A HUGE thank you to Tor Teen for giving me a free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
If you haven’t read Dark of the West, the first book in the series, there might be some *spoilers* in this review regarding previous events.
All quotes are taken from the ARC and may change in the finished copy.
Title: Storm from the East (Glass Alliance #2)
Author: Joanna Hathaway
Publisher: Tor Teen
Expected release date: February 11, 2020
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 496 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “War has begun, and the days of Athan’s and Aurelia’s secret, summer romance feel a world away. Led by Athan’s father, the revolutionary Safire have launched a secret assault upon the last royal kingdom in the South, hoping to depose the king and seize a powerful foothold on the continent. Athan proves a star pilot among their ranks, struggling to justify the violence his family has unleashed as he fights his way to the capital—where, unbeknownst to him, Aurelia has lived since the war’s onset. Determined to save the kingdom Athan has been ordered to destroy, she partners with a local journalist to inflame anti-Safire sentiment, all while learning this conflict might be far darker and more complex than she ever imagined.
When the two reunite at last, Athan longing to shake the nightmare of combat and Aurelia reeling from the discovery of a long-buried family truth come to light, they’ll find the shadow of war stretches well beyond the battlefield. Each of them longs to rekindle the love they once shared . . . but each has a secret they’re desperate to hide.”
“The truth won’t change…no matter how many lies we decorate it with.”
While I enjoyed the first book, I was afraid this book would suffer from the dreaded “second book syndrome.” Oh, let me tell you that’s not the case at all. So much happens in this book, it’s incredible. Another even more intriguing prologue to pull you into the story, and we start just a few months after the first book ended. Athan and Aurelia are separated, each holding onto to a secret they won’t dare let the other one know about. (To be honest one of my main frustrations lingered due to Athan not telling Ali who he truly is.) We have Ali taking a stance in the war and using not only her status as a princess but her wits and brains to do something to sway the tide. Athan, on the other hand, is under his father’s or older brother Arrin’s thumb quite often. We really seem him go through the motions and doing what he’s told and I don’t ever think it’s because he really wants to.
This book reads like a historical fiction novel, so if that’s not something you’re into, you may want to go into this with a bit of caution. Lots of talk about strategy and politics (which sometimes confused me) and some past hurts that are affecting the countries involved. There’s also a fair bit of exposition, and we see this the most in the different POVs of Athan and Ali. I think Athan does a far bit of telling while Ali does a lot of showing. There’s a good balance though.
What I enjoyed most about this book is everything becomes so much clearer in terms of who Sinora is, how she and General Dakar are connected, and a lot of their pasts are revealed toward the end of the book. While I did get some answers, I’m still left some questions, the main one being, “Why?” I feel like there’s a whole other third side to the story we don’t know about, and I have a feeling Ali is going to try her hardest to uncover that.
“We can use our words, not weapons, and perhaps, together, we can open eyes and write a better ending.”
While I do adore Ali and Athan, I think one of my favorite characters is Sinora. I wasn’t sure what to think of her in the first book, thought she was playing a game (and she certainly still is), but I see her a little better in this book. Sure, we get a skewed version of her through her daughter’s eyes, but it’s the last couple of chapters that really give you a sense of who she is and what she’s done to be where she is. Again, while I’m not certain the question of Why? answered, we’ll definitely be able to see how Sinora’s fate plays into the lives of those she was close with.
Ali and Athan still hold a bit of innocence, too. I really enjoyed the parts where they were together (even if all of them weren’t good), and the author does a great job with their interactions and making us really feel for the both of them despite the different worlds they come from. Ali was definitely justified in her anger toward Athan regarding a big secret. I think the two also take a step back and have a moment where they realize what exactly they’re getting themselves into and if they are in love with each other rather than the idea of each other.
Of all the people, I’m not quite sure what to make of Ali’s brother, Reni. Is he power hungry? Does he just want the symbol the crown will provide him? I don’t quite know. On a somewhat different note, I wish Ali had mentioned more of Violet. They’re supposed to be best friends, but when they have to go their separate ways, Ali doesn’t really think of her that much. Sure, she has a lot going on, but I thought it was a bit crass on her part.
I promise that you will love the new characters that come into this game as well.
“You can shout the truth until your voice is hoarse, but rarely will another soul listen until it strikes close to them.”
I absolutely love Hathaway’s writing style. It’s completely immersive and I think she’s a great storyteller. You are incredibly drawn into the story of these characters, their lives, and the fate of their world. It’s wonderful to be eager to return to a book once you set it down (and real life kicks in), and it’s great pick up right where you left off and not feel like you are fighting to remember what’s going on.
I eagerly away the third and final book in this series.
There’s still time to pre-order this book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, or IndieBound. You can also order signed and personalized copies from Red Ballon Bookshop! If you’ve already pre-ordered, you can submit your receipt for some goodies and a chance to win an annotated copy of Dark of the West. Check out the details here.