Title: Stormfront (Lords of Arcadia: Book Four)
Authors: John Goode and J.G. Morgan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Harmony Ink
Length: 254 Pages
Category: High Fantasy, Teen Fiction
At a Glance: Stormfront delivers an adventure fraught with danger and action, and a diverse reading experience which the authors deftly ended with a baited hook.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Kane’s ordinary life became anything but when he met his soul mate, Hawk, and was drawn into a world of enchantment with rules very different from the world he left behind. Together, Kane and Hawk are on a quest to prevent the destruction of the Nine Realms, and that means rescuing Hawk’s mother and putting a stop to Hawk’s father’s evil plans.
The end of the journey is within their sights at last, but time is running out. Kane and Hawk’s mission to free Titania from the Big Bad Wolf and save Athens from Oberon’s wrath will lead them through many different worlds. And their adventure won’t end there—they will have to face the one who has been pulling the strings and manipulating the situation all along before the Nine Realms will be safe. It’s a journey that will leave them—and everything else—irreparably changed.
Review: I could ask ten different people what their definition of romance is, and probably get ten different answers. If anyone were to ask me if this book is romantic, I’d have to give that question a ginormous yes, not only because it is, but because it is so for several different reasons. The relationships in the Arcadia series, especially that between Hawk and Kane, are everything you might think of when you think of fairy tale romance—the one significant difference being that I don’t buy into it because it fits a certain trope. I’m invested in Hawk and Kane’s relationship because of the time the authors have taken to build a loving and mutual respect between these two young heroes. They may be soul connected, their bond may defy any sort of real world definition, but what makes it realistic is that barring the magic that joins them, it doesn’t feel like an exaggeration to say that Hawk and Kane would still be each other’s everything. That, to me, is about as romantic as it gets.
And now is where I get to throw in a big BUT. But, this book is so much more than a teen romance, and I don’t want to boil it down to that because the world-building and attention to detail are what makes this series rock so hard. Borrowing characters and throwing in myriad fictional references from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Frankenstein, Jack and the Beanstalk, and who knows how many others I either missed or am forgetting, making your way through this novel is like a smile inducing easter egg hunt and an action-packed quest to save the world, all rolled into one. There’s never a moment where the writing team of John Goode and J.G. Morgan allow you to forget you’re in the midst of an epic fantasy, but there are times you might forget Hawk and Kane are so young because of the adult sized hero’s journey they have on their hands. This is one of the many details that elevates this novel; it shows the utmost respect for the intelligence of its teen audience, but it’s thanks to Kane’s point-of-view narration and his sly quips that we’re reminded he’s a contemporary teenager with fantastical powers. And it’s the sacrifices both he and Hawk make that remind us they’re deserving of their hero title.
Stopping Oberon, Hawk’s father, and rescuing Hawk’s mother, Titania, from an unexpected captor takes a lot of help, so the story is told from multiple points of view out of absolute necessity. Every single character—elves, a barbarian, a clockwork girl, sentient gems, and the Fates, just to name a few—plays a significant part in the carrying out of Hawk and Kane’s mission to keep the World Seed safe until it can be planted and the Nine Realms reunited. Through it all, the mission is met with suspenseful moments, uncertain alliances, and unimaginable sacrifice. Not to mention the sort of excellent writing that allows readers to picture every single fantastical scene as it’s playing out. The final scenes back in Athens, in the human realm and Kane’s hometown, are not only filled with some outstanding imagery, but there are some pretty awesome lessons on hand as well, ones I embraced for being true while avoiding being preachy. Not to mention it sets up some interesting character and story advancement as the series moves forward.
With plenty of “aw” moments, any number of reasons to smile and cheer and hold my breath in anticipation, Stormfront delivers an adventure fraught with danger and action, and a diverse reading experience which the authors deftly ended with a baited hook that has left me anticipating the next leg of the journey—one that is inherently and utterly romantic in its hope to resurrect true love.
You can buy Stormfront here: