The Gauntlet and the Burning Blade
by Ian Green
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Pub Date 04 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 18 Aug 2022
Head of Zeus, Head of Zeus -- an AdAstra Book
In the second instalment of the Rotstorm series, heroine Floré must continue to fight back against the encroaching children of the storm – but now her daughter Marta is dying, too. Can Floré save her daughter, and her people, from threats familiar and new?
Break the chains. Hold your strength. Burn your foes.
Once a warrior of the Stormguard Commandos, Floré wrought horrors in the rotstorm to protect her people. She did her duty and swore to leave the bloodshed behind. But when her daughter, Marta, was kidnapped, Floré was forced to once again raise her gauntlet against the devils of Ferron to bring her home.
Now Marta is dying from the skein-magic she inherited from her father, and the Protectorate is weakened by the absence of the whitestaffs. The mystical order of healers and sages fled to their island citadel of Riven when strange orbs cut through the night.
Floré and her comrades must race to find a cure for Marta, to find the truth of the whitestaffs' betrayal, and to fight back against the encroaching children of the storm.
Floré has taken up her gauntlets and her sword to keep her people safe – but steel alone might not be enough...
'Excellent, vivid worldbuilding... A gripping story with cinematic detail' British Fantasy Society
'Epic action, deep world-building, and colourful characters make for a magical debut, forged in compelling inspirations... There's plenty more magic to come' The Publishing Planet
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 6 members
After reading the outstanding The Gauntlet and the Fist Beneath, I just had to get my hands on the next book in the series, The Gauntlet and the Burning Blade.
To begin the review, I wanted to mention that there is an excellent collection of maps to get the reader acquainted with Rotstorm. Not everyone is as thoughtful, so kudos to the author for that.
The book begins with a brief story of Rotstorm and then a fiery, in every sense of the word, prologue on the Storm Witch. I read the prologue twice because it was that good. Although it did not set the tone for the rest of the book as it happened.
I found that a great deal of the opening stages of the book was taken up with dialogue. There was a lot of stage-setting before any action took place. Although some of it was fascinating, enthralling and necessary, it did drag on a bit at moments during the book. It was probably down to mainly impatience on my part because I wanted to get to the nitty-gritty.
Once the action began, then the excitement ramped up to a different level. The author handles the fight and battle scenes with skill and creativity, even if they are colourful at times.
Having blasts from the past within the book also makes for fascinating reading, especially when they are exciting and thrilling. Reading more of the exploits of Janos, Flore and Benazir was a clever idea, even if it did break into the main narrative.
There are sections of the novel when things become seriously creepy and eerily atmospheric. The Character Ceann Brude is one incredibly terrifying and disturbing creature and a worthy replacement for the previous novel's antagonist Varratim.
There is a lot of depth to every main character within the book, and many have different idiosyncrasies that make them stand out. Cuss is one that comes to mind with his sadness and feelings of worthlessness since the death of his brother.
The Gauntlet and the Burning Blade is well-written and well-structured, with fine attention to detail. Some Dodgy political machinations are happening in the background, and there are a few twists in the plot. You will also find some skulduggery within the storyline that is not totally unexpected.
The author has once again managed to produce an epic fantasy novel with all the necessary ingredients needed to make it a thrilling ride. It is imaginative, passionate and unpredictable, full of magic and mystery.
A thoroughly enjoyable and enthralling read that I highly recommend.
Thank you, Ian Green, NetGalley and Head of Zeus & AdAstra Books, for the advanced copy.
I’m still fairly new to fantasy/sci-fi stories but have found myself being drawn into the world building, along with varying characters both good and bad I would say with this one that you do need to read book one before book two. I had to try and remember the characters from the first book but once I did I was back on track. It did take me a little while to get into the story with a slow start but once it got going you become gripped. It’s a book you need to focus on as it switches from character to character and kingdom to kingdom. With characters from book one Flore and Benazir have been promoted from Captains to bolt Commander’s, they are working for the Grand Council helping to make plans for the defence of the protectorate.
Marta, Flore’s daughter is dying from the skein magic she inherited from her father. Flore is determined to get her the help she needs. Knight Commander Starbeck has orders for Flore, Benazir, Yselda, Cuss, Tomas. Tomas has been on a fact finding mission but what is with the odd glasses he is wearing, he has been acting slightly different.
There is still fear of the orbs despite there not being so many, when the orbs struck the Whitestaffs fled to their island home of Iskander, to the monastery of Riven, but not one boat that had sailed to Riven has returned, leaving the docks of Undal City almost empty, the Grand Council had sent envoys out to find out why all the esteemed teachers, healers and leaders had abandoned them but none of the boats have returned either. The only Whitestaffs that had stayed behind had been the ones working in the military hospitals, or stationed at the Stormwall.
The orders given to the commanders are to go south to try and retrieve the Whitestaffs and to remove whatever it is that is blocking their way back. With hardly any navy left in Undal City the defence is low. Knowing that the rust-folk have taken Port Last and the Northern Marshes things are not looking good for the Protectorate.
There is so much going on within this story with goblins, Wyrms, skein mage’s , along with Tullen One-eye later in the story. The battles are brutal. Can they all survive?. A Claw Winter is also expected meaning extreme cold, snow.
If you like fantasy novels then don’t miss out on this terrific series. The world building is superb, the characters are believable. I was rooting for Yselde and Cuss. There are extra evil characters in this story at one stage I was in tears. If you do decide to read this then definitely read book one first, because then you will understand the characters and what powers they have. You will definitely not be disappointed. I look forward to the final part.
This was a gripping, suspenseful, engrossing read the tension building and building as you get further into the story. the imagery described is brilliant at times you feel you are there. I found myself squirming at the Wyrms for some reason, it’s not as if the goblins are cute with there teeth.
This is the second book in this series and it's another entertaining, fast paced, and gripping story.
There's plenty of emotion, actions, there's a mother who fight for saving her daughter.
It's well plotted, the world building is well done and I love the storytelling.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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