Thursday, March 12, 2015

Storm Bride / J.S. Bangs

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words

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J.S. Bangs lives in the Midwest and works for a small software company. He writes science fiction and fantasy. You can learn more about him on his website or follow him on Facebook.


“When Saotse rode across the treacherous ocean on an orca at the bidding of Oarsa, Power of the Sea, the blind maiden believed she had been chosen for a great destiny. But she hasn’t heard Oarsa’s voice in decades. Aged now, she has found her place among a peaceful, long-lived people, though her adoptive sister, Uya, still blossoms with youth. Then, pregnant Uya is kidnapped, and the rest of her family is slaughtered when an army of mounted warriors strikes the defenseless capital, leaving Saotse grief stricken and alone.

After Saotse finds refuge with strangers in a distant village, a new Power makes contact. Saotse embraces the opportunity to bury her bloodthirsty enemies in vengeance, but wielding the Power’s bitter magic could cost her everything she is.

As war escalates and allies flock to her side, Saotse believes she finally understands Oarsa’s purpose for her. But the Powers may have set events in motion that even they cannot control, and the fates of gods and men alike hang in the balance.”


When Uya alerted her small fishing village that three Orca’s had brought a woman to their shores, she was a young girl. Soatse was tall, had orange hair, but her blue eyes were blinded with cataracts and Uya decided they should be sisters. In chapter two apparently fifty years had passed by without much mention. Uya has been married for ten years and is pregnant with her first child. This was a little hard for me to reconcile in my head because of a lack of transition. Perhaps I was just slow catching on to this, I had to start the book over from the beginning to see if I misunderstood and where I went wrong.

J.S. Bangs has created an elaborate world and mythology of Powers that are only accessible to a chosen few who can hear them. Soatse can hear the Powers whispering but can’t understand them. That is until she hears an earth power that overwhelms her with sadness, she names it Sorrow. It was a devastatingly powerful force that could move tons of the earth. This power comes to her as she is trying to escape a pillaging, murdering horde, named the Yakhat, who have invaded the peaceful city of Prasa. The Yakhat fight for Golgoyat, the Storm Power, who wants vengeance. They are skilled warriors on horseback who show no mercy and take no prisoners. That is until Keshlik takes Uya hostage to be his pregnant wife’s personal slave.

Soatse tries to control her new found Power to rid the world of the warring Yakhat tribe. There is death, warring, and devastation throughout this epic fantasy. I learned that I am not the ideal reader for this kind of story.. The author has a way with words, with some nice descriptive prose illustrating the landscape and the fight scenes. However, I had trouble liking any of the characters. Uya was weak and reminded me of a spoiled child who felt entitled. Keshlik was a monster and I couldn’t believe he could ever change his ways, even though the author did try to soften him around the edges. Soatse, well she seemed a bit too clueless to me. I can’t say one way or the other if more time developing her character a little differently would have helped me like her more or not. If you don’t care about the characters, it’s tough to care about what happens to them.

Format/Typo Issues:

I read an advanced readers copy so I can’t comment on this.

Rating: *** Three Stars

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JS Bangs said...

Thanks for the review, Al! Readers can find me at

?wazithinkin said...

Thank you, Mr. Bangs for dropping in and commenting.