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Call of the Storm Sorcerer

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A murdered empress. A missing emperor. Mairynne Evangale called them Mother, Father. The country mourns while rumors of unrest stir. The sorcery castes struggle for power, and the casteless riot in the streets. Conflict hadn’t escalated this rapidly in Nantai since the Ryū Wars more than five ages past. The people need a new imperial leader. Mairynne’s soul yearns for A murdered empress. A missing emperor. Mairynne Evangale called them Mother, Father. The country mourns while rumors of unrest stir. The sorcery castes struggle for power, and the casteless riot in the streets. Conflict hadn’t escalated this rapidly in Nantai since the Ryū Wars more than five ages past. The people need a new imperial leader. Mairynne’s soul yearns for many things, but she never wished for the duty her Father assigned. She carries two soul stones, one cold and the other hot. They came to her with the loss of each parent. They call to her, beckoning her to leave home. They reinforce her convictions . . . Her father lives. He will return to his seat upon the Serpentine Throne. But first, she must answer the call.


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A murdered empress. A missing emperor. Mairynne Evangale called them Mother, Father. The country mourns while rumors of unrest stir. The sorcery castes struggle for power, and the casteless riot in the streets. Conflict hadn’t escalated this rapidly in Nantai since the Ryū Wars more than five ages past. The people need a new imperial leader. Mairynne’s soul yearns for A murdered empress. A missing emperor. Mairynne Evangale called them Mother, Father. The country mourns while rumors of unrest stir. The sorcery castes struggle for power, and the casteless riot in the streets. Conflict hadn’t escalated this rapidly in Nantai since the Ryū Wars more than five ages past. The people need a new imperial leader. Mairynne’s soul yearns for many things, but she never wished for the duty her Father assigned. She carries two soul stones, one cold and the other hot. They came to her with the loss of each parent. They call to her, beckoning her to leave home. They reinforce her convictions . . . Her father lives. He will return to his seat upon the Serpentine Throne. But first, she must answer the call.

