Book #05

Wrath of Storms by Steven McKinnon

Serena’s fearsome power is growing stronger. After conning her way aboard a luxury airship in search of clues about her past, she walks straight into a sky pirate’s trap. But after her powers are unleashed and apocalyptic visions invade her mind, Serena realises the greatest threat may be herself…

As Damien Fieri struggles against his bloodlust, connections in high places conspire to keep his killer instincts sharp. He’d love to confront the clandestine forces that turned him into a living weapon—but can he find a way to do it that doesn’t shed more blood?
Can Serena and Damien bend their powers for good, or will they become dangerous pawns in a much deadlier game?

I love this series. McKinnon’s world of airships, gods, stone men, corrupt politicians and a siren, has always gripped me by the throat. I’m lucky enough to have been asked to review his books from the beginning, and have never been disappointed. His style and engagement are exquisite, and I wonder if (PSA: tooting one’s own horn) my fangirl attitude and reviews are what led to me being thanked in the acknowledgements of Wrath of Storms. Thank you.

There’s much of the same stuff good stuff here as in Symphony of the Wind. McKinnon brings back the characters we became so invested in, and continues to display their complex yet heart-rending relationships. He’s the type of author who will take a scythe to his characters, and although I hated him for this, it really propels the plot and lodges your heart somewhere alongside your intestines. His world-building is still glorious, and we learn more about the wars between communities, the histories, and the grudges. And I love a good grudge. It’s all becoming very intriguing and completely maddening all at once.

What’s different? This one is absolutely fucking relentless. There is constant action, eternal violence, and persistent disturbance. When you think you’re finally being given a break, McKinnon smacks you with bullets, knives, shortswords, all over again. I thought Symphony was fast-paced, and I now realise I was a fool. The pace is utterly unreal, and did well to convey the utter horror and chaos his world has become. Books that make you theatrically gasp in public are always good ones (albeit upon reflection and not at the time).

There’s a huge cast of characters, which is something I generally feel is unneccessary and confusing, however McKinnon’s skill allows him to render each of them individual and memorable. Back stories and motivations of even the smallest of characters were explored, and I loved it. There’s some particularly good commentary on collective hysteria giving comfort to the morbid and horrid, making me consider our current political climate (before eating a wee bit of cheese and pretending it’s all okay). 

Nothing is predictable here. You honestly cannot fathom in your head what’s about to happen next. It’s so intricate, so expertly planned, that all you can do is allow yourself to be dragged into the fray and hope like hell you’re prepared.

Once again, I’m so intrigued to find out the fates of my beloved characters in McKinnon’s next instalment. Although I’ve abandoned all hope for the safety of my favourites.