I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I will be honest, this book took me awhile to get through and I love Star Wars. I think it was a little hard to get through because it wasn’t as easy to absorb as Star Wars is, understandable because it’s not a movie. But the pace in the beginning just is so slow that it’s hard to get invested. However getting past the 30% mark and it gets tremendously better, and keeps getting better. So if you can/want to keep trying!
I was intrigued by all the people raving about this book, then was hesitant when I learned it was Reylo fiction. I’m glad many people have loved this book and I look forward to what Thea will write in the future, but I think this one is just not for me after all.
Okay, no lie, I really didn't see the Reylo perspective. I went into this KNOWING it was Reylo fanfic and I was ready for Love Hypothesis levels of "she was tiny and he was big and she was good and he was evil" and I didn't get that. I was highly recommended this book by a coworker so I did read it for him, and I did truly enjoy it. But I will say, it's the kind of book you should sit down and read as much of as possible. Taking breaks while reading it didn't help me stay interested, it made me confused.
The worldbuilding was lovely. The characters were typical, but entertaining. I greatly enjoyed our MMC's descent into frustrated love with the FMC. The magic system was fun. The spice was fine, nothing spectacular, but I think it served the plot well. And the dialogue was surprisingly good. Is this the best fantasy I've ever read? No. Was it fun and fast? Relatively. Will I read the sequel? Yes, or my coworker will kill me. 4/5 stars.
The Hurricane Wars has a lot of mixed reviews, but this was an easy five star read for me. As a reader who loves fantasy, I can really appreciate world building and magic systems. This had both. I loved that the author took time to tell us about the history of the world and its magic. While I still don't completely understand the magic system or the ships, that didn't make me enjoy this book any less.
Tasalyn is a feisty character. She was an orphan taken in and has been experiencing war for as long as she can remember. Her magic could get her killed, but it can also save something happening to their world as well. She grows a lot in this story. At first she's fighting for what she knows, but the more that is revealed Tasalyn starts thinking and fighting for herself. I really appreciated that.
Alaric has been controlled by his father his whole life, but in little things starts defying him and seeing things in different ways. While he knows things have happened in the world, I think his involvement with Tasalyn and her people make him start realizing things might not be as black and white as he thinks.
Tasalyn and Alaric are basically forced into an arranged marriage. This is definitely an enemies to lovers situation, but their magic definitely thinks they're compatible. I appreciated this not being instalove. They slowly start appreciating the other in different ways, but this is a definite slow burn. There were also quite a few times that I wanted to scream at them to just sit down and talk, haha. I can't wait to see how their relationship develops.
The Hurricane Wars is also filled with politics, secrets, and betrayal. There are some characters I don't trust and I can't wait to see if some of my theories are correct. I'll be counting down the days for the next book.
My full review will also be published on https://thebookdutchesses.com on February 17th.
Okay first off, I need to make it clear that I am a fanfiction girlie through and through so this being reworked fanfiction isn’t my issue. My issue is the way it was reworked. The big difference between fanfiction and a book is that in fanfiction, you don’t need the world building and character back stories to aid the reader because the people reading are active fans of the works and are seeking out more in the same universe. They know and understand the world and the work already so world building and character development aren’t a huge deal. I think if I knew this was a fanfic reworked, I wouldn’t have requested it on NetGalley and would’ve waited for reviews before picking it up.
The problem with this being reworked fanfiction is that the world building was lazy. You can see elements of where it was star wars but words were changed out to make it different. I spent a majority of the book being incredibly confused because there was essentially no world building, everything was kind of mentioned offhand in the moment. Same with the characters, we were dropped in the middle of this war so we really get no background on these characters and so when one dies within the first chapters you’re kinda left feeling eh whatever. I think growing up with Star Wars helped me a little bit with the world since a lot of it is a bit similar but overall it just wasn’t done well and I was quite confused most of the book.
