Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Storm Witch - Violette Malan

The third in the adventures of Dhulyn and Parno, Storm Witch does some interesting things. The pair is trying to clear their names with the Brotherhood after their maligning in Soldier King when their help is requested at sword point by the Nomads, sea traders from the Long Ocean. It seems the ancient trading partners of the Nomads, the Mortaxa, have begun building their own ships and only members of the Brotherhood will be considered as negotiators for future trade considerations.

The problem? Dhulyn has had prophetic visions of Parno's death. At sea. And she wants to prevent that at any cost. Well, any cost but telling him of the vision, something she promised she would never do.

The story deals heavily with Dhulyn's internal conflict, which really makes her character come alive. We get to learn more about what being partnered means, and why Dhulyn doesn't have any children.

The characters also travel to a part of the world we haven't seen yet, where two peoples are coming close to war. One side still practices slavery, the other has a psychic connection to a race called Crayx, sea creatures who help guide their ships.

Newcomers to the series will find the first chapter confusing, as it refers heavily to the previous book, but after that the action is entirely self-contained. There are one or two references elsewhere in the book to their first adventure, The Sleeping God, but understanding them isn't essential to the book. The series is otherwise designed so that you can jump in anywhere, but, as with any series, those who read all the books will definitely get more out of them.

Violette Malan's writing keeps getting better. I found this a fun, quick read.

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