(As always, a big thanks your to the fab bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish for this weekly meme!)
It's not about the power to rain down storms from the sky at will (or not in some cases). It's not about riding a monsterous, flesh-eating war horse. No, Nym is one of my favourite characters ever commited to the printed page because she kicks ass in spite of that. Sold into slavery and changing owners since she was a little kid, she'd be forgiven for lightning-zapping her way through anyone who crossed her. But she doesn't. Instead it's her compassion and desire to help rather than harm that lead her to become something more than just a weapon and the ultimate book themes of choice, compassion and redemption play out through perfectly through this prickly, headstrong, fiercely determined character.
Ee-o-ghan? O-gan? Owen? I've never been 100% sure that I'm saying this character's name right in my head, but I love the character and his utterly adorable relationship with Nym. The fact that this character is a poc and the book doesn't make a big song and dance of an interacial pairing (as it quite rightly shouldn't. It's 2016 after all!) is an added breath of fresh air.
3. World building
From the feudal, slave-supported land of Faelen, to the steampunk-esque Bron, to the crystal castle of Cashlin, this series is world building 101. Ok, Tulla may get a bit of a fly by, literally, but everwhere else is vividly described and richly imagined. A world to get lost in!
4. Epic bad guys
You know those books that profess that their big bad is something to be really, truly feared? They're the horror stories that make sure kids are home before dark and no one really knows fact from fiction when it comes to tales about them - although both are equally horrific? And then they're introduced and they're just a bit ... limp? Or they smarm and talk a good game, but spend more time monologuing than actually doing anything to justifiy their "bad guy" tag? Well Storm Siren's big bad, Draewulf, is the first half of that, but Mary Weber delivers the villanous goods! Even when he's not on the page, the spectre of the man/monster looms large over the story, and when he is on the page ... ooooh, it's so good!
5. World map
My heart always lifts when I open a fantasy book to a world map. It's great to get lost in a book, but it's even better to know where you're going.
I've heard a few people bemoan the love triangle in book one between Nym, Eogan and Colin, but I didn't read it that way. To me, Colin is Nym's friend and nothing more. Ok, he's that slightly irritating, little-brother type friend who tries it on after one drink too many, but he brings much needed comic relief to the story that can get a bit heavy.
7. Princess Rasha
If I read one more book where our beautiful protagonist (who swears blind that she's, like, totally plain) has to deal with a pretty mean girl, I will throw said book out of the window. It's tired, it's boring and it's the worst kind of female stereotyping. Which is why I love the friendship between Nym and Cashlin princess Rasha in this series. No girl-on-girl hate here!
The steampunk twist of giant metal airships is brilliant! No more riding for days across a realm that seems to get bigger or smaller depending on whether the plots needs to move more slowly or quickly.
The world building is fantastic, but the incredible descriptions of the beautful, if thoroughly impractical, crystal castle of Cashlin are standout. I pity the person responsible for keeping the fingerprints and smudges off that!
10. The moral of the story...
I won't give away too much about the story for those who haven't read the books - what are you waiting for!? Go, go go! - but it's so much more than unique and special snowflake accepts her destiny (can you tell I'm getting a bit of YA cliche burn-out at the moment?). The lessons of compassion, acceptance and sacrifice are so beautifully woven through the story it was only when I was digesting everything for my reviews that I realised how strong they were. It's refreshing for books to give the readers credit to pick up the subtext without smacking them around the head with it at every given opportunity.
So, there you have it- my ten favourite things around the Storm Siren trilogy. Plus my absolute insistence that you read it, right now! And if you already have, join me in raves in the comments, I'll love you forever!