30 review for Call of the Storm Sorcerer

  1. 5 out of 5

    MissBecka Gee

    While the book is short for fantasy (less than 200 pages) it is packed with the history, politics and (a bit of the) drama in Nantai. I'm excited to dig into more of this new world and the lives of the sisters. I feel like there is much more treachery to be found in the adventures yet to be presented. Much love to Susan Stradiotto for my signed ARC. While the book is short for fantasy (less than 200 pages) it is packed with the history, politics and (a bit of the) drama in Nantai. I'm excited to dig into more of this new world and the lives of the sisters. I feel like there is much more treachery to be found in the adventures yet to be presented. Much love to Susan Stradiotto for my signed ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Bronzewood Books). All thoughts and opinions are my own. Mairynne is the youngest of three sisters, and also a princess, and magic-wielder. Her mother died not long ago, her father disappeared not long after and is now believed to be dead. The will of the emperor and empress was for her to inherit the throne, but Mairynne feels deep inside her heart that her father is not dead. She is pressured to ascend to the throne even though she does n I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Bronzewood Books). All thoughts and opinions are my own. Mairynne is the youngest of three sisters, and also a princess, and magic-wielder. Her mother died not long ago, her father disappeared not long after and is now believed to be dead. The will of the emperor and empress was for her to inherit the throne, but Mairynne feels deep inside her heart that her father is not dead. She is pressured to ascend to the throne even though she does not want to, but she still decides to do her duty for her country despite her fear that she is not ready and up to the task. Meanwhile, she is also hoping to find a way to discover the truth about her father’s mysterious disappearance. I can’t exactly explain why, but I really had a hard time pushing through this story. The world is intriguing and interesting, but the book was still difficult to read, not because it is complex, but because I did not find it interesting or compelling. Nothing really caught my attention or got me involved in the story. Mairynne is a nice, but unoriginal main character, and I can’t say that I connected that much with her. I honestly felt nothing for the other characters, they are not bad characters, but they just are really bland, and the dialogues between them and the main character are not the bests I’ve read. There is not much action in this book, probably because it’s the first in a series, so it is more about introducing the characters and the setting, but I kept waiting for things to pick up. I was hoping for more. The series seems promising, there are some interesting parts and ideas, but the book fell short for me. Some aspects of the world-building still remain unclear, I am not entirely sure that I understand the caste system or the magic-system. It did not prevent me from understanding the story, but it bothered me a few times while I was reading. The politics aspect is subtle, and the storyline is a little predictable, there are no great twists and turns. The next book will probably be more interesting as the plot will continue, but I do not think that I will continue with this series.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    I was fortunate to get an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of this book from the author. It grabbed me right from the beginning with good character development and an interesting relationship between dragons and people. The prologue laid the foundation for the rest of the story by introducing the ambivalent and mostly negative relationship between people and dragons, but it was clear that there was the potential for that relationship to grow in new directions. I will not give away much of the plot, a I was fortunate to get an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of this book from the author. It grabbed me right from the beginning with good character development and an interesting relationship between dragons and people. The prologue laid the foundation for the rest of the story by introducing the ambivalent and mostly negative relationship between people and dragons, but it was clear that there was the potential for that relationship to grow in new directions. I will not give away much of the plot, as I do not want create spoilers. I have no quibbles with world development, character development, the rate of flow for the story, or its intricacy, as it had plenty of twists and turns. There were a few occasions, as many as one per page, where I would've worded things slightly differently, as in word order, word choice, and adding or deleting words. However, these hiccups did not stop me from enjoying the story. I would have no trouble recommending this story to readers of fantasy fiction, and I am tempted to purchase the sequel.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I unfortunately didn't love this book as much as I'd hoped I would. I wanted so desperately to love this book. The premise is really interesting and it had the potential to be a fast paced, exciting fantasy novel. But for the most part I felt confused and exhausted. There's a lot of thinking and explaining, but not much action. And I found even the first few pages to be world building overload, but not in a good way. I love complex new worlds, but it felt like I was being buried under random ter I unfortunately didn't love this book as much as I'd hoped I would. I wanted so desperately to love this book. The premise is really interesting and it had the potential to be a fast paced, exciting fantasy novel. But for the most part I felt confused and exhausted. There's a lot of thinking and explaining, but not much action. And I found even the first few pages to be world building overload, but not in a good way. I love complex new worlds, but it felt like I was being buried under random terminology that wasn't explained. So it was as though I was being hit over the head with how much of a fantasy world I was in, without actually knowing what was going on or what the various different titles and other words meant. Who are the storm sorcerers? Why is there a caste system, and who are the various people within it? Is it based on magical ability? Birth right? Religion? Who are the Small Folk and why is everyone at an advisory meeting getting all worried about them? How does the magic work? What kind of magical creatures can be found in the world? These things were never explained and I felt completely lost while reading the book. I also found the writing style overly formal, which I can forgive because we're dealing with royalty in a fantasy world. But it made it almost painful to read. This could absolutely be a case of personal preference though. It was frustrating because there was a lot of telling me how Mairynne felt and what she was wearing and what she was going to eat for dinner, but nothing was happening to advance the plot. He maintained a grateful demeanor while a guest at my aunt’s table, but on our walks, he repeatedly grumbled and complained. I want to actually see this scene, not just get told about it. I really struggled to connect with the characters because I was being told how they felt about each other or what they did together, but I wasn't actually seeing it. I got half-way through and considered putting it down, but by that point I'd read enough of it that I wanted to at least know how it would end. I was three quarters of the way through the novel by the time Mairynne had become empress and we were dealing with attempted poisonings. If this had happened near the start of the book, it would have made everything feel more urgent. At first I got strong bisexual vibes from Mairynne, the main character, almost immediately, which made me happy. She absolutely seemed to find both Imrythel (her sister's advisor) and Thalaj (her first guard) attractive, or that's how I read it anyway, though it did seem like this was just my interpretation as nothing came of it. So I was hoping for some quality bi content or possibly a straight, but forbidden, love story between her and Thalaj. I won't even pretend that I didn't find Thalaj attractive because of course I did. I liked reading his interactions with Mairynne a lot, and I wish we'd had more of that. Or just...something. There was some serious sexual tension between the two of them and it was the main reason I kept reading the book. I was invested in their romance more than I was the political side of the book, because I still had no idea about the political structure or what any of it meant. Sometimes I felt like their romance had real potential, at other times it didn't feel like enough. I was also frustrated because his character development was quite static. He was an interesting character who I wanted to know more about and who I had high hopes for when he was first introduced, but other than knowing Mairynne was attracted to him and that he had travelled, I didn't get to learn much about him. So he went from being attractive to kind of one-dimensional, like many of the other characters. “No,” I commanded. “There must be another way. I cannot be without you to lead my guard.” But there was so much more twisting around in my mind. I cannot ask you to face this danger. And I cannot be without the hope for us, I didn’t say. Weaker then, I questioned, “I’ve lost so much already, and now you’d leave me too?” This is the kind of heart-broken angst I'm here for. Scenes like this stood out and were a bright moment in this book. I wish this book had been the same length, but that the plot had been paced better and that instead of overly flowery language we'd had more thorough explanations of the world, so that I'd have understood the relationships between the various characters and families. I enjoyed the last quarter of the book, which is perhaps even more frustrating because there was a story here, but it took forever to materialise. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pauline Beauchamp

    Hi. I was lucky to receive a copy of this book from the author. I was expecting more action than was in this book. It was more of an introduction of the characters than anything. But I did enjoy the characters. I look forward to reading the second book to see what comes next - will there be more action?? Pauline B.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jae

