Review: ‘Stormcaller’ by R.K. MacPherson

Stormcaller

Power always carries a price…

For Isaura Durand, homeless life on the streets of Seattle posed plenty of challenges. She didn’t ask to become a witch. She didn’t understand how it would change her, but when she awakens to her power, Isaura finds herself plunged into a brutal struggle with dark forces.

Thrust into the heart of Seattle’s eldritch world, Isaura uncovers a series of ritual sacrifices designed to unleash magic’s true power upon the world.

Allied with a grumpy Norwegian mage, a Native American shaman on a Harley, and a beautiful medic, Isaura must overcome her own demons and her growing list of enemies. Victory is anything but certain, and to survive, Isaura must embrace her potential and become the…

STORMCALLER

Before I start this review, I should point out that I’m an editor in my day job, which means that I am among the world’s worst grammar nazis. I say this because Stormcaller is a book with so much potential, and you may not be as sensitive to its flaws as I am.

The story is fast-paced; we’re thrown into the action from the start, with Isaura waking up to her new magical powers and immediately nearly having her face eaten off by a demon. The fight scenes, especially the way Marius does his magic, remind me of Final Fantasy, one of my favourite computer game franchises. There’s also a sweet romance between Isaura and Chloe (yay, diversity!), which I loved.

The banter between Isaura, her mentor Coyote (aka Jack), and Marius — the mage who takes her in after her powers awaken — is golden, and often had me in stitches. Isaura causes a lot of her own problems, with her extremely poor lack of self control; at one point Marius describes her as having “the impulse control of a hyperactive chaos demon”. #nailedit

So Stormcaller is a good book. It could have been a mindblowing book with a professional edit. Part of it was a number of copy-editing issues, which is why I mention the grammar nazi thing upfront. The other niggles I had were with things that I’d like to imagine a good editor would’ve pointed out.

One is that the story takes a while to really get flowing, in that there are some kinks in the first few chapters. (Marius takes her in after her initiation, letting her sleep in his shop, but the circumstances were a little confusing to me. Once he gets the flat, it sorts itself out.)

Another issue was the unexpected heat level of the sex scene between Isaura and Chloe. Although both girls are around 18, the book reads like a young adult until you get to this scene, which is, ahem, quite explicit. Not to the point of being outright erotica, but it’s pretty close.

Finally, and I admit this is quite minor, Marius’s brother is named Darius. I regularly got confused about who we were discussing. (I’m easily confused.) :p

This is a regretful 3.5 stars for me — regretful as it’s exactly the sort of story I love: urban fantasy with a strong female lead and a well-developed magic system. The lesbian relationship was something I haven’t read much of, but I loved that too.

Three-and-a-half stars

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