I also don’t truly understand why this is called The Hurricane Wars when the war itself ends by the like 25% mark. I was expecting this epic war and political fantasy where Alaric and Talasyn are opposing sides and keep meeting throughout the war. This was marketed as THE enemies to lovers and it honestly wasn’t that at all. They only met for the first time in the first chapter of the book and after that they were basically infatuated with each other. The war ends and then this turns into a marriage of convenience trope with them training together. Like this is nowhere near enemies to lovers AT ALL. We don’t really learn what the war is about outside of Talasyn seeing the Night Empire as colonizers (which yes) and Alaric seeing it as retribution for his families death. Like we don’t get to see or learn HOW it actually started because every time it’s brought up it’s just Talasyn and Alaric arguing about it.
The pacing was also pretty messy throughout. It’s hard to care about the war aspect when we don’t know much about it and then when that ends it’s straight up just making the romance aspect try and work. It was just a drag and I really struggled to get through it. If the world building wasn’t so confusing and the characters had more development, I don’t think there would’ve really been a pacing issue at all. I may continue with the second book but it’ll really depend on reviews once it comes out. This did have so much potential so I’m hoping the author fixes some of the issues a lot of readers saw and works on reworking the series better and making it easier to digest as it’s own work rather than relying on the work it was based off of initially.
The action in this book was great. I also greatly enjoyed the story. it was interesting to be introduced to South Asian folklore that I had not encountered before.
The Hurricane Wars is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy in a world inspired by Southeast Asia. And Reylo. That's pretty much all I knew about this book going into it and was very happy to preorder a special edition copy because I thought it would be fun.
And it was! I really enjoyed this book. I generally really struggle with following fantasy plots and often don't really know what happened at the end of the book. I really didn't know what was going on after about 50% of the book. I kept reminding myself that it was just Star Wars in another setting and that really got me understanding the plot enough to keep going without any problems.
I thought the world was so cool! I haven't seen Southeast Asia represented in a lot of fantasy worlds and I really enjoyed it here. I liked Talasyn and Alaric as characters. I'm not into Reylo by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought that the forced proximity really worked in this book. That's also not something that I'm usually into, but this book did it in a way that I really enjoyed. I generally just had a fun time and am looking forward to the sequels!
If you like Reylo, Star Wars, or are just looking for a wild ride, I definitely recommend this book! 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 from me. Thank you to Avon and Harper Voyager and NetGalley for the eARC of this book, my thoughts are my own!
I got an e-ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The book set too high of a stakes when it could have been a plain low fantasy enemies-to-lovers romance. Nothing really stood for me in regards to writing, characters or the world.
This was such a hard read. The fantasy is dense - you’re dropped into the middle of a war with absolutely zero background info. So many new names, places and magic systems.
I honestly skimmed from 25 percent on because I was invested in the romance but even that was pretty tortured and mega angsty.
The pacing was also very slow and difficult.
Overall, not one I’d recommend to anyone other than hardcore high fantasy fans
Hurricane Wars was a strange read. This romantasy struggled to connect the romance and the over arching war. The two plot points did not blend well together and made the book a bit of a struggle to follow
Ultimately this was simply not for me—while generally I like “published reylo” as a microgenre, I was unable to connect with either the characters or the plot to the point that posting a full review seems a little unfair
First, thank you so much to Harper Voyager, NetGalley, and the author for my eARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I can’t figure out this book. 33% in and I still had almost no idea what was going on. The world is HUGE and there are so many people and places and things that you’re told about once and are supposed to just know what they are moving forward. I may very well be the problem, but I personally don’t like when books info dump like this.
I liked a few scenes in particular so I’m hoping to maybe try it again in the future; we’ll see.
Thea Guanzon’s The Hurricane Wars Is a Whirlwind Fantasy Romance That Stands on Its Own
I keep thinking about something that Philippines-based author Thea Guanzon said in a recent interview with Paste Books: “Coming at it from the perspective of someone who lives in the Global South, fanfiction opened doors for me that I otherwise would not have had access to.” Her debut novel The Hurricane Wars may have started as a Star Wars fanfic, but its transformation into a Southeast Asian-inspired fantasy romance has a greater emotional resonance because of where it started. Like fierce heroine Talasyn, Guanzon can credit a mix of luck and her own drive with achieving a dream—here, a published novel—that had previously seemed impossible.