    A 6.5/10 for me. This is a book about a young princess; the youngest of the three daughters of the emperor; having to ascend to the throne despite her not wanting to do so. Alas with the loss of both the emperor and the empress, she is called to do her duty, yet her heart tells her that her father is not dead. With these conflicted thoughts we follow Mairynne in this political fantasy world. I have mixed thoughts on this book. I did not particularly enjoy the prologue and i did not like the writi A 6.5/10 for me. This is a book about a young princess; the youngest of the three daughters of the emperor; having to ascend to the throne despite her not wanting to do so. Alas with the loss of both the emperor and the empress, she is called to do her duty, yet her heart tells her that her father is not dead. With these conflicted thoughts we follow Mairynne in this political fantasy world. I have mixed thoughts on this book. I did not particularly enjoy the prologue and i did not like the writing style either. That was; until the main story started. The narrative changed from third person perspective to first person perspective and something just clicked with me. I suddenly found the writing genuinely beautiful and it fit so well with the first person pov. ON TOP OF THAT the voice of the main character felt really unique and it was SO atmospheric in the sense i absolutely loved reading from her perspective. As for the world building i loved learning about the Cloud Court and the caste system and i just wanted more; the setting kept me fascinated throughout the book and you can tell the author purposefully dropped different aspects of the world throughout the journey of this story instead of info dumping all at the start, which i really appreciated. That said, the politicking was very subtle, there weren’t plots and twists and the plot of the book felt weak compared to how great the worldbuilding was that I didn’t care for the politicking. In simple words, i could even say that not a lot happened in this book, it felt more like a setup than a complete story, but weirdly, at least for me, it worked. The characters all were unique and we see glimpses of their personalities and personas, but very few of them were truly fleshed out. Im still hoping further down the series we get to understand more of the side characters because all in all i enjoyed reading this book, at the end i’m yearning to know more about this world and characters and i would recommend this book to people yearning to meet a new world! Thank you to Bronzewood Books and NetGalley for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan Stradiotto

    It's my birthday, so I revealed the cover of the first book in the Serpentine Throne series along with the world map and the cover of a companion novella: Into the Evernight. Check out all three below! Here's the cover for Into the Evernight (not on Goodreads yet, but coming soon): And here's my favorite part, the map! Who doesn't love a good map? Coming April 19, 2021 It's my birthday, so I revealed the cover of the first book in the Serpentine Throne series along with the world map and the cover of a companion novella: Into the Evernight. Check out all three below! Here's the cover for Into the Evernight (not on Goodreads yet, but coming soon): And here's my favorite part, the map! Who doesn't love a good map? Coming April 19, 2021

  8. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Bingham

    Upon the death of her mother and the disappearance of her father, Mairynne Evangale is set to become the next Empress of Nantai. However, she does not feel set for the role. Along with her fears she is not prepared to be Empress so soon, she believes her father is still alive. In the first book in the Serpentine Throne series, Stradiotto sets up Mairynne’s story. One of the first things I realized when I began reading this book, was that the story was a compelling one. While the plot is slightly Upon the death of her mother and the disappearance of her father, Mairynne Evangale is set to become the next Empress of Nantai. However, she does not feel set for the role. Along with her fears she is not prepared to be Empress so soon, she believes her father is still alive. In the first book in the Serpentine Throne series, Stradiotto sets up Mairynne’s story. One of the first things I realized when I began reading this book, was that the story was a compelling one. While the plot is slightly predictable, the development of likable characters keeps the reader engaged. Additionally, the pace of the story is steady, meaning there are no points where I felt myself lagging in reading. I felt the different plot points and conflict items were well placed to keep you from falling off the story. When it comes to world building, Stradiotto does well in introducing terminology in a way that isn’t overwhelming. However, I did find myself wondering more about certain elements of the world. There is a caste system, but how does it work? They have magic, but what are the rules around use? Does everyone have magic, or is it caste based? I feel like these questions go unanswered in the sense that Stradiotto expects the reader to already know. My hope is that these points will be addressed later in the series. Overall, I found Call of the Storm Sorcerer to be a compelling read. I would suggest that others pick it up if they want an easy and enjoyable read, with magical elements and a little bit of mystery.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the author. The concepts in the prologue grabbed me right from the beginning, with good character development and an interesting relationship between humans and dragons. Stories about dragons have been done many times, with the books of Robin Hobb being my personal favorites. However, the story of this book certainly grabbed my attention right from the beginning. There were a lot of twists and turns in the story, and I will not reveal the plot I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the author. The concepts in the prologue grabbed me right from the beginning, with good character development and an interesting relationship between humans and dragons. Stories about dragons have been done many times, with the books of Robin Hobb being my personal favorites. However, the story of this book certainly grabbed my attention right from the beginning. There were a lot of twists and turns in the story, and I will not reveal the plot here to avoid spoilers. I will say that it will take some patience to follow the story because it is as twisted as it is. I found the twists and turns interesting enough to read the story through pretty quickly. I did have some quibbling with some of the editing, with the issues being word order, word choice, and places where I would subtract or add words. However, these speed bumps were minor and did not stop me from reading it through. As previously stated, I did receive a free Advanced Readers Copy of this book, but there was no quid pro quo arrangement regarding the review. I would recommend this book to readers of epic fantasy who are patient readers. I am considering buying the sequel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristjan

