reviews

The Binding Tempest by Steven Rudy is exactly the kind of book I hope to find when I participate in SPFBO. 

It has a compelling story, rich characters, and an interesting world with an advanced Victorian steampunk aesthetic I love. Magic and technology go hand in hand as conspiracies abound and the plot thickens. The story does struggle a little in the beginning as we’re introduced to new character POVs each chapter, but they very quickly overlap. Also, this level of front heavy worldbuilding feels necessary as the foundations are laid for the adventure. 

The story primarily revolves around Ellaria Moonstone, a hero of the Great War, who seeks to uncover the powers seeking to upend the young and vulnerable Collation of Nations. Unfortunately, for her and her comrades, the council has elected to raise a new king, which precipitated many of the problems that led to the war in the first place. 

From Ellaria, we move on to Kovan, a mysterious ally of Ellaria’s who seems instrumental in setting the world to rights, Tali, a Whisper Chain messenger, who gets more than she bargained for, and Learon, a young woodsman whose world is upended by his father’s mysterious journal and the enigmatic stranger Elias.

In conclusion, I very much enjoyed this book and will be picking up the sequel when money allows me a hardcover copy. The e-book struck such a chord with me that I ended up purchasing a physical copy for my personal library. It has remarkable quality with chapter designs and customs maps. 

I recommend this book for fans of the Black Prism by Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson’s Era 2 Mistborn books, or for those who enjoy some steampunk in their fantasy. I would compare it a little bit to V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic, although I think I enjoyed this more.