It feels unavoidable to acknowledge that The Hurricane Wars began as a fanfic in which Rey and Kylo Ren are forced into an arranged marriage uniting not only the Rebel Alliance and the Empire, but also the Hapes Cluster (inspired by the Star Wars Legends novel The Courtship of Princess Leia, in which Leia Organa was supposed to marry into Hapan society). One, because landscape with a blur of conquerors was a truly thrilling epic that made this skeptical reader actually root for those Force-crossed dummies. But also because Guanzon has done a superb job of taking the bones of that story and reworking it into its own original epic—most notably because of the deliberate and detailed weather-magic worldbuilding, though the slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance mostly holds up under new names and contexts.
Talasyn is a young soldier on the frontlines of the Hurricane Wars, fighting for the Sardovian Allfold using her Lightweaver magic, which allows her to conjure any weapon she can imagine out of the aether. As the scrappy Sardovians stand up to the overwhelming might of the Night Empire of Kesath with their legionnaires and stormships, Talasyn frequently clashes with Alaric Ossinast, who can similarly transform shadows into swords.
A covert side mission to the Nenavar Dominion, an independent archipelago (modeled in part after the Philippines) delivers a stunning revelation to Talasyn: She is their lost princess, or Lachis’ka, presumed dead for the past eighteen years. The fiercely matriarchal society of Nenavar is led by the dragon queen-like Zahiya-lachis, Talasyn’s grandmother Urduja. With no other female heir, her return sparks a succession crisis that turns into a surprising alliance once the canny Urduja sees a way to secure more stability with the encroachment of Kesath upon their shores.
The plot does follow some trope-heavy shorthand: Orphan discovers she’s the heir to a lost throne; arranged marriage between enemies-to-lovers; light versus darkness. Yet these familiar story beats are set against a vibrant, hurricane-ravaged world with an engaging magic system and a variety of radically different climates and locales in which the political and romantic intrigue take place.
The action immediately pulls you in, though it does take the book (which already clocks in at nearly 500 pages) a while to get around to Talasyn discovering her true heritage. The fanfic gets there faster thanks to the dual context of the movies preceding it and the Star Wars Legends novel for those extra in-the-know; the point is to get Rey to Hapes as soon as possible for the delicious crossover. That said, Talasyn’s skirmishes on the ice floes of Frostplum set the stage for her political battles at court, while the Sardovian Allfold’s retreat puts them in a compellingly defensive position, where they must appeal to the Nenavar Dominion for shelter and aid, with Talasyn their unintentional bargaining chip.
At first the supporting cast from the Sardovian Allfold is introduced so rapidly that it’s difficult to keep track of who means what to Talasyn, aside from mapping the connections to Leia Organa, Finn, etcetera. That said, Guanzon’s worldbuilding is carefully considered, the use of weather a poignant metaphor for how destabilizing war is. After all, hurricanes in our world are formed by the clash of dualities: thunderstorms sucking ocean heat from tropical waters, generating destructive winds that don’t discriminate with whatever or whoever is in their path.
It’s also thematically fitting to this particular romance plot, with the emotionally destabilizing one-two punch of secret princess and arranged marriage. Going in eyes open as to the controversial ship that inspired these two, I have to say… dammit, Guanzon has done it again. Twice now she’s made me ship this particular iteration of Reylo, to the point where I didn’t even think of them as their Star Wars selves but as nearly fully-realized fantasy characters. While Talasyn spends so much of the novel reflecting on how she’s always felt like an island, she is stunned to discover that Alaric’s upbringing as the Night Emperor’s sole heir has similarly isolated him from friends and comrades (forget any potential lovers). And while she struggles to catch up on eighteen years of Nenavarene society with its elaborate gowns and complicated alliances, it’s a pleasant surprise to see just how unprepared he too is to be a royal consort. They’re both soldiers, best on the battlefield and flailing in more delicate situations.