    I had a hard time connecting with this story. It throws out a lot of unexplained concepts and ideas all at once; which I normally like, but that is because they are usually easy to figure out in context or they help to advance the plot. I didn't feel like that was the case here, so even when I was 75% through the book, I was still confused on several of these. It made it easy to walk away from the story and not pick it up again for days. That said, the world seemed to be fairly interesting even I had a hard time connecting with this story. It throws out a lot of unexplained concepts and ideas all at once; which I normally like, but that is because they are usually easy to figure out in context or they help to advance the plot. I didn't feel like that was the case here, so even when I was 75% through the book, I was still confused on several of these. It made it easy to walk away from the story and not pick it up again for days. That said, the world seemed to be fairly interesting even if it was frustrating to understand. That would not have been as bad, except that the story was SLOW. The main plot seemed to be a will she or won't she "thriller" as the main character tries to figure out if she will ascend to her father's throne before knowing if he is actually dead yet. I was never sure who the antagonists were, even after finishing it ... and that made it harder to keep going. I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. #TheSerpentineThrone #NetGalley

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amba Kumar

    There is alot to like about this book. There are lots of interesting fantasy tropes - the reluctant heir the lost parent, the star crossed lovers, uncertain loyalties, murder, magic and a fantasy Japanese setting that all make for a really strong start to the story. However it is let down by the oddly wooden language and the characters never quite seem to jump off the page with any passion or energy. The similarity of the court names doesn't help with the overall feeling of blandness. There is m There is alot to like about this book. There are lots of interesting fantasy tropes - the reluctant heir the lost parent, the star crossed lovers, uncertain loyalties, murder, magic and a fantasy Japanese setting that all make for a really strong start to the story. However it is let down by the oddly wooden language and the characters never quite seem to jump off the page with any passion or energy. The similarity of the court names doesn't help with the overall feeling of blandness. There is much to enjoy and much to be intrigued with in this fantasy - maybe the next installment will add a bit more seasoning.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Etta

    Call of the Story Sorcerer is the first novel in the Serpentine Throne series. There is a nice mix of magic and mystery in this story and I feel this series has amazing potential. This novel is a lot shorter than most others of the same genre and does a great job setting up the plot and an introduction to the characters that will play a role in the future novels. I did walk away still a little confused about the world-building with the castes and magic, but I figured this could be intentiona Call of the Story Sorcerer is the first novel in the Serpentine Throne series. There is a nice mix of magic and mystery in this story and I feel this series has amazing potential. This novel is a lot shorter than most others of the same genre and does a great job setting up the plot and an introduction to the characters that will play a role in the future novels. I did walk away still a little confused about the world-building with the castes and magic, but I figured this could be intentional and the missing pieces would be filled in during the later novels. Even with some unanswered questions, the story is easy enough to understand and enjoy. Mairynne Evangale is a princess of the Konō (an emperor of Nantai) and the youngest of three sisters. After her mother died, her father disappeared soon after. Although she is not the oldest, laws in Nantai allow for the ruler to designate their successors and Mairynne was deemed the next in line. The main part of the story begins with her preparing to ascend the throne. Not only does she not feel ready to rule, she also does not want to take the throne away from her father as she believes that he is still alive. She struggles with the expectations for her to quickly ascend the throne and her belief that there is no need to take the throne if her father is still alive to rightfully claim it. This story involves some star-crossed lovers, although it doesn’t explore this part of the story in detail. I am hopeful that this storyline gets more depth and detail in the next novel in the series. Thalaj is the first guard and as someone not from the upper classes, he cannot be with the princess (soon to be Konō). While it is obvious that the two of them like each other, I did not feel connected to their angst as it was more or less told to me compared to me seeing it play out on the page. Again, I am hopeful that Thalaj’s character will be explained more as he was there and I felt he had potential, but I just did not feel connected to him. I think as part of the entire series, the pacing makes sense, but just based on this novel alone, it is very slow. I got through over halfway before it felt like anything happened and I was finally drawn into the story. It was an interesting contrast to the intense opening prologue where there is a sense of urgency with the historical moments. The opener drops the reader right in the middle of the action without context and the reader gets to try and put the pieces together. It felt like a movie, in a way, where it starts right away, then the credits, and then the story resets to take you to the main story where the opener will be tied in later. Overall, this is a captivating read as the reader moves through the world-building and character introductions to get to the story. I will admit that I had some difficulty keeping the characters straight in my head as there were a lot of them. However, the important ones appear multiple times and soon the reader figures out which ones to focus on. The terminology used is also a little overwhelming as the reader typically needs to piece it together in context rather than exposition. Depending on the reader’s style, this could be determined either a positive or a negative. For me, I did not mind it, but it did require more thinking on my part than I thought I would need to do. Once the plot picked up, then I did not care whether I fully understood every detail and instead became anxious for the adventure to begin. I am very curious to see what happens in the next novel as this one showed potential for a fantastic series! [3.25 rating] **I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Bronzewood Books, for a review copy of this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

