The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke

“The Gibber stretched to the horizon in all directions, a flat tableland, with small stones strewn across a shiny, crusted surface of gleaming deep mauve. Here and there a few tiny plants survived on moisture that condensed from the air at night. There wasn’t much: saltbush, spiny beggarchild and gummy plant. None grew more than a few inches in height, preferring to creep along the ground rather than reach towards the desert sun. The earth in between glistened with tiny fragments of purple and pearl-coloured mica as if the plain was sheened with starlight. All that was normal, but he spared a moment to envy his brother as he absorbed the scene: he would have liked a name like Mica, named after something so shiny. By contrast, the rock shale around his settle was always so grey and dull and dirty.”

The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke

The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke was so epic and stunning in every possible way! 

I adore big chunky fantasy series where the world-building is massive and intricate, pulling me in and driving me to read another page, leaving me with more questions as the story unravels. This book delivered in all those aspects. It was really hard to put this book down.

In the Quartern cities, water is rare. Hundreds of years ago, rain fell randomly (called The Time of Random Raining) which led to chaos as people were not getting the water they needed. But as the book opens, a Stormlord is responsible for creating storms and moving them so the rain falls where it’s most needed. 

Yet the Stormlord who controls all the water of the Quartern cities is dying. There’s only so much time left for the rainlords to find the next Stormlord. They travel to every city and village in an attempt to locate a child who can be trained, but most of the gift seems to have died out, forcing them to make hard decisions such as cutting off entire sections of the cities from ever receiving water again. 

Shale lives in a poor desert village. He mostly spends his days working and trying to help his family survive. His father seems to be a harsh father figure, but he has his brother and sister who he loves. Shale also has a secret. He can hear the water, sense it in a way no one else can. But he is forbidden to speak of it to anyone. Yet when the rainlords come to his village to test the children for water gifts, he may not have a choice. 

Terelle is a young girl working in a snuggery (similar to a brothel). She mostly spends her days helping clean and run orders to the rooms. She dreads the day that she will come into her womanhood as this means she will begin working for the snuggery in a different way. As Opal, the snuggery’s owner, starts to hint at this coming, Terrelle wants nothing more than to find a way to escape this life. But no one wants to pay the her debt, and Terrelle is willing to do anything to get out. 

The lives of these characters begin to intersect as their lives change in many ways. There is such a huge layer of tension in this novel because each character seems to be on a ticking clock. There’s only so much time to find a new Stormlord. There’s only so much time for Terrelle to get out of the snuggery. Shale can only hide his gift for so long. There is only so much water left. But the way Glenda Larke weaves this story is brilliant. It really is a fantastic novel.

I will mention that this book does have a few dark scenes. If you read grimdark fantasy, you will likely be okay with those. They may be hard to read. One was so haunting for me that it definitely gave me a nightmare. But I still highly recommend this book! I have so many questions about the world and characters that I want answered so I can’t wait to read the second one in this series.

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