Theirs is a literal grumpy/sunshine dynamic in terms of how their powers manifest, shadow versus light. Yet there’s also a fun subversion where Talasyn is the clear grump, letting her temper get the best of her far too often; and while Alaric would never be described as sunny, his measured calm is the surprising anchor to her emotional storms. And while Kesath has won the Hurricane Wars (at least, for now), the natural powers of their shared home planet operate under no master—as demonstrated by the building threat of a sevenfold lunar eclipse, which threatens to ignite the death-magic Void Sever and overtake the entire planet. Even more thrilling than pitting their respective powers against one another is the moments in which Talasyn and Alaric discover they alone can combine light and shadow into something entirely new… if they can cooperate long enough to save everyone they love.
For a slow burn, the latter half of the book does get awfully wrapped up in Talasyn and Alaric’s betrothal, with other non-romantic elements falling by the wayside. The Sardovians are so cunningly hidden that Talasyn barely interacts with them; her best friend Khaede is missing in action, but to an extent that she seems out of sight, out of mind, no doubt something to set up for the next book. Even honing the narrative scope to the Nenavarene court, there are missed opportunities to really delve into how foreign this world is to both of them, but especially Talasyn as the Lachis’ka and how to model herself after—or turn away from—the Zahiya-lachis.
Hopefully future books delve more into the absorbing court politics that Guanzon has seeded already. The Dominion’s self-imposed neutrality works wonderfully in this setting, as a keen reminder that when it comes to climate change and the swelling populations of climate refugees, no country can afford to isolate forever when they’re all located on the same planet.
But where The Hurricane Wars ends is with the promised wedding bells. Guanzon does an excellent job reminding us that, despite the way their passion sparks with their growing attraction, neither is actually happy to be wedded when they still both identify more with the hate side of the love/hate spectrum. Being joined in matrimony may wind up being more of a hindrance than a benefit to working together.
The Hurricane Wars is the first in an epic fantasy romance trilogy, with Guanzon adeptly setting up the remaining two books: By the time we get to their wedding night (which is a tease in and of itself), there are four eclipses left until the Void Sever erupts. It will be a longer wait for book two than for weekly or monthly chapters, but it promises to be worth it.
This book was so hyped and I was really looking forward to it. I couldn’t get into it though. I realized shortly after that it’s supposed to be reformed Reylo fanfic and that’s not my jam. Needed a bit more work. I will say that the cover and artwork are gorgeous and definitely appeal to readers!
I will say I had no idea this was Star Wars fan fiction going in. And I am NOT a Star Wars fan. I kept reading because I AM a romantasy fan and was hopeful.
This unfortunately missed the mark for me. The wordbuilding felt clunky and not well put together. Emotions were skimmed over. The dragons barely made an appearance.
I think if you like science fiction AND fantasy AND Star Wars, you’ll like this one.
I tried again. And I enjoyed it. The first half is slooooow. But the second half is so gloriously good.
Thank you NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for the e-arc!
A book based on weather magic with an amazing romance? sign me up! While the story took me a little bit to get into by the end of the book, I was unbelievably immersed in the world and the characters. The world-building was fantastic; it felt detailed without being too overwhelming. I think the magic and the fantasy elements in the story were amazing. I saw some reviews comparing it to Star Wars and mentioning it was based on Reylo but I didn't really see big connections as I'm not really in the Star Wars.
I can definitely see why this book is unbelievably popular. I think it is a really strong fantasy world and I really enjoyed the banter between the two characters.
Thea Guanzon crafts a rich world of war, romance, and politics. The writing is lush and transports you to a magical world that's heavily inspired by Southeast Asia. There's plenty of humor in the dialogue and a slow-burn romance.
"The romantasy baby of RF Kuang and Sarah J. Maas"
I stopped reading after chapter 6 (16%). The prose is incredibly long-winded, resulting in a much slower pace than I'd expect. Three to four stars for the target audience. Be ready for vibes.
Thank you to NetGalley and Avon for the ARC.
This one sadly was a struggle for me. I was so bored and confused for the first few chapters and then not invested at all in the rest of the story.
Sadly this is a big nope from me. I really couldn't get past the writing. It was beyond too descriptive with sentences running on for a paragraph I think there was the bones of a good world in there though.