  13. 4 out of 5

    FS Meurinne

    This book is the first on The Serpentine Throne series, the story took me a bit to get into it, but there is a lot of things going on and twists and turns to keep you engaged. I love dragon stories, this one was good but the way it's written could be improved. I would've liked it more if it was longer. Mariynne is an interesting character, there is a side of magic to the story that I felt it flat in this book, but probably will get more into in the next ones, the ending kind of felt rushed, more This book is the first on The Serpentine Throne series, the story took me a bit to get into it, but there is a lot of things going on and twists and turns to keep you engaged. I love dragon stories, this one was good but the way it's written could be improved. I would've liked it more if it was longer. Mariynne is an interesting character, there is a side of magic to the story that I felt it flat in this book, but probably will get more into in the next ones, the ending kind of felt rushed, more like a prequel of sorts to what is about to come maybe. Overall let's see how the next one goes. Blog |BookBub | Amazon |Audible |Instagram |Twitter |Facebook |TikTok |YouTube |Pinterest |Tumblr |Bookstore

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dena Rose

    I wanted to give it a 3.5 but I suppose 4 stars is close enough... This book is very fast paced and exciting which means that I was drawn in right from the beginning. Characters: Mairynne is basic, but still unique which was very refreshing. So many YA protagonists sound the same, and have the same goals/character arcs and I liked that she stayed true to her beliefs. Kind of confused about some of her reasoning's and some of the side characters stories (they felt a little 2D) but over all it was I wanted to give it a 3.5 but I suppose 4 stars is close enough... This book is very fast paced and exciting which means that I was drawn in right from the beginning. Characters: Mairynne is basic, but still unique which was very refreshing. So many YA protagonists sound the same, and have the same goals/character arcs and I liked that she stayed true to her beliefs. Kind of confused about some of her reasoning's and some of the side characters stories (they felt a little 2D) but over all it was pretty good. The romance was not exactly developed, it felt forced. I think that Thalaj and her needed more time together, and honestly a good friendship (not just mentioned but displayed). Plot: I like how it wasn't exactly a typical YA plot, but it still managed to be cliché. Not that I don't like cliché tropes, I definitely do, but I think there could have been more development of side plots and stronger character arcs (for everybody but Mairynne). It was a very quick read which is partly good partly bad (felt very rushed, I wish the tension was played up more). Writing: Honestly I loved the world building. Susan Stradiotto may miss a few things and over complicate other things, but all in all the world is pretty fleshed out and interesting. However, there are aspects that could be deeper. Yes, explain the caste system, tell us how you want to change it, but play up the plots and twists as you do so. I was looking for some good political problems and although the main issue (Mairynne taking the throne) is well done, it just doesn't have the right amount of backstabbing, coups and other political drama for me. All in all, I liked the book, but I wanted more from it. There could have been more detail, more action, more cliffhangers, but even as it is now I really want to read the next one, so maybe there is enough suspense after all! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Cunningham

    Thank you to NetGalley and Bronzewood Books for an ARC in return for an honest review. I enjoyed this book, but was frustrated with how short it was. I felt like I was just getting to grips with the multitude of characters, the language used and the roles everyone played, and then it was over! Mariynne was an interesting main character. Burdened with the role of empress at a young age after her mother is killed and her father is missing, she has literally the whole world on her shoulders. I enjo Thank you to NetGalley and Bronzewood Books for an ARC in return for an honest review. I enjoyed this book, but was frustrated with how short it was. I felt like I was just getting to grips with the multitude of characters, the language used and the roles everyone played, and then it was over! Mariynne was an interesting main character. Burdened with the role of empress at a young age after her mother is killed and her father is missing, she has literally the whole world on her shoulders. I enjoyed seeing her relationships with others, but do fear that some of her closest confidants could be working against her in future books! I didn’t quite understand the magic or world building involved, however I did appreciate that information about it was fed in little pieces that meant something to the story, instead of a big obvious explanation at the beginning that feels clunky. I’m intrigued to know more about it. The first part of the book I wasn’t too keen on - the prologue was very dark and something just wasn’t working for me. But once we hit the main story, I found it to be riveting. For such a short book, the pace was a little slow, with most of the book spent deliberating on choices that have little payoff in this particular book. Overall, I’d be interested in reading the next book to see where the story goes. I rated it slightly lower than I think it deserves, just because I had high expectations for it and it just felt like a long set-up for the rest of the series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Cunningham

