Today’s review is for The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon, a Southeast Asia-inspired fantasy with a great dose of Reylo added in.
Ever since I first saw the book announcement for The Hurricane Wars, even before the stunning covers were revealed, I’d been super excited for the story. Reylo but make it fantasy? I was absolutely excited for that! This book didn’t let me down at all, it was everything I hoped for and then some.
Full review below.
About the Book
Title: The Hurricane Wars
Series: The Hurricane Wars #1
Author: Thea Guanzon
Release Date: October 12th 2023
Source: Physical ARC gifted by the publisher (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased)
The Night Empire will rule all. Nothing can stand in the way of its might and power. Little by little, year by year, the Hurricane Wars take more and more from those who resists the empire’s supremacy. And yet, there is hope in the darkness. One lone light stands against the empire.
Talasyn was left on the steps of a Sardovian orphanage as a baby. All she has ever known are the Hurricane Wars, as her people fight for freedom from the tyranny of the Night Emperor Gaheris. But are they her people? Talasyn dreams of one day finding where she comes from – her true place, family, and the source of the Lightweave magic that flows through her veins like sunlight.
Alaric of House Ossinast, Master of the Shadowforged Legion and Gaheris’s only son and heir has been forged into a weapon by his father. Tasked with obliterating the Sardovian Allford alliance with the strength of his armies and mighty Shadow magic, all Alaric can see is their extinguish all threats to the empire. That is until he sees Talasyn burning brightly on the battlefield with the magic that killed his grandfather, turned his father into a monster, and ignited the Hurricane Wars. He tries and fails to kill her, his now greatest enemy slipping through his fingers. But a greater threat is coming. One that will overshadow the Hurricane Wars. Will these mortal enemies be able to come together to confront it or is everything that has been fought over for so long about to be destroyed?
The Hurricane Wars starts with throwing us straight into the middle of a battle as part of the titular war, which has been fought between the Night Empire (a power-hungry group who originally acted in for vengeance) and the Sardovians (who at this point are fighting to keep their remaining strongholds). The emotional intensity of the setting doesn’t calm down for a few chapters, as we get to know Talasyn and the Sardovian side in particular very well. It is told from both hers and Alarics’ points of view, but we get a little less from his side which serves to emphasise his mysteriousness.
For an extremely basic explanation of why Talasyn and Alaric are sworn enemies, aside from being on opposite sides of the war, Talasyn is one of the last Lightweavers (someone who can manipulate light and use it in battle by constructing weapons) and Alaric is one of the Shadowforged (who can do the same but with shadows). It’s the age old light versus dark… or Rey versus Kylo Ren… I’ll get back to that though!
Fairly early in we get a revolution about Talasyn that makes things a lot more interesting, and related to that we meet Prince Elagbi who is one of the sweetest characters! Halfway through we get a huge plot point, and if I hadn’t already been loving it due to the separate character arcs of Talasyn and Alaric then I would have fallen for the book at the halfway point, but as it happens I loved both of their characters so I guess I just found it even more entertaining at that point.
There’s a fair bit of politics involved in the story, which adds to the intensity throughout. But we also get many moments between Talasyn and Alaric that will (if you’re anything like me) have you smirking at the book for the most of the time due to:
- Their sassy remarks at one another
- Their utter silliness at not seeing how perfectly matched they are together
“Do you make it a habit to compliment everyone who’s trying to kill you?”
“Not everyone. Just you.”
This is a super slow burn and enemies-to-lovers done in the best way, if Star Wars had gone the same way with Rey and Kylo Ren then Episodes VII-IX genuinely would have been my favourite trilogy but it’s fine because Thea gives us everything we could have wanted but better with Alaric and Talasyn’s relationship (including fantastic world-building to go with it). There were no parts in the story that I struggled to imagine because Thea describes as much as possible, without it being too bogged down with descriptions.
If you like your romantasy with a big of spice then you’ll get some, but don’t expect too much because Talasyn and Alaric are both busy pretending they have no attraction to one another for around 40% of the time and then another 40% is spent with them both thinking the other has no attraction to them whilst obviously wanting it.
All-in-all, I adored this story. It was an emotionally charged entry into the trilogy and I’ll be picking up the next books as soon as possible! I did try turning the pages at the back a couple of times, just in case some more magically appeared…
“…sometimes it’s the blow that molds us.”
Have you preordered this yet?
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