Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray
Date of publication: March 6th, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Series: Blood and Gold
The Crown of Rowan – Book 0.5
Daughters of the Storm – Book 1
Sisters of the Fire – Book 2
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
Five very different sisters team up against their stepbrother to save their kingdom in this Norse-flavored fantasy epic–the start of a new series in the tradition of Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, and Robin Hobb.
FIVE ROYAL SISTERS. ONE CROWN.
They are the daughters of a king. Though they share the same royal blood, they could not be more different. Bluebell is a proud warrior, stronger than any man and with an ironclad heart to match. Rose’s heart is all too passionate: She is the queen of a neighboring kingdom, who is risking everything for a forbidden love. The twins: vain Ivy, who lives for admiration, and zealous Willow, who lives for the gods. And Ash, who is discovering a dangerous talent for magic that might be a gift–or a curse.
But when their father is stricken by a mysterious ailment, they must come together on a desperate journey to save him and prevent their treacherous stepbrother from seizing the throne. Their mission: find the powerful witch who can cure the king. But to succeed on their quest, they must overcome their differences, and hope that the secrets they hide from one another and the world are never brought to light. Because if this royal family breaks, it could destroy the kingdom.
Trigger Warning: None
I am a huge Robin Hobb fan and when I saw that this book was compared to her works, my interest was caught. Then, after reading the blurb, I was even more interested in it. A book that had Norse mythology elements and has strong female characters. Sign me up. I am glad that I requested this book. The plotlines were engaging and kept me hooked on the book. It was also fast-paced. I was left breathless while reading most of the book.
Daughters of the Storm had a few plotlines that all were intertwined early in the book. The main storyline was the rush to find a cure for the daughters’ father who became ill. Bluebell and her sisters take a dangerous journey to find the aunt who used undermagic. That magic is the only way to save their father. It is the only way to find out who was behind their father becoming ill.
While that is going on, each character is introduced. First is Bluebell. She is the eldest, the next in line to the throne. She has one weakness, the blind and simple-minded son of her best friend who died. Rose is the next one who is introduced. She is married, with a 3-year-old daughter and a secret that could kill her if her husband ever found out. Ash is the next one introduced. Ash realizes that her magic is stronger than those who are teaching her. She also realizes, to her horror, that she can use undermagic. Right before Bluebell summons her, Ash has a horrifying vision. A vision that involves herself, a dragon and the death of millions of people. The last daughters to be introduced are Ivy and Willow. Ivy needs to be accepted by men and she will use her body and looks to get what she wants. A silly, vain girl, she betrays the one person who has always been there for her. All because she was jealous. Willow is a religious nut who hears angels. Those voices get stronger and more vocal the more time she spends with her sick father. They also drive her to harbor a person who Bluebell would have killed if she found out.
I thought that Bluebell was a bit of a bully in the beginning of the book. She went from a bully to a person who cared about her sisters and looked out for them the best way she knew how. Which was by controlling them and their actions. The only time I even saw her be a bit soft was with Eni, the son of her lover Sabert, or with Rowan, her niece and heir. Other than that, she was tough as nails. She also hated her stepmother, Gudrun and her stepbrother, Wylm. That hatred was not unfounded when Bluebell found out who and what caused her father to become ill.
I did like Rose but after getting to know her character, I thought she was a fool. I actually agreed with Bluebell when Bluebell gave her a few hard truths about herself. She wanted to be a mother, became one and found it too hard. Not that she didn’t love Rowan, she did, but she couldn’t deal with her. She also loved Heath….or so she thought she did. She was willing to risk her husband’s wrath to be with him. She went against what Bluebell told her and pursued him. What I didn’t get was why she was so upset when he had no connection with Rowan. He didn’t know about her until the trip and she expected instaconnection?
Out of all the sisters, Ash was my favorite. She could deal with Bluebell’s intensity with a grace that I wish I had. I did feel bad for her when her Becoming was revealed. I couldn’t even imagine knowing not only how I was going to die. But also that I was going to take out millions of people. No wonder she was so keen on getting away from her sisters as soon as possible. I was interested in the man she decided to train with. Again, I was taken by surprise at not only who he was but what. Another small twist that made me enjoy reading the book.
If I had to dislike someone from the book, it was Ivy. She was very manipulative and very vain. She caused chaos no matter where she went. I did think that she would hook up with Heath. But when she saw Heath and Rose doing the dirty, she was mad. She decided to go with Rowan back to her father. What she did there was unforgivable. All I have to say is that she did get what she deserved.
If I disliked Ivy, I felt pity for Willow. She didn’t come into my radar until she was left alone with Rose to care for her father. Then it seemed like the voices got more of a grip on her. It didn’t help that Wylm saw that and capitalized on it. She did surprise me towards the end of the book with what she did. But she only did it because the angels told her to.
I do have to add Wylm in here because he was such a dirtbag. He caused so much harm the first half of the book. But, he did try to rectify it when he took Eni with him after killing Sabert. He protected Eni with everything in his power until he delivered him to Bluebell’s camp. Then he reverted back to his evil ways. I didn’t like that. I thought that the author could have gone a different direction with this character. Reformed dirtbag. But, then again, with what I know about the very ending, I understand why the author chose that route for him.
I was a little put off by the violence in the book, I could understand why the author chose to make this world so violent. This is a medieval society that used its army very often. Bluebell was the head of the army and she ran it very well. Violence to her was second nature. She thought nothing of killing someone if they even omitted a threat. That did make the book for me even if I was a little grossed out by it. So, a warning. If you don’t like somewhat graphic violent fight scenes, then skip this book.
There is sex in this book. It is not graphic but it is there. Also, there is voyeurism. Ivy watches Rose and Heath have sex. Willow remembers watching Ivy and a boy have sex in the same room as her. Willow and someone (not giving this away!!) have sex because the angels told her too for reasons I am not going to give away. The scenes are not graphic. They are more matter of fact and are incorporated into the storylines. If you don’t like sex scenes or flashback to sex scenes than skip this book. If not, they add an extra depth to the book. They also make you understand the character’s relationships better.
The end of the book was wild. While the main storyline was resolved, all the other ones were not. Which made me very keen to read book 2. I loved the epilogue. While I knew who it was, the delight of the other person was almost too much. Again, that makes me want to read book 2 because I need to know where that goes.
I would give Daughters of the Storm an Adult rating. There is violence, language, and sex. While the sex is not graphic, I do not think that it would be proper for anyone under the age of 20. The violence also factored into my rating. There are some graphic scenes of violence. This is a book that I will recommend to family and friends. I would give a warning about the sex and violence since I have friends and family that do not like that in books. I also plan on rereading this book!!
I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Del Ray and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Daughters of the Storm.
All opinions stated in this review of Daughters of the Storm are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**