Book #74

Symphony of the Wind by Steven McKinnon

A bounty hunter with a death wish. An orphan with her head in the clouds. A conspiracy with the power to bring down a kingdom.
Serena dreams of leaving her harsh desert home behind in her very own airship. But when an assassin’s knife meant for Serena kills her friend instead, the rebellious orphan ventures into the corrupt heart of Dalthea to discover who put a price on her head. With each new turn, she edges closer to uncovering the awful truth… And the mystical powers brewing deep within her.
After his fiancée’s death, soldier-turned-bounty hunter Tyson Gallows is eager to sacrifice his life in the line of duty. When a foreign enemy assassinates a high-ranking official, he vows to bring them to justice. On the hunt for a killer, Gallows exposes a sinister plot that proves his fiancée’s death was no accident.
Driven by revenge, Serena and Gallows must join forces to take down the conspiracy before the kingdom falls to ruin.

I read the prequel to this (The Fury Yet to Come) a couple of months ago, and I’ve been desperate to continue my journey with Tyson Gallows. We left him reeling from his encounter with a mind-infiltrating witch, and find him again in Dalthea, a member of the Hunter’s Guild, yet broken and grieving for his departed fiancée. But Gallows is one of those guys that trouble just seems to find, and soon we’re catapulted into tornado of crime, corruption, and a shitload of fighting. Sign me up for this series immediately.

People often ask me what I’m reading, and when I’ve tried to explain this one over the past week, I’ve found myself lost for words. I would open my mouth and attempt to describe the novel, but what I heard coming out just wasn’t selling it, or doing it justice. It’s impossible to put the premise of this book into words, never mind write a concise review. But here goes.

There is so much to digest here. There’s politics, conspiracies, magical powers, lore, genetically modified animals, genetically modified humans, not to mention the complex characters and their intricate relationships with each other. The delicate, and often confusing, aspects only made the novel more true to life – excepting mind-manipulation and the undead – and the story quickly becomes something you are completely embroiled in.

The pace is unbelievably fast, and yet you’re constantly learning. Although my favourite sections were where I was being given information on people and their motivations, I also relished the action scenes (of which there were many), which isn’t like me. You hold some of these characters close to your heart, only to be propelled into danger with them. Some of them are saved, some of them aren’t, but most of them experience some gut-wrenching, heart-stopping moments where you’ve no idea how they can possibly survive.

Best of all is the world McKinnon has created here. The faith, the government, the technology, the fallouts of war, all felt in the beginning as though they were flashed before our eyes and taken away just as quickly. There are no explanations, just subtle mentions of words and names of which we are clueless to their meaning. And yet McKinnon explains when it matters, and does so slowly without patronising us. I truly loved this method; the slow reveal is far more satisfying than droll histories and lengthy lectures.

A wonderful first novel in the series; I am so delighted to have been asked to review this, and very impatient for the second instalment. There are lots of people I’ll be recommending this one to with the caveat they read The Fury Yet to Come in order to set the scene. Nevertheless, after all that fast-paced bloodshed and mind-bending, I think I’ll read the entire series of Mr Men books to calm my heart down a bit.