I didn’t realise how strong of an attachment I had to the Empire of Storms series until I grew excited seeing this book come closer and closer to being next on my TBR list. Maybe it was the high that came from the end of the second book, Bane and Shadow, that made me want to read the final book in the series.
And yes, that means I’m rating the entire trilogy as a whole.
The biomancers and Vinchen are out to seek their so-called traitors threatening to bring them down; Bleak Hope, a secretly trained Vinchen and biomancer slayer seeking repent for her bloodlust, and Brigga Lin, a biomancer who broke the code and seeks vengeance on her mentors for shunning her actions. This comes as the biomancers seek to take further control over the empire, and Red has been recruited by the crown as a spy to help stop them. He must now seek to recruit Brigga Lin and his lost love Hope on his side, whom are deemed powerful allies in this fight.
The fight scenes and tensions were very well done. This was especially shown with how well Skovron writes each character’s perspectives and emphasises through each of them what is at stake. The plot also showed this perfectly as each character orchestrated their plans. Normally I find a large cast of characters weakens the plot, but this was not at all the case with Blood and Tempest. Every character’s purpose felt clear and their involvement was each significant in their own way, as unique as their personalities. As always I am a fan of Red – I may have a crush on him now – but I also love Merivale and Hope.
For this being the book in which Hope and Red finally united, there were very few scenes where they interacted together. Just the two of them, like they did in the first book. There were only two chapters where they significantly interacted, one of those being the final one. I was begging for scenes like this when they reunited, and I got none. It really bummed me out. Granted, most of the final third of the book happened within the same day, but it would have been nice to have more of that. This is personally peeving me and I’m trying not to make this bias rate the book lower because it was still good.
Furthermore, while the resolution was mostly done well – the two pivotal characters of the series were the two characters who didn’t earn their victory. They both literally just used their persuasive bargaining skills and their unique perspectives to fix the world in spite of both of them having fighting prowess. For everyone else, their work was very much merited and they struggled and used their cunning for it. Hope and Red, not so much. This is what takes down the quality of the novel the most for me. The ending always makes it a hit or miss for my opinion on the series.
And as always, fantastic worldbuilding. It was highlighted as so much about the entire world came together in its four demographics – peasant, nobility, biomancers and Vinchen. The political aspects of this novel showed those factions coming together not only for epic fights but to display the relationships and tensions between all the groups put to the test. And I think there was even a POV from a character from each faction. Having studied intercultural based papers, this was incredibly fascinating to see, especially as Hope and Red pulled these representatives together.
I think that’s what this book highlighted and why Hope and Red didn’t have an epic part, because they were the forces that brought everyone together. It was no longer about them, but the people in their lives. I really like that perspective and how it was shown in this novel. After pondering this and realising this in retrospective, I like this story a little bit more. I still wish that Hope and Red could’ve been a bit more romantic with each other though.
Blood and Tempest gets a score of 4/5. It’s no longer the story of Hope and Red, but more so their legacy.
Now it’s time for a series review!
Hope and Red – 3.5/5, though a slow start and with fight scenes glossed over, a very entertaining read.
Bane and Shadow – 4/5, an entertaining array of characters and a tonne of tension.
Blood and Tempest – 4/5, an insightful way to end the book that truly shows the impact of the pivotal characters.
This series has it all – engaging characters, tension-filled plots, impeccable worldbuilding… and that’s not even touching the tropes! Dark and twisted magic meets pirates and urban environments in this series. Skovron writes a series with so much character that I look past the occasional flaws this series has, showing a core around themes of redemption, belonging and community. Much like Red I am swooned by the charm of this series, and have been given the same insights that Hope has. I think this series will stick with me for a while.
The Empire of Storms series gets a score of 4/5. This one is a keeper.
Yours in writing