Dark Tempest Book Review
This review has been a long time coming. I had posted the review of Red Winter, the first book in this series, more than a month back, and I finished re-reading the next two books almost immediately! (I repeat, unputdownable).
It's just...I wasn't sure whether to post this separately or as part of the series (as in, the second and third book together). Eventually (read: today), I finally decided that it would be weird to have a review of the first book and then a combined review of the next two. (Yes. It took me many many weeks to decide. So shoot me)
What this book is about:
Dark Tempest is the second book in the Red Winter trilogy, a fantasy series based on Japanese mythology written by the super-talented Annette Marie.
It follows the story of Emi, the kamigakari (human vessel) of the wind goddess Amaterasu. In the first book, she had set out on an adventure after discovering that everything she’d been told about being a kamigakari was a lie.
During her adventure, she found that another deity has betrayed Amaterasu and wants to destroy the world as she knew it. She’s now questioning her entire past and everything she’s ever been told about the kami (deities) and the yokai (earth spirits).
Now, Amaterasu has given her an urgent mission. With the help of Shiro, the charming fox yokai she rescued in the first book and Yumei, the intimidating and powerful raven yokai she met along the way, she sets out to complete the seemingly impossible mission.
I can’t tell you anything about the mission because I don’t want to give out any spoilers to those who haven’t read the first book. So I’ll stop here.
In a sentence, Dark Tempest was an impressive sequel in a fascinating series.
As with the first book, I absolutely loved the vivid language, the intrigue, and the fact that just when I thought the mysteries had ended, there was another surprising reveal.
Poor Emi is subjected to one shock after another and I was right there with her on her emotional roller-coaster!
The book truly was an adventure to read, with its twists and turns and the adorable budding romance between Emi and Shiro. I really love how the slow romance was weaved into this story without the book deviating from the original plot! Emi and Shiro are probably my new favourite fictional couple of all time now 😊
Another thing I loved (perhaps even more than the romance) was the friendship and grudging mutual respect that slowly develops between young, courageous Emi and big, bad Yumei. Friendships are not easy to portray, and an enemies-to-friends transition is much harder to pull off than the enemies-to-lovers trope. But the author has made it seem effortless in this book.
I have always loved friendship stories and Annette Marie has done a wonderful job of portraying the chemistry between Emi and Yumei.
I think I read this entire book in a single sitting. Scratch that. I read the entire series in just a couple of sittings!
So be warned: once you pick up the first book, you won’t feel like stopping until you complete the series! And…book hangover!!
It was, in short, unputdownable.
What I loved:
The intrigue. Seriously. There were heart-breaking, earth-shattering surprises in this book. I don’t think I’ve recovered from them even now.
The vivid descriptions. I adore good language in a book, but long descriptions sometimes get boring. That wasn’t the case in this series. The descriptions are at exactly the right places, designed to make you feel like you’re right there, experiencing all the adventures with Emi and Shiro and everyone else.
The slow-burn romance. I don’t particularly like the love at first sight trope. Attraction at first sight is okay, but it has to be written well. What I really love is the simmering romance that develops alongside the main plot without interfering with it. And the adorable fledgling love between Emi and Shiro fits my exacting standards perfectly. Simply amazing!
The enemies-to-friends transition. As I mentioned before, enemies-to-lovers is cliché, overdone and very common. Even if it’s extremely well-written, it’s so common that it’s hard to appreciate the trope. But an enemies-to-friends transition that stops at the “friends” and doesn’t go into “lovers”? That’s hard to write, uncommon, and something to salute the author for. Emi and Yumei weren’t quite enemies in the first book, but they distrusted each other a lot. This book shows us how they go from that to a tentative friendship to deep trust and mutual respect, and it’s a treat to read.
The novelty of Japanese mythology. Need I say more?
You should read it if:
You like fantasy or mythology (or both!)
You’ve already read the first book (this is a continuous story, not a set of disjointed ones…so I really don’t recommend reading the second book without reading the first one)
You may not like it if:
You’re not a fan of fantasy (or mythology)
You prefer really light books (this is not Leigh Bardugo dark, but it’s not the lightest read either…I’d put it somewhere in the range of the heavier Harry Potter books)
An excellent book and a better than excellent sequel! The first book expertly set the scene for this one and this didn’t disappoint. I recommend it to anyone who liked the first book (and I recommend the series to anyone who likes fantasy!)