Last Updated on December 27, 2022 by ThoughtsStained
If you’re part of the SPFBO community, you know that this review was meant to go live last Friday. Your girl got sick the week after I started reading Symphony of the Wind by Steven McKinnon. Obviously, that derailed my plans a bit. But, after playing a lot of catch-up, I finished the book earlier today! Thanks, first of all, for everyone’s patience.
So, Symphony of the Wind.
To sum it up quickly. It’s a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. But I still do have some issues with it that made me not fall completely head over heels in love with it. Did I enjoy it enough to where I’d buy the sequel once it comes out? Plus, keep McKinnon on my radar? Oh, absolutely. I feel he’s an author who is only going to continue to improve the more books he writes. I definitely want to continue reading his books and supporting him. So make no mistake about that.
This book was read as part of judging SPFBO 4.
Publisher: Self-Published | Release Date: May 2018 | Pages: 660
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: eBook | Source: SPFBO
A bounty hunter with a death wish. A girl with fearsome powers. A kingdom on the brink of destruction.
Serena dreams of leaving her harsh desert home behind in her very own airship. But when an assassin’s knife meant for Serena kills her friend instead, the rebellious orphan ventures into the corrupt heart of Dalthea to discover who put a price on her head. With each new turn, she edges closer to uncovering the awful truth… And the mystical powers brewing deep within her.
After his fiancée’s death, soldier-turned-bounty hunter Tyson Gallows is eager to sacrifice his life in the line of duty. When a foreign enemy assassinates a high-ranking official, he vows to bring them to justice. On the hunt for a killer, Gallows exposes a sinister plot that proves his fiancée’s death was no accident.
Driven by revenge, Serena and Gallows must join forces to take down the conspiracy before the kingdom falls to ruin.
Symphony of the Wind is the first book in a gritty epic fantasy trilogy. If you like hardened heroes, steampunk airships, and dark magic and monsters, then you’ll love Steven McKinnon’s visceral adventure.
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.
- Let’s start with the positives. What did I like? The fact that this was a rollicking steampunk adventure, that’s what. I love the steampunk genre. I loved having a wide range of characters to form different opinions about and attachments to. The worldbuilding, on the whole, was pretty solid. (The water-rationing aspect of society was intense and really made me think, so I really liked that). Serena and Gallows were my favorite characters, by far. And I thought the tone of the book, as well as the distinct voices of the characters, really stood out. Solid writing, too. Very solid.
- Chapter 39. Shit, talk about fantastic writing, character development and bringing something full circle. That was masterfully done and probably my favorite chapter in the entire novel. I got chills once the implications dawned on me.
- So I only have time to read these books in spurts during my dinner breaks throughout the week. I say this because I think it had a hand in some critiques that I formed. Especially since I started the book and got 100 pages in before getting sick for a week, not able to read it. Because of that lapse in time, I never really got truly get settled into it. As such, I started to get the characters a bit confused, because there were a lot of POV characters. I realize that one is a bit on me, but unfortunately, it still influenced my reading, as your environment always does.
- In that same vein, I think the book was trying to do too much within one novel, personally. There were a lot of awesome plotlines going and they all do intertwine by the end. But there is so much going on, I struggled a little bit to keep track. So I think some of the “reveal” moments were lost on me. As I couldn’t remember which character it pertained to and which plotline it tied to.
Personally, I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it was split into two. That way, we could have spread the plotlines out a bit more, lessening the number of POVs we had to keep track of. Thus, allowing readers to spend more time within this really amazing world that I’m just so darn curious about. Because I definitely wanted to learn more about it.
I also wanted POVs to be longer, instead of having shorter POV chunks before switching to another POV. This resulted in often switching between multiple POVs in one chapter. That is a stylistic choice that just didn’t work for me personally. But others love it, so don’t hesitate to give this book a shot if it sounds up your alley. I still recommend it!
I think Symphony of the Wind is truly enjoyable story. I really enjoyed the story, characters and world, and I’m super curious to see what happens next. Unfortunately, there were just a few things that made me not fall completely in love. Whenever the sequel comes out, I look forward to reading it!
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I really enjoyed this too. Like you said, not quite a 9, I gave this a 8.5 – very readable, a bit busy but definitely an author to watch and I will read the second.
Nicole Evans says
Yes, exactly! I’m excited to be able to read your review of it, now (I don’t read he reviews of books I haven’t read yet so I can stay unbiased), but you nailed it!
Yeah. I’m the same. I try to pick up the books with as little knowledge as possible. I don’t want my opinions to be influenced if I can help it.
Off The TBR says
I’ve got this one on a short list of self pubs to buy soon. Glad to see you liked it.