There are some authors who manage to draw you in, no matter what sort of adventures they take you on. Allegra Pescatore and E. Sands are those authors. Every book I’ve read in the Ao Collective-verse is enthralling, fascinating, full of diversity that feels real, and characters that will tug at your heartstrings, no matter how villainous.
1. Thoughts on the plot
This book takes place on Fortune, a world that depends on the salt from the Salt Spire, claimed and managed by the Corporation. Those with Marks have magic that could change the world, but they, too, are controlled by the Corporation. All but a few, that is. And those few are being gathered together by an ancient Marked madman to destroy the Spire. Pirates, magic, romance, and more abounds in a book where drama is the baseline.
Okay, this plot is, generally speaking, a heist novel that takes place in a fantasy world. Only, it’s so much more complex than that. It has people trying to figure out what is right for the world, people just trying to eke out a living, plots from gods and humans and madmen (and women) alike. Just when you think you’ve got a good grasp on things, there’s a twist, a tweak, a nudge in a different direction. This book is also dark. It delves into some very deep places, but I really like that it also gives the characters a chance at facing their fears and recovering from the trauma. Also, Moe. Just…Moe.
2. Thoughts on the characters
There are several primary characters in this book: Lani, Kuma, Salome, Vera, Torin, and Moe (Moe!) and I like the chance to explore each and every one. I think it really lends them a sense of depth, looking at the centre plot from the various narrow and flawed perspectives. This is not something that is easily managed in books with multiple POVs, but this book definitely pulls it off.
I think Vera and Lani are my favourites, just because they get a chance to embrace their inner darkness without necessarily becoming evil. I really appreciate that, as it is a fine line and not easy to pull off. Torin is also a fascinating character, simply because of his counterpoints. And that twist at the end? I can’t say I was surprised, but I was definitely seriously shocked, if that makes sense.
3. Favourite part
The end, where all the pieces come together and we figure out just what happened at the Spire, which has been hinted at since the beginning. I love watching things come together like that.
IT ENDED! No, really, that’s the only critique I have. I really liked this book and I was seriously bummed when the story ended. I have a feeling there will be more, just based on the way some of the plot points terminated, but I can’t say for certain. Most definitely this book intertwines with other books about the Ao Collective, which I really enjoy.
Overall, I would say that NACL: Eye of the Storm is a great fantasy adventure with pirates, a heist (of sorts), magic, romance, darkness, grit, and an array of humanity. An excellent book.