Storm of the East interweaves the narrative of two offspring of people in power who are thrust into situations. Two people who could have been friends and lovers on opposite sides of a war. Filled with court politics and military strategy, Storm from the East is an excellent follow-up to Hathaway’s debut.
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Title: Storm from the East
Author: Joanna Hathaway
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Publisher: Tor Teen
I received an eARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired sequel to Dark of the West
Part war drama, part romance, Storm from the East is the second novel in Joanna Hathaway’s immersive, upmarket YA fantasy series that will appeal to readers of Sabaa Tahir, Marie Rutkoski, and Evelyn Skye.
War has begun, and the days of Athan’s and Aurelia’s secret, summer romance feel a world away. Led by Athan’s father, the revolutionary Safire have launched a secret assault upon the last royal kingdom in the South, hoping to depose the king and seize a powerful foothold on the continent. Athan proves a star pilot among their ranks, struggling to justify the violence his family has unleashed as he fights his way to the capital—where, unbeknownst to him, Aurelia has lived since the war’s onset. Determined to save the kingdom Athan has been ordered to destroy, she partners with a local journalist to inflame anti-Safire sentiment, all while learning this conflict might be far darker and more complex than she ever imagined.
When the two reunite at last, Athan longing to shake the nightmare of combat and Aurelia reeling from the discovery of a long-buried family truth come to light, they’ll find the shadow of war stretches well beyond the battlefield. Each of them longs to rekindle the love they once shared . . . but each has a secret they’re desperate to hide.
Storm from the East is a compelling sequel that exceeds its predecessor with its themes of war, family, and love. It picks up months after the failed coup d’etat of Etania, with Aurelia coping with the choices she made and with Athan continuing to serve his father in a campaign heading to the South. While their paths do not cross for most of this book, their choices irrevocably change the others lives.
The setup for war that began in Dark of the West is explored here but also continues to further develop something more. It explores concepts of revolution, injustice, the right to rule. While there is a huge World Wars influence on this saga, it also reminds me of some of early European colonialism followed by the rise of independent nations in the early 19th century. Not many fantasy books delve into these topics– much less as well– as Dark of the West and Storm from the East. It’s an understatement to say I am hooked.
I also loved seeing how Athan’s relationship with his siblings developed. For starters, it surprised me to see Arrin say and do some of the things he did because of how he previously acted. I never thought I would see him standing up for Athan, even when he couldn’t. There is so much background to Arrin and Kalt, who grew up with more severe expectations from their father. It felt heartbreaking to see how they bond through the difficulties.
Meanwhile, with Aurelia, we see the realities of war from a civilian’s point of view. Aurelia, rather than allow herself to be used as a pawn, decides to take action by heading to the South. There, she leads an anti-Safire campaign against the General’s campaign in Resya. Aurelia continues is hardened by war in a different way than Athan. While she was not my favorite character in Dark of the West, I grew to admire her courage and integrity.
One disclaimer I want to make is that it is not a fast-paced book. The intricacies of the events leading up to war do not make for a quick read. This is a book you need to slowly savour, not devour, but will leave you thinking hours after you finish.
I feared that the heavier military focus would make me feel detached from the story since I’ve experienced that with other books. Hathaway, however, interweaves her research with how it affected the Dakar family dynamics, our main characters, and civilians. In doing this, she also explored the dark side of war, particularly when it is not a “just war”.
So much happens in Storm from the East. Still… much more needs to happen for us to get to the prologue of Dark of the West. I am both eager for the conclusion as well as weary of what it will mean for Athan and Aurelia.
JOANNA HATHAWAY was born in Montréal and is an avid storyteller who was inspired to write after reading her great-grandfather’s memoirs of the First World War. A lifelong history buff, she now has shelves filled with biographies and historical accounts, and perhaps one too many books about pilots. She can often be found reading, traveling, or riding horses.
Her debut novel Dark of the West is the first in a World Wars-infused fantasy series of forbidden love and deadly revenge. Storm from the East will hit shelves on February 11, 2020.
Click here to enter to win 1 of 3 finished copies of Storm from the East by Joanna Hathaway. Open only to U.S. residents. This giveaway starts February 5 and ends February 19.