    Thank you to NetGalley and Bronzewood Books for an ARC in return for an honest review. I enjoyed this book, but was frustrated with how short it was. I felt like I was just getting to grips with the multitude of characters, the language used and the roles everyone played, and then it was over! Mariynne was an interesting main character. Burdened with the role of empress at a young age after her mother is killed and her father is missing, she has literally the whole world on her shoulders. I enjo Thank you to NetGalley and Bronzewood Books for an ARC in return for an honest review. I enjoyed this book, but was frustrated with how short it was. I felt like I was just getting to grips with the multitude of characters, the language used and the roles everyone played, and then it was over! Mariynne was an interesting main character. Burdened with the role of empress at a young age after her mother is killed and her father is missing, she has literally the whole world on her shoulders. I enjoyed seeing her relationships with others, but do fear that some of her closest confidants could be working against her in future books! I didn’t quite understand the magic or world building involved, however I did appreciate that information about it was fed in little pieces that meant something to the story, instead of a big obvious explanation at the beginning that feels clunky. I’m intrigued to know more about it. The first part of the book I wasn’t too keen on - the prologue was very dark and something just wasn’t working for me. But once we hit the main story, I found it to be riveting. For such a short book, the pace was a little slow, with most of the book spent deliberating on choices that have little payoff in this particular book. Overall, I’d be interested in reading the next book to see where the story goes. I rated it slightly lower than I think it deserves, just because I had high expectations for it and it just felt like a long set-up for the rest of the series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    In a country reeling from the loss of both its Empress and Emperor, Mairynne struggles with the fact that she will succeed them both as Empress. Despite what others have told her, she does not truly believe that her father is dead. She is determined to do her duty to her country while also hoping to find out the truth of her father's whereabouts. I really struggled through this book. The world that Stradiotto builds throughout the story was intriguing, but the book itself was difficult to read. In a country reeling from the loss of both its Empress and Emperor, Mairynne struggles with the fact that she will succeed them both as Empress. Despite what others have told her, she does not truly believe that her father is dead. She is determined to do her duty to her country while also hoping to find out the truth of her father's whereabouts. I really struggled through this book. The world that Stradiotto builds throughout the story was intriguing, but the book itself was difficult to read. My main issue was that the dialogue seemed stiff at times and didn't flow well. There are a lot of words that are unique to this universe, but I had a hard time figuring out what they meant. In terms of the characters, I liked Mairynne overall, but never felt like I connected with the other characters. It's helpful to know that this book is the first book in a series because there was not a lot of action that happened. I kept waiting for things to pick up, but beyond a few interesting points here and there, the pace was quite slow. There's enough setup that the series seems promising, so I'm hopeful that the plot will continue to develop and the world will be fleshed out more as the story continues. Thank you to Susan Stradiotto, Bronzewood Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I found this hard to get into, at first, and ended up waiting a week before trying again. I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed it. Going into this book, I don’t know what I expected. After the prologue, I was even less sure. The world which this novel is set in is complex, with many mysteries. (why do so many people have names ending in ynne/yn?) From dragon bonds to storm sorcerers, I don’t think anyone could get bored reading about I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I found this hard to get into, at first, and ended up waiting a week before trying again. I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed it. Going into this book, I don’t know what I expected. After the prologue, I was even less sure. The world which this novel is set in is complex, with many mysteries. (why do so many people have names ending in ynne/yn?) From dragon bonds to storm sorcerers, I don’t think anyone could get bored reading about this realm. I love that there’s a compilation of characters at the ending of this book, but I do find myself wondering - could some unfamiliar words (ie, gnobles) be included in this, making it a glossary? Mairynne began as a character who felt strange to me - especially as the third child, yet the one who would inherit the throne. Obviously, royalty works differently in Nantai. This book, overall, had the feel of a prequel. So much time was spent considering what actions Mairynne would take, that when she actually took them, the book had reached its end. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find this frustrating, but it’d be the same if I claimed that the ending didn’t feel... right.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ilona Nurmela

