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Book Description:


The fates of two bitter enemies with opposing magical abilities are swept together in The Hurricane Wars, the spellbinding debut in a fantasy romance trilogy set in a Southeast Asia–inspired world ravaged by storms, perfect for fans of Fourth Wing and A Court of Thorns and Roses

The heart is a battlefield.

All Talasyn has ever known is the Hurricane Wars. Growing up an orphan in a nation under siege by the ruthless Night Emperor, she found her family among the soldiers who fight for freedom. But she is hiding a deadly secret: light magic courses through her veins, a blazing power believed to have been wiped out years ago that can cut through the Night Empire’s shadows.

Prince Alaric, the emperor’s only son and heir, has been tasked with obliterating any threats to the Night Empire’s rule with the strength of his armies and mighty shadow magic. He discovers the greatest threat yet in Talasyn: a girl 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 to kill her, but in a clash of light and dark, their powers merge and create a force the likes of which has never been seen.

This war can only end with them. But an even greater danger is coming, and the strange magic they can create together could be the only way to overcome it. Talasyn and Alaric must decide… are they fated to join hands, or destroy each other?

An exquisite fantasy brimming with unforgettable characters and sizzling enemies-to-lovers romance set in a richly drawn world, The Hurricane Wars marks the breathtaking debut of an extraordinary new writer.

The Hurricane Wars, Thea Guanzon’s debut novel, is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy that follows the third-person perspectives of two characters who have been fighting on opposite sides of the titular conflict. Talasyn, an orphan, was recruited by the rebels when they discovered she had light magic, a rare power since the emperor killed everyone on the continent with those abilities years ago. Since she joined their side, she’s trained in secret, waiting for the right time to use her magic against the conquering army.

But Talasyn is forced to use her magic to save herself in the heat of battle—and does so in the presence of Alaric, the emperor’s son, who possesses shadow magic like his father. Though she survives the altercation that ensues, she knows she’ll need to be wary now that the prince knows about her abilities.

Shortly after her confrontation with Alaric, Talasyn is sent on a mission to some islands that have remained neutral in the war, a mysterious place rumored to have dragons and unique magic. There, she makes a discovery that changes her life and results in her having to work with the person she despises most in the world after the emperor: his son.

There are two main reasons I was excited about reading The Hurricane Wars: the South Asia–inspired world and the enemies-to-lovers arc. (Whether it ends in friendship or romance, I just really enjoy the trope of people who start out despising each other discovering that they have common ground or actually respect/like each other after they are thrown together. Basically, I like relationships of any kind that become more complex over the course of the story, and when this is well done, it really works for me.) However, I found this novel rather lackluster since it didn’t have a lot of depth and the interactions between the two main characters became frustratingly repetitive.

The first third of the book focuses on the wars, which have been going on for some time at that point, and the rest of the book takes place after a four-month time skip that focuses on the aforementioned islands and the relationship between the two main characters. I found it difficult to get through the first 30% or so: a lot happened quickly, and I didn’t know enough about any of these characters to care about their struggles, nor did I find them compelling enough to want to learn more about them.

After it skipped ahead a few months, it became more engaging—even hard to put down for a bit—and I thought I was going to end up enjoying it despite the rough start. The matriarchal island setting was far more interesting to me than the war, and its calculating queen had potential as a character. Unfortunately, it didn’t spend enough time delving into her or any of the others for that to pay off, and all the secondary characters felt like afterthoughts when compared to the relationship between Talasyn and Alaric.

That probably wouldn’t have bothered me if these two had more development or a dynamic that didn’t grow tiresome so quickly. They’re mainly drawn to each other because they each think the other is stunning and the plot demands it, and though there are some scenes later that show how they can fit together as individuals, it wasn’t enough to make me want to keep reading about them and their monotonous relationship problems. They kept running through the same basic scenarios and miscommunications without any hint of character growth, and while there’s still room for more development considering this is only the first installment in a trilogy, I’d have liked for there to be something that showed even a little progress. As sympathetic as Talasyn’s situation was, I just found her annoying by the end since she just kept behaving the same way over and over again. Alaric was slightly more interesting since it’s clear he’s been shaped by fear of his ruthless father, but this installment doesn’t explore that enough to make him truly fascinating, just a little more compelling than the other main character.

Although The Hurricane Wars didn’t work for me, it might work better for those who are looking for Star Wars fanfiction with characters inspired by Rey and Kylo Ren. I did not realize that this novel was based on this when I first heard about it, and even though I am not invested in these characters, I remained excited about reading it even after I learned this: after all, just because I’m not personally a fan of the inspiration doesn’t mean it can’t be remade into a work I’d like.

However, the primary focus of this novel seemed to be banter/bickering and what-could-have-been scenarios involving getting closer then pulling away with characters that didn’t have a lot of original personality, and Alaric sounds exactly like Kylo Ren anytime his appearance is described. Given that I’m more interested in relationships with depth and characters that are more fleshed out, I have no plans to continue this series. (I was also disappointed by the lack of focus on the “strange beasts” mentioned in the book announcement, although I suspect there will be more about them in the next book.)

My Rating: 4/10

Where I got my reading copy: Finished copy from the publisher.

Read an Excerpt from The Hurricane Wars