So, I found this book, The Last Stormlord, at the library. I had never heard of Glenda Larke, which is unfortunate, as she has written several other books. I need to get out more often…
The Last Stormlord is the first book in a trilogy. The setting–countries all set in a desert–is fairly novel for a fantasy series. The back of the book promises three main characters. Most of the novel seems to focus on the character Terelle. Terelle is a poor girl, sold into slavery by a heinous father to a brothel (snuggery). Her older half-sister loves working as a ‘companion’, while she fears it. Sound familiar? This character background has been the backstory for many, many characters. Done right, it could be interesting. This book does a fair job with it. However, the other two characters promised on the back do not appear until about 1/3 of the way through. It is difficult to decide how all three main characters intertwine.
There is a lot of heavy foreshadowing in the very early part of the novel, and the ending wasn’t so much an ending as an abrupt halt. (If you’ve seen the movie The Boiler Room, you know how jarring that can be.) As if the printer had lost the last section of the book. I can understand why she would want to leave some loose ends to lead into the next book, but some resolution of some plot threads would be handy. As such, the ending left me lonely.
All of that said, the book is pretty good. The action is fast-paced, the political intrigue is fascinating, and the setting is well-defined. The characters less than three-dimensional, and the antagonists are practically Bond villains, but that doesn’t make Stormlord a bad read. It’s not great literature, but I read it in just a few sittings. At 674 pages, this book is maybe a little long, maybe some lengthy exposition could have been trimmed down, but the world is well-realized and the different ethnic groups are defined.
The Last Stormlord is a book worth checking out if you can find it at your local library.
(PS: There are some fairly gory character deaths. I don’t dig the gorn aspect of speculative fiction–or anything, really–so that turned me off a bit more. But for those who don’t mind, it’s obviously not a big deal.)