    This high fantasy novel reminded me of The House of Flying Daggers movie minus the fight scenes. Even though she is the third and youngest daughter, Mairynne is about to ascend to the Serpentine Throne as empress, but she has a mystery to solve and her father, the Emperor, to find. I loved Mairynne and her rebel steadfast nature as well as her unlikely romance with Thalaj and especially how they teased each other. At some point the book becomes almost a thriller, when someone targets Mairynne's This high fantasy novel reminded me of The House of Flying Daggers movie minus the fight scenes. Even though she is the third and youngest daughter, Mairynne is about to ascend to the Serpentine Throne as empress, but she has a mystery to solve and her father, the Emperor, to find. I loved Mairynne and her rebel steadfast nature as well as her unlikely romance with Thalaj and especially how they teased each other. At some point the book becomes almost a thriller, when someone targets Mairynne's nearest and dearest. I had my suspicions, but I have a feeling not everything is as it seems and all will be revealed in the next book(s). This book has Stradiotto's signature world building, which is simply amazing! The names of the castes (Storm Sorcerer, Frost Fighter, etc.) alone are fab! And I can't wait to see whether the Kuroi dragons will make a reappearance. Recommended for lovers of YA high fantasy, Oriental dress and court traditions, coming of age stories and strong heroines that face interesting odds. 4/5 because it's not my typical genre and I felt that I should have read some other book in the series as a backstory.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Reyes

    I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I just want to say, I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn’t. This has some truly slow pacing, and is overly descriptive. The prologue was confusing but interesting, and then the start of the book was clearer, but lacking in energy and action. The first bit of action that seemed like it would move the plot was at 25%, but it was off screen and not addressed with any urgency. I enjoy a good political thriller, but th I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I just want to say, I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn’t. This has some truly slow pacing, and is overly descriptive. The prologue was confusing but interesting, and then the start of the book was clearer, but lacking in energy and action. The first bit of action that seemed like it would move the plot was at 25%, but it was off screen and not addressed with any urgency. I enjoy a good political thriller, but there wasn’t something the dialogue seemed to be driving towards right away. I almost stopped reading at 24%, because up to that point, there was mostly sadness at missing her parents, skirmishes with her sisters, and general shaking of fists to the sky with a “why me?” bent as she is expected to inherit the throne. If she was a little more interesting or there were a little more conflict earlier in the book that helps to drive the plot, this would be a more engaging book for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    This is a political story. The prologue lets us follow the first emperor of Nantai as he prepares to be separated from the Rui dragon that lives inside him. The description of the process is very reminiscent of certain medieval tortures. This had me all prepared to follow along on the action that would follow such a thing, but then it jumps many years into the future to follow the ascension of Mairynne to Empress after her mother's death and her fathers disappearance. Mairynne however is convinc This is a political story. The prologue lets us follow the first emperor of Nantai as he prepares to be separated from the Rui dragon that lives inside him. The description of the process is very reminiscent of certain medieval tortures. This had me all prepared to follow along on the action that would follow such a thing, but then it jumps many years into the future to follow the ascension of Mairynne to Empress after her mother's death and her fathers disappearance. Mairynne however is convinced that her father still lives and doesn't want to take the throne. If you like almost entirely political stories, this one is for you, though based on the ending I imagine the rest of the series will have more action if that's what you crave as well. I received this as an ARC through NetGalley and Bronzewood Books

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sky Sommers

    High fantasy with murder mystery twists. Mairynne, the youngest daughter is picked by her father to ascend to the Serpentine Throne as empress. She is reluctant as she believes her vanished father to be alive. While someone keeps bumping off her nearest and dearest to eliminate some choices for her, the girl has a healthy knack for surviving. And trusting the right people. I loved the amazing world building, loved the Asian names, am intrigued by the screeching sound and secretly hope the Kuroi High fantasy with murder mystery twists. Mairynne, the youngest daughter is picked by her father to ascend to the Serpentine Throne as empress. She is reluctant as she believes her vanished father to be alive. While someone keeps bumping off her nearest and dearest to eliminate some choices for her, the girl has a healthy knack for surviving. And trusting the right people. I loved the amazing world building, loved the Asian names, am intrigued by the screeching sound and secretly hope the Kuroi dragons will make their reappearance. Recommended for lovers of high fantasy, clean and sweet YA coming of age stories and clever heroines that face interesting choices. 4/5 because it's not my typical genre.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michele Skaggs

    I loved this storyline! I saw it had some negative reviews, and I think it could be because it was a little hard to get into for me in the beginning. I found myself a bit confused and overwhelmed at all the information piled into the beginning. I couldn’t keep track of all the characters at first, but as the story progressed, it became so much smoother—flowed better. Of course, that is my own personal opinion. I already have read the first chapter in the second book, due to getting a copy via Ne I loved this storyline! I saw it had some negative reviews, and I think it could be because it was a little hard to get into for me in the beginning. I found myself a bit confused and overwhelmed at all the information piled into the beginning. I couldn’t keep track of all the characters at first, but as the story progressed, it became so much smoother—flowed better. Of course, that is my own personal opinion. I already have read the first chapter in the second book, due to getting a copy via NetGalley for an honest review, and let me just say, I know the second book will be just as good possibly even better! I’m really excited to read this entire series and find out what happens. The descriptive words throughout the novel are beautiful, and I love all the magic.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Asrar Lydia

