The Last Stormlord - Glenda Larke

I always find myself a little bit wary of trilogies (or indeed longer series than that) where each volume is 600+ pages in paperback, so that's probably part of the reason why The Last Stormlord and its sequel have been sitting on my bookcase for a while. I always end up wondering if I want to make that kind of commitment and often other things will come along and distract me from doing so.

 

Anyway, on to The Last Stormlord.

 

A lot of secondary world fantasy is still very much based on elements of the European Middle Ages and it's always a relief to discover a series that isn't from that particular train of thought. I see from her biography that the author has spent some time living in Tunisia and this certainly seems to have had a significant impact on the setting of her story in a mostly-desert land with walled cities in some of it. Water is the most important thing in this universe, with many people given an allowance but others being 'waterless' and therefore having to work doubly hard to get what they and their families need to survive - the religion they practice is also based on water sacrifices.

 

The distribution of water had been the purview of the stormlords - they literally bring water to the people by controlling clouds and so on - except that (at the start of this book at least) the only significantly powerful one of that number is dying and there is nobody to take his place. There are various people jockeying for position in a world which is likely to change significantly, while in the desert a group of disgruntled nomads are massing to try and take over, since they feel they have not been treated equally in relation to the people in the cities.

 

The Last Stormlord is, however, primarily the story of two outsiders who might just be able to help turn things around - Shale is an unwanted son whose family are mostly slaughtered by the nomads and who has abilities in relation to water. And then there is Terelle, who we first meet having been sold to a brothel as a child and who flees prostitution only to find herself controlled by a man who wants to teach her how to manipulate water in a different way from the stormlords. Initially, at least, both of them are a little naive in terms of what others want from them but soon learn that they have more power over their own fates than they first suspected.

 

This was also one of those books which wavered between 3 and 4 stars for me - it's readable enough and I want to continue with the series, but it's probably not something I'm going to be re-reading once I complete the trilogy. The series continues with Stormlord Rising, which I already have, in which I really hope one particular character gets the slapping that she so richly deserves. But she probably won't.