“Be careful what you say, Rah,” he said. “Be careful what you do. Open your eyes. Watch before you speak. Speak before you act. Trust those who have earned your trust. That is our way.”
I don't know if my expectations were too high, or what, but I didn't enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed every single other of Madson's books. The novel is brilliantly written, so this really just came down to my personal taste. Something just didn't click in We Ride the Storm for me. And with this review I will attempt to discuss what it was.
It didn't help much that I only enjoyed one character out of three. In my opinion Cassandra was the only one who brought something new to the story. With the strange voice in her head Cassandra was interesting, to say the least. Although I just couldn't buy her "assassin" side, if you will. It lacked development in the beginning and in the end it just felt too easy, too staged.
Didn't care one bit about Rah, his chapters were a chore to get through. 90 percent of the time Rah is there just sewing head off the bodies, and there's only so much excitement in that. He was too righteous for my liking, but also at the same time I found him to be the weakest character. Both in development and in character strength.
“Lesson number four. Sometimes those who seek to help you are the worst enemies of all.”
Miko. I don't know how to feel bout Miko, mostly because I just don't get it. I don't get the drive that she (and Hana) for that matter had for the empire. Although Hana had more reasons than Miko did for sure. Everything these "royal blooded" characters do is always for the empire, but we don't get to see the empire in the story much. Only when it's burning. But there is never any interaction between regular people, who compose the empire, and the ones who rule it. All of the action is always of political nature and is always done in the court of the palace. That is the big reason as of why I don't understand the drive, because to me it seems like they care nothing about the empire and it's people, they only want the throne.
For about 80 percent of the book Miko is very much like Hana - they both make very stupid decisions, and they both are driven by the same things. Even the way Miko took the throne was very similar to how Hana did. Altogether, to me We Ride the Storm was way too similar to the Vengeance Trilogy. I know the all of the things were just supposed to be nods to the other books, but with so many of them - they just became very repetitive. Most of the time I felt as I've "been there done that". Characters make a lot of the same choices, the driving force and reason are very much the same for both stories, there's the same war going on - I just feel like I didn't get anything new out of this.
Now for the only character I truly enjoyed, even though there was barely any of him in the book - Leo. Leo was great! That is all I have to say about him. I did like how the ending took a few interesting twists and am intrigued to see where it takes some of the characters. Particularly Cassandra and her new "companion".
All of Madson's book series can be read in any order - I read them starting with the novella, then Vengeance Trilogy and then We Ride the Storm. Reading them this way gives the most insight and background as stories just keep layering on top of each other, but you don't have to. You will discover all of the secrets anyway, no matter which order you choose.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Devin Mason for a digital ARC of the book. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.