    I got a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I felt like this book had a lot of potential, but it sadly didn’t reach all of it. I enjoyed the world building a lot, but it was a bit unstructured in my opinion - I got confused and had a hard time keeping track of the caste system and what was what a lot of times. I liked the characters, but I had a hard time connecting to them. I felt like we didn’t get to actually get to know them and care about them, but merely got to read abo I got a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I felt like this book had a lot of potential, but it sadly didn’t reach all of it. I enjoyed the world building a lot, but it was a bit unstructured in my opinion - I got confused and had a hard time keeping track of the caste system and what was what a lot of times. I liked the characters, but I had a hard time connecting to them. I felt like we didn’t get to actually get to know them and care about them, but merely got to read about them objectively. The story was a bit confusing and rushed, but overall the writing was okay!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Reece

    ARC from NetGalley Eh. This book was another "not awful but not good." I almost gave up on it in the beginning because I've been working a lot these days and don't have much time for books that don't spark my interest, but my stupid work ethic tends to cross paths with my book reviewing, and I feel guilty if I say I'll review something and give up on it unless it truly sucks. The writing in this book is really stilted. I couldn't get into the story. I couldn't connect with the characters. The who ARC from NetGalley Eh. This book was another "not awful but not good." I almost gave up on it in the beginning because I've been working a lot these days and don't have much time for books that don't spark my interest, but my stupid work ethic tends to cross paths with my book reviewing, and I feel guilty if I say I'll review something and give up on it unless it truly sucks. The writing in this book is really stilted. I couldn't get into the story. I couldn't connect with the characters. The whole anglo-japanese angle was just weird to read. Honestly, I don't really remember much else about this book even though I finished it quite recently, which I suppose speaks volumes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Unfortunately, I had to DNF this title. An act I don't make a habit of doing. The synopsis was intriguing, and I do love the concept, which is why I'm giving it an extra star, but I couldn't connect with story. The opening prologue was very good and peaked my interest, however it fell flat for me after that. To put it simply, I just couldn't find something or someone to connect with to pull me into the story. I may try to read this again sometime in the future, but for now it's a not clicking fo Unfortunately, I had to DNF this title. An act I don't make a habit of doing. The synopsis was intriguing, and I do love the concept, which is why I'm giving it an extra star, but I couldn't connect with story. The opening prologue was very good and peaked my interest, however it fell flat for me after that. To put it simply, I just couldn't find something or someone to connect with to pull me into the story. I may try to read this again sometime in the future, but for now it's a not clicking for me. DNF at 21%. *I received this title as a free advance digital copy and this does not influence my review or opinion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Unfortunately, I had to DNF this title. An act I don't make a habit of doing. The synopsis was intriguing, and I do love the concept, which is why I'm giving it an extra star, but I couldn't connect with story. The opening prologue was very good and peaked my interest, however it fell flat for me after that. To put it simply, I just couldn't find something or someone to connect with to pull me into the story. I may try to read this again sometime in the future, but for now it's a not clicking fo Unfortunately, I had to DNF this title. An act I don't make a habit of doing. The synopsis was intriguing, and I do love the concept, which is why I'm giving it an extra star, but I couldn't connect with story. The opening prologue was very good and peaked my interest, however it fell flat for me after that. To put it simply, I just couldn't find something or someone to connect with to pull me into the story. I may try to read this again sometime in the future, but for now it's a not clicking for me. DNF at 21%. *I received this title as a free advance digital copy and this does not influence my review or opinion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lane Schmiesing

    Talk about world building at its finest. Susan Stradiotto has not only built an entire Game-of-Thrones like universe, but like GOT, has promised me a full-blown series of five books where I can continue the journey and continued to be swept away. I thoroughly enjoyed the intelligent build of this first installment. It’s beautifully written and hits all the notes of what I would expect from fantasy, saga, and romance. Set in Nantai, a land with kings and queens and dragons—heroes, villains, sorcer Talk about world building at its finest. Susan Stradiotto has not only built an entire Game-of-Thrones like universe, but like GOT, has promised me a full-blown series of five books where I can continue the journey and continued to be swept away. I thoroughly enjoyed the intelligent build of this first installment. It’s beautifully written and hits all the notes of what I would expect from fantasy, saga, and romance. Set in Nantai, a land with kings and queens and dragons—heroes, villains, sorcery and adventure await. A well-developed must read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    A murdered empress. A missing emperor. Mairynne Evangale called them Mother, Father. Where is her father ,will he ever be found. Mairynne has two soul stones from her parents will that help her to survive. The country is in conflict worse than ever in the last 5 years. Lots of action ,magic and great characters. Cannot wait for next book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Riley Wang

    Hi! You might want to publish this in a mobile app so a lot of readers can see your lovely work. Check on the NovelStar app and see how other writers earn by pursuing their passion in writing. You can also check out their Facebook page to meet other writers.

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