Storm Raven was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Storm Raven is a fun book. It is a story that makes for a good summer afternoon read. As a young adult book, there are some darker moments but nothing too extreme. It is gritty but not on the level of something like the Broken Empire trilogy. Characters make mistakes and do suffer for it, just not in a grisly level of detail. Author K. Hanson knew what needed to be done to keep the book YA and did it well.
The main focus of the book is the characters, particularly the pirate Captain Nereyda. She is the loveable scoundrel, somewhere in-between Han Solo and Jack Sparrow. A fun-loving adventurer with a heart of gold despite a life of hardship, her skill at sea is only matched by her unwavering resolve. Nereyda is not the only point of view we get to see either. Some chapters focus on Brynja, Nereyda’s first mate, after the crew becomes separated. Other segments are through the eyes of Erhan, a commander of the Cambisian Empire who is a bit disillusioned when it comes to right and wrong.
Setting-wise the book followed a lot of your standard fantasy world rules. In here there is “the Continent” and surrounding islands. It is a bit reminiscent of The Earthsea Cycle’s geography, but also with a continent. Granted this is also only a part of the world instead of a global map. Essentially, there are two Empires who are on bad terms following a war. Pirates are a thing and the world seems to be at an early-1700’s Europe level of technology and culture. Maybe a bit more tyrannical on the culture part.
For the plot, Storm Raven is a little basic but that is to be expected for a starting story. There were not really any moments where you think, “I did NOT see that coming.” But the story does an excellent job of setting things up for future installments. By the end of the book, there are still a lot of unanswered questions and problems the characters need to resolve. After this first action-packed, swashbuckling adventure, it will be fun to see where the Storm Raven series goes from here.