Source: Hardcover from My Collection
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars :star :star :star
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: June 4th, 2013
Italy, 1453. Luca and Isolde grow more and more attracted to each other as they continue their journey to unravel the mysteries throughout Christendom. But their travels are delayed by the uprising of an intense religious crusade that threatens the balance of the civilized world. Death lingers in the air as war ravages on, but this religious conflict is nothing compared to the arrival of an intense and deadly storm.
Caught in the midst of unimaginable chaos, Luca and Isolde must rely on one another in order to survive.
I am a fan of historical fiction, but it’s something that I feel I always forget about. I am also a big fan of paranormal and fantasy and they’re like the older and louder siblings in the genre family of my tastes. ;)
So while in the past I have read a few of Philippa Gregory’s books, and really enjoyed them I might add, I don’t always get to delve deeper. When I saw she was writing a YA series of historical fiction with bits of magic in them, I leaped. I mean, I love that combination of genres! The first book in the Order of Darkness series, Changeling, was one I read last year. I’ve had the sequel and the third book sitting on my TBR for many months, and I’m so glad I finally picked it up.
Stormbringers was definitely more interesting than its predecessor, Changeling. I think I gave Changeling 2-3 stars, not because it wasn’t good (it was) but because it had a bit of a “meh” factor going on. I knew the series had a lot of potential though, and sometimes first books have a hard time because they have so much to develop. I’m glad I went with my gut because it definitely paid off. Stormbringers was much better than Changeling, and had a lot more of everything I love. There was more action, more historical elements, more romantic tension, and definitely tons of character development.
Frieze was not really one of my favorite characters in the first book. In this book, we really learn more about him and I am surprised to say I completely changed my opinion on him. He’s hilarious and made me LOL several times. He’s also sweet and his way of animals is super endearing. There’s something about a man with a fondness for kittens that has me weak in the knees…*sigh*
Luca also developed a lot in this novel. We see more of his past, what happened to his parents, and ultimately what led him to live in a monastery and take up in the Order in the first place. Luca is definitely split between his duties. He really likes Isoldeand doesn’t really know why he’s pledged to become a monk. Like any young man, he’s got NEEDZ, YO. :k I found the sexual frustration hilarious and at the same time pretty realistic.
|Isolde reminded me of S1E1 BUFFY, the girl who was a slayer inside, she just didn't know it yet.|
Ishraq was always more fascinating to me than Isolde. She’s well read, versed in many languages, she’s from the Middle East but is stuck around all these Christians who call her a Pagan or heretic and she still holds her head high. Not to mention, she’s got all the men respecting her including Father Peter which is no small feat. Her upbringing is unique, and I believe historically accurate which I found fascinating.
“My mother was a woman from Acre, where Jesus is honored as a prophet but they’re certain he is not a God. ..[They] called it Conviviencia—living alongside each other in harmony, whatever their beliefs. For the enemy is not another person who believes in a god. The enemy is ignorance, and people who believe in nothing and care for nothing. You should know that by now, Brother Peter.” Page 89
Gregory spun a wonderful tale full of mystery and suspense. I have to say, it’s not often I see historical fiction that takes place in 1453. It’s a fascinating time period. I feel like Gregory did an impeccable job making it feel like it was 1453 but that things were basically the same as far as young love, fear, and religions clashing while prejudices reign.
There were some things I didn’t really care for in the novel. The main thing was how long it took me to finish it. I’m not sure this is the novels fault, but it did seem to lag a bit in the beginning. Before the plot really started unfolding , it was hard for me to keep picking it up. Also I have to mention that I’m super busy working and studying nonstop and haven’t had much time for reading, this may be the reason it took me so long to finish. I’m not sure, but I do know that if it was a true five star read I would have foregone sleep, which I didn’t do here. Besides the pacing and the lagging in the beginning and the first part of the middle, I don’t’ have many other complaints. Isolde was annoying at times, in the way she prescribes to all the ideals that men have set upon women and how she let her jealousy goad her into a fight with Ishraq was disappointing. Nonetheless it was wonderful seeing a strong female sisterly bond throughout the novel.
I definitely recommend this book to people who like historical fiction with bits of magic tucked in. It’s a book that will keep you on your guard, and when you feel like you have it figured out you find out you know nothing. The ending was the best part, and I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book and discover more about the Order of Darkness that Luca is now partially sworn to