Last Updated on December 20, 2022 by ThoughtsStained
I was very excited for Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. Not only because the cover is gorgeous, but the premise sounded fascinating. Yet it was a book that sorta missed the mark for me, just a bit. Especially compared to how I usually feel about Orbit’s titles.
An ARC copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Publisher: Orbit Books | Release Date: May 2011 | Pages: 446
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Paperback | Source: ARC
From one of the most exciting new storytellers in epic fantasy, Son of the Storm is a sweeping tale of violent conquest and forgotten magic set in a world inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa.
In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—only he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy.
But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.
On the Page
Content warnings are written up by me, unless specified. Subject to being an incomplete list, though guided by referencing this list and trying to highlight as many as I can identify.
- Most of the characters. You’ll see below the character that really grinded my gears, but WOW were all of these characters fantastic. I loved the depth to each character (Lilong and Esheme, especially). Plus, shifting POV is used to show the perspectives of both major players and secondary characters from all sides.
- The focus on the affects of colonization. I won’t lie: I come from a major colonizer country. I haven’t done my due diligence of learning about the harmful affects of colonization. Books like The Unbroken and Son of the Storm helped open my eyes to that, reminding me of the importance me to rectify that.
- The richness of the world. You can certainly tell the care and craft that were taken in creating the worlds and cultures here. Each area, from Bassa to the Breathing Forest (which was SUCH an amazing concept) to Whudasha and beyond, all felt so distinct and alive.
- Pacing. I think this “dislike” might be more due to the fact that I was in a really bad reading slump caused from real-life problems as I read this book. But I found the pacing to be slower than I hoped and the ending a bit drawn out.
- Danso. I know this is a me problem. But, characters (/people) who have the smarts and the opportunities and just don’t apply themselves drive me up a wall. I can sorta understand why Danso behaves the way he does. But personally? I was pretty frustrated with him most of the time.
Unfortunately, this is a mixed bag for me. I really enjoyed the world and the characters. I was very curious about the magic and how the storylines interweave together. But I had some frustration with Danso and the pacing. And honestly? I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series. However, I think many other fantasy lovers will enjoy this much more than I did, so if you’re interested, I encourage you to give Son of the Storm a shot!