Storm Raven by K. Hanson
Genre: YA high fantasy
Publication date: December 15, 2017
Captain Nereyda and her first mate, Brynja, lead a band of pirates as they seek out grand adventures and loot vulnerable merchant ships. However, when they attempt an overly ambitious raid, Nereyda and her crew are captured by Commander Erhan of the Imperial navy and separated. Nereyda is pressed into service aboard a ship to patrol the treacherous waters of the Shattered Sea. Meanwhile, Brynja and the rest of the crew are sent to a life of hellish labor deep in an Imperial mining prison camp.
While serving her sentence, Nereyda is shipwrecked on an unknown island. As she explores it, she stumbles into some ancient ruins and finds…something. Whatever it is, it wakes a part of Nereyda that she had not felt before. Something that could help her free the rest of her crew and return to life on the sea, if only she can learn to control it. Unfortunately, Commander Erhan is also on the island. Nereyda must escape him, get off of the island, and rescue her crew before the commander can stop her and before her crew withers away in the oppressive mines.
My spoiler-free review:
If you are a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean, Throne of Glass, and Daughter of the Pirate King, this is THE BOOK for you! Storm Raven by K. Hanson is a fantasy story full of action, pirates, magic, sword fights, shipwrecks, and corrupt governments. It’s as epic as it sounds, and I LOVED it!!
I was sent this book to read and review for a blog tour, and this review is full of my honest opinions. Sometimes books written by small authors like this are nowhere near as good as book published by large publishing companies. But, in my opinion, this book should have been picked up by a large publishing company! It was that good.
Like I said, Storm Raven, is a fantasy novel as epic as any high fantasy story! It’s full of grey characters, adventure, and intense action scenes. Even during the slow parts, I was on the edge of my seat! As you can tell, I loved this book, and I rated it 4.5/5 stars on Goodreads.
Nereyda is a 22-year old girl, who is captain of the pirate ship, the Storm Raven. She has a loyal first mate, Brynja, and an excellent crew. The Storm Raven is a beautiful ship, known for its quick maneuvering on the Imperial waters. Unlike some pirates, Nereyda and her crew always gave people the chance to surrender before raiding their ships of valuables, and they only killed when provoked.
Nereyda herself is feisty, raven-haired, and amazing at sword fighting. I LOVED her character. She was completely devoted to her ship and her crew, and she was willing to do anything to save her crew, which I loved about her. I’m not going to spoil it, but if you read the book, you’ll find out the measures she takes to ensure the safety of her friends! Another thing about Nereyda was her commanding demeanor. She gained the loyalty of so many people along the course of this story because of her take-charge attitude and how she always knew what she was doing. She has an INCREDIBLE military mind, and it astounded me how quick she made decisions in life-or-death situations!
Even though Nereyda was the main character in this fantasy story and the young captain of a ship, the author did not make her seem any more special than the other characters. In many stories, the heroine or hero is always made out to be superior to the other characters, but I love how common and personal the author made Nereyda. I was able to relate to her so much more because of that! Yes, she was an outstanding fighter, but she still struggled, and she ran out of energy (sometimes, characters in books never seem to run out of energy).
Another main character was Nereyda’s first mate, Brynja. Nereyda saw Brynja as an older sister, and they had been on the Storm Raven together ever since Nereyda had been picked up by the old captain. While Nereyda was often reckless and rash, Brynja reasoned and thought, which is what made them such great partners. Brynja loved the crew of the Storm Raven as much as Nereyda. I loved seeing her character development throughout the plot, and I feel like she’s the most relatable character in this story!
Commander Erhan of the Cambisian Empire was an interesting character. He was sort of the villain, but I understood his actions. I do wish we’d gotten more of a personality out of him. But for the most part, he was a great addition to Nereyda’s adventure, and he certainly made things interesting. Also, almost everything he said made me want to punch him, so there’s that. 😂
I loved the world that K. Hanson created. The war and politics between the Cambisian Empire and the Stalstan Empire really intrigued me. It was very complex and well-developed, which isn’t something you always see! Also, he didn’t disclose everything about the world and the magic, which means that some parts of this world are still a mystery to me, and I need the second book ASAP!!
The cruelty of the Cambisian Empire was portrayed perfectly, and it made for a great problem that needs to be fixed in future sequels. The treatment of the poor and the prisoners in the mines made me so angry!! I wrote so many notes while reading that just said something like, “I can’t BELIEVE this!”
The plot of this book was AMAZING. I can tell the author really outlined and planned everything out, as every chapter flowed together perfectly. Third-person was the perfect POV to use in this story, as it allowed the reader to see from Nereyda’s, Erhan’s, and Brynja’s perspectives at different times in the story. The many perspectives really added so much to the story. One chapter would focus on Nereyda’s time at sea with Erhan, and the next chapter would be a heartbreaking chapter about Brynja and the crew in the mines. The plot also included many good plot twists, most of which I didn’t see coming, and that’s always good. A predictable book isn’t any fun, and this book was tons of fun!
Also, did those mines where they sent prisoners to be slaves remind anyone else of the mines of Endovier in Throne of Glass?
I really enjoyed K. Hanson’s writing. The action and fighting scenes, especially, were FANTASTIC. Everything was realistic (as realistic as a fantasy novel can be, anyway), and I could see everything happening in my head as it happened on page. The author also did a great job at immersing his readers in the story, so that they felt the same anger, hurt, urgency, and triumph as the characters. I felt for each character. And I love that.
The one thing I would have liked more of in this story was emotion from the characters. There’s one scene where Nereyda and Brynja are reunited after being away from each other for months in terrible conditions, but all they do is embrace each other. I felt like there should have been some crying and catching up, you know? It would have been good to see a little bit more of the relationships Nereyda had with her crew and Brynja. But, I still enjoyed their friendship, and it wasn’t written badly or anything.
The ending of this story was SUCH A CLIFFHANGER! I need the next book!! I need to read about what happens to Nereyda, Brynja, Erhan, and the two warring empires. I need to know more about the small amount of magic that was introduced in the story. I need to know everything.
As you can tell, I loved this story!! The outstanding writing and complexity of the high fantasy world took me completely by surprise, and I loved every single character! Nereyda is a kick-butt heroine, and you do not want to miss out on her pirate adventures.
I highly recommend this book!! And keep an eye out for the sequel, which will hopefully be coming soon!
I hope you enjoyed my bookish babblings, and happy reading!!
~ Rebekah C.
Storm Raven on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36151373-storm-raven
Buy the book here
Read the first three chapters here: http://www.khansonbooks.com/storm-raven-chapter-one
About the Author: K. Hanson lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he works as a software developer. In his spare time, when he isn’t writing, he enjoys reading, working out, playing video games, and spending time with his wonderful fiancee, Bobbi. Some of his favorite authors are Tom Clancy, George R.R. Martin, and Sarah J. Maas.
Author website: http://www.khansonbooks.com/
K. Hanson on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16149902.K_Hanson
Blog Tour Organized By: http://yaboundbooktours.blogspot.com/