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Review: Blood and Tempest by Jon Skovron (Empire of Storms #3)

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Blood and Tempest by Jon Skovron // VBC ReviewBlood and Tempest (Empire of Storms #3)
Jon Skovron
Published: Nov. 21, 2017 (Orbit)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Hope and Red.

The end of Bane and Shadow left our main characters apart and adrift. Hope finds herself questioning her Vinchen teachings. She has forsaken violence and revenge, and refuses to pick up a blade again. In coming to terms with her new stance, she’s given up the moniker of Dire Bane, left the ship (and her crew) and went in search of answers in the only place she thought to find any, back where it all started: Bleak Hope.

Meanwhile, Red is no longer under the biomancers’ control as the Shadow Demon, but he keeps up the guise hoping to get more information about what the biomancers’ true endgame is. When this doesn’t happen Red does the only thing he can think of: he comes clean about his treachery, and then immediately flees Stonepeak following in the trail of the Vinchen who are looking for Hope.

Tensions are high in the Empire, and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it from boiling over. Red and Hope will need to try to ban together both the commoners and aristocracy if they want even a chance of coming out of the conflict alive.

This story was built up so well within the first two books—as well as the character development—that this third and final installment in the trilogy was basically just an afterward. It was the natural conclusion in a battle of good vs. evil.

There were some wonderful singular moments spread throughout the story. Namely, the drive to get Hope and Red back on page together and what happens afterwards. They have been apart for over a year and shared no page time whatsoever in Bane and Shadow. They both changed exponentially in the second book. So seeing how they reacted to one another, if they could pick up where they left off was a highlight for me. I do have to say that the romance in these books was like a drop of fresh air among the darker and oftentimes grosser aspects of the books, yet never overwhelmed the main idea of the story.

Without a lot of world and/or character building needed for this conclusion, I felt like Job Skovron ended up starting a few new story threads that, should he decide, could be picked up and turned into a nice spin-off series.

I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated the female strong perspective that has been put into these books. For me, Blood and Tempest really showcases the female friendships and dedication to one another that have been built up between Hope, Brigga Lin (a female biomancer) and their student Jilly. But I really like the message that violence does not have to be the automatic answer for solving conflicts. There’s no one who wants to cross Hope with or without her sword.

Overall, this series is highly recommended. The strong, centralized female characters and the sweet romance are a big plus. If there are more stories to tell in the Empire of Storms world, I would gladly welcome them.

Sexual content: sex, references to attempted rape.

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