Stormlord was surprisingly good. I had skimmed a couple of less-than-stellar reviews of it before reading it, but I actually enjoyed it very much and found the setting different enough to make the standard issue plot interesting.
This book, the first of the epic fantasy trilogy Watergivers, takes place in a realm where water is scarce and must be carefully rationed for survival. In this world, the ruling stormlords bring rain to their people – at least they did. But now the last stormlord is weakening in his old age, and there is no one to take his place. The main characters, Shale and Terelle, each have their own unique abilities that could prove the salvation of their world – or its downfall.
First of all, I really enjoyed this book. I found myself quickly attached to the characters, sympathizing with them in their trials (and there were quite a few of those). I do wish the book had stayed more focused on Shale and Terelle's stories rather than adding in the perspectives of a few secondary characters, because those characters' perspectives actually lessened my sympathy for them.
I loved how well integrated the environment, the political system, and the manifestations of magic were. All of it fit together as though the Quartern really existed, which is more complex than it sounds. Glenda Larke does an excellent job here of creating a detailed, believable world.
The storytelling was, for the most part, just as smooth. As I said, I wasn't a fan of the additional secondary characters' perspectives, but the book as a whole was enthralling and well-paced. Skipping a few months or years here and there worked very well to move the story along to more important scenes without skipping anything crucial or becoming disjointed.
The only real issue I had with this book was its leaders. I found it difficult to believe that the people who ruled the diverse, vibrant cultures The Last Stormlord so vividly painted could be so incompetent. They were really just blind, naive, and kind of dumb for most of the book. There was no good reason that a self-educated teenage boy should be better able to discern plots and plans than leaders with years or decades of experience. However, this was only really an issue in a few scenes, so it didn't detract too much from the overall excellence of the book.
The Last Stormlord is similar to:
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Medalon by Jennifer Fallon
Priestess of the White by Trudi Canavan