Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for the first book in Ellen Renner’s new epic fantasy series, ‘Storm Witch.’ It is by no means an easy feat for an author to build a world that readers can immediately visualise and that feels truly authentic especially in a fantasy story. A world in which you totally become caught up in and where all components slot into place perfectly making total sense. Yet Ellen effortlessly conjures up the setting for Yanlin, an isolated island watched over by the Elementals who govern the lives of their chosen ones. For 13 year old Storm the time has now come to present herself to be claimed by one of the Elementals. But something strange happens, something that has never happened before. Unknow to Storm she has been bestowed a great and terrible gift that will change the course of her life forever. With her island under attack from a savage band of pirates, she risks losing everything she loves in the fight for survival.
A breath-taking, fierce and thrilling ride, ‘Storm Witch’ will grip you tightly in its hold till the very last page. Ellen has created a formidable cast of characters from the strong willed, head strong Storm to the gentle and thoughtful Minnow. Each character brings a balance and fulfilment to the story, as they each play their part in this society in the most unexpected of ways. The saying ‘with great power comes great responsibility,’ seems to sum up this story perfectly, how are you meant to cope at the age of thirteen when you are suddenly thrust into a role that you could never have imagined. We watch the internal struggle that Storm goes through as she tries to come to terms with her power, whilst dealing with the insecurities and immaturity of emotions that is inevitable at such a young page. The contrast between both of these experiences is played out wonderfully within the story. What really struck me when reading this book was the plight of the pirates – the Drowned Ones- who are perceived as the evil enemy. Yet when we look at the relationship between the islanders and the Drowned Ones we begin to realise that they have been forced into attacking islands as everyone has turned their backs, they are welcome nowhere. There is one particular interaction between Storm and Nim which was incredibly poignant and though-provoking. At the end of this I was left wanting more, what does the future hold in store for Storm, I’m desperate to find out. A compelling, exciting read filled with wonder and magic, this is world-building fantasy at its very best.
Ellen Renner was born in the USA’s mountains of Missouri, but came to England in her twenties and now lives in an old house in Devon with her husband and son. Ellen originally trained as a painter and surrounds herself with sketches of her characters as she writes. Her acclaimed novels include Castle of Shadows(winner of the Cornerstone & Writer’s News competition) and City of Thieves. She spins wool as well as stories, plays the violin, fences (badly!), collects teapots and is a keen motorcyclist.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour?
Thank you to Siân and Nosy Crow for inviting me to join in with the blog tour and sending me a copy of this spectacular book. ‘Storm Witch’ is released by Nosy Crow on the 6th September and is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.