Sisters of the Storm Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 10/27/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

The Chosen are people born with two gifts. Their first gift is something that they have naturally mastered without the need to learn it. Their second gift is something they have a strong natural aptitude for, but they require instruction to realize their full potential. Three Chosen are born at once, which is extraordinary and dreaded.

Aleena Kurrin has a gift of a warrior, with a minor gift of a bard. As strong as she is, Aleena fears her natural ability to kill and this leads to rejection from most people and her own internal conflict. I find her self-deprecation injudicious at times, particularly when she gave herself up to a group of slave traders willingly. I was glad when she no longer felt remorse and accepted her destiny as a warrior, and that a warrior will kill.

Anlon is also a Chosen with the gift of a warrior. Contrary to Aleena, Anlon is more accepting of his gift and the fact that killing is expected. Then there’s the Chosen Baezha, a powerful sorceress. The prophecy affirms that “one would be taken, one would be exiled, and one would be driven mad.” Aleena and Anlon's rivalry is inevitable, and Baezha's role and fate is a mystery even to herself.

Overall, Triad (Sisters of the Storm, Book 1) by Guy Estes is a fantasy fiction where the world building is complex enough to interest fantasy fans without being overwhelming. The central characters are sufficiently fleshed out. Although there’s room for improvement, the prose is clear and the plot has depth.

Candice Burnett

This is a genre I'm normally not drawn to but I have to say that I was glad I did. This story was different than most novels I've read before but it was new and refreshing. The world building was unique and creative and I felt myself very drawn to the characters. It had well paced exciting action but it does take some time to get there. My only real bad critique is of the cover. I just think something else in the background and new text with the title would draw a larger audience.

Timothy Stead

Triad is essentially the story of Aleena Kurrin, a blacksmith's daughter born with a magical gift for mayhem. She cuts her teeth killing slavers who are, truth be told, carboard cutouts of evil. They are so unredeemed that they lack any semblance of character, and killing them seems a kindness to the plot and reader alike. It does seem to trouble Aleena, however. She agonises over her deeds enough to get herself into trouble and coming to terms with what she is - that is really the true start of this tale.

With the introduction of a second indomitable warrior, Anlon, the story picks up. Anlon faces similar problems and temptations to Aleena, but solves them in a different way, embracing the dark side, and it is the relationship between these two that gives Triad its strength. The story is essentially good versus evil, and evil is equated to weakness of character. The battles, and there are many, are rendered in a graphic manner with gouts of blood, splitting skulls and spilled entrails, though somehow there is a lack of feeling in them that reduced them to a mechanical account of slaughter.

The middle and end sections of the tale were stronger than the beginning. In the end I did want to find out what happened to the characters. Anlon and Aleena are flesh and blood enough to hold the reader's interest, though the whole books seemed overwritten to a greater or lesser extent.

This has all the hallmarks of a first book. It seems as though the writer was learning his trade as he went, and because of this the first hundred pages are a barrier of sorts between the reader and the story. It would be greatly improved if the author went back and rewrote them.

The numerous quotes that adorn the chapter headings do not serve the story. It's almost as though they are trying to persuade you that there is more to the story than the story, and there isn't. The morality of the tale is quite simplistic. The quotes are unnecessary.

There are a number of anachronistic phrases that jar - such as 'self-destruct mechanism', which frankly sounds more sci-fi than fantasy.

In summary I think this book will be enjoyed by some. The plot is strong and coherent, the leading characters are well conceived, but the supporting cast and the lack of eloquence in the writing rob it of the impact it might have had.

Tiffany Cherney

I was given this book for an honest review and greatly enjoyed it. Triad is the story that is almost a coming into one's own as much as a traditional hack and slash. The story follows Aleena, a young woman born with the magic gift to expertly fight and wield weapons, but struggles with the darker realities of this gift so much she becomes afraid of it. She does seem to come to a peace with it due to the extreme circumstances she is thrown in but never fully seems at ease. This becomes even more evident when she meets another with her gifts in the gladiatorial ring and sees how he deals with the same issues.

Aleena as well as the other characters are extremely well written and their struggles make them very much flesh and blood. Aleena is far from the typical heroine and has a loving family to fight for instead of the lack of parents completely. Despite the overwhelming moral lessons it is an enjoyable world and well fleshed out world. I'll definitely be keeping eye out for more of this author's work.

Scott Couturier

Triad by Guy Estes is martial fantasy at its most blood-drenched and introspective. If you desire incredibly eloquent scenes of blood and gore, look no further; but this is a simplification. Behind the scenes of battle – indeed, fluently cohering the scenes of battle – is the tale of Aleena, a Chosen warrior capable of mastering any weapon she sets her hand to. The story traces her life from childhood onwards, and though I found the narrative to be a bit herky-jerky at times, overall Aleena's story (and the entwining stories of her two Chosen brethren) is a narrative of souls endlessly re-forged in the crucible of battle. I was surprised and pleased by the strong characters, even if they do enter and exit the stage a bit abruptly; as for the author's fixation on the philosophy and doctrines of war, I think Triad functions as a sensitive probing of the brutal, bloodthirsty aspect lurking behind all human civility. War and peace are dichotomous, and create each other by occupying opposite poles. This is probed in the text, and most chapters begin with pertinent quotes from sources as diverse as Ayn Rand, Mahatma Gandhi, Aristotle, and Carl von Clausewitz. However, it's also (I would even say primarily) an unrelenting adventure text, and though the constant strings of battles with various opponents can be wearing in places, the overaching story is more than sufficient to carry the reader's interest to the end. I'll definitely be reading the next in the series, and thank Guy for a stirring modern-fantasy reading experience. Four strong stars!

Jay G.

As a traditional fantasy hack-and-slash, this is well written, fast-paced fayre. The central characters are well rounded, the story is thoughtfully structured and it builds towards a strong denouement. The setting is complex and believable - the townsfolk, the different nations and their respective mythologies - and the scenes with the protagonist's family and school teacher are especially well realised. The love and tender warmth of Aleena's family are convincingly depicted and they work well within the overall structure because they provide some much-needed respite from the many 'meat grinder' episodes that occur throughout the novel. Bloodbaths aren't really my thing but the visceral descriptions are likely to impress and entertain all those lovers of sword-swinging adventure who like to follow the choreography of each fight; to know where every blow lands and with what effect. The reader is certainly granted a front row seat for this bloody, gladiatorial spectacle.

Where, for me, Triad didn't work quite so well was with respect to its philosophical aspirations. In part, it seeks to present itself as an examination of the ethical aspects of killing but, for me, the use of two-dimensional enemies (such as the unrelentingly evil slaver-rapists) made the book's moral analyses difficult to apply to the real world. Seeking to add a bit of depth to the fantasy genre is a very laudable thing - and full points here for making the attempt - but I wasn't comfortable that this story sometimes seemed to want to raise moral questions and then also to answer them on the reader's behalf.

However, this is to overstate a personal niggle with a novel that many readers will surely enjoy. There is no such two-dimensionality to the central characters and the primary nemesis is generally believable, delivered with a back-story in which it is possible to trace the origins of his fall. This complexity - the understanding of his conflicting motivations and his underlying, flawed humanity - makes the final showdown that much more meaningful and compelling.

The novel is very readable and well presented and the fact that that it leaves room for a sequel will come as welcome news to many fans of guts-and-all swords and sorcery.