Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Storm’s Heart by Thea Harrison

Dear Ms. Harrison,

As a Paranormal reader and reviewer, the concept of a series is both the blessing and bane of my existence. Ever heard of a stand-alone Paranormal? I’ve gotta look around and see if they actually occur…but back to the matter at hand. After the first book, it’s crystal clear as to whether I’ll continue the series. But then I’m faced with worry: will the author’s work in the second (third, ninth…what have you) measure up? And if it doesn’t, do I pray that the author rediscovers the magic that made the first book so special and plow ahead? Because of this insanity, I have a tendency to sit on books until I’ve worked up the mental courage to dive in and read. I nearly put Storm’s Heart aside to “read later” an am so happy I didn’t.

Storm's Heart by Thea HarrisonThistle “Tricks” Periwinkle was the engine behind Culebre Enterprises PR machine and a princess in hiding, until Dragos, Pia and the sentinels killed the evil Dark Fae Urien Lorelle back in Dragon Bound. Tricks was under Dragos’ protection and (no spoiler here) had a major secret: she’s Niniane Lorelle, the heir to the Dark Fae throne and the one that got away from Urien Lorelle’s killing spree 200 years ago. After revealing her identity, Niniane goes to Chicago on her own to meet with the Dark Fae delegation befor crossing over into Dark Fae land for her coronation. Now, you know that a lost Dark Fae princess with bajillions of enemies stepping into a power vacuume won’t have a problem at all right? Riiiiight. You may ask, “well why the fuck would Dragos let her go off on her own?” Solid reasoning here folks: Niniane can’t be seen as an agent of the Wyr; she needs to stand on her own two feet to take her crown. Of course, there’s someone (or someones…I’m not going to give anything away here, but an astute reader will probably figure it out once the baddie(s) appear) who doesn’t want that to happen and wants the Dark Fae crown all to themselves. Within hours of arriving in Chi-town Niniane is the victim of an assassination attempt that’s caught on some moron’s cell phone camera. Dragos sends Tiago Black Eagle to Chicago to find Niniane and figure out what’s going on. I’d hate to be that moron when the sentinels arrive.

Tiago is ancient and in his Wyr form is the legendary giant thunderbird. In human form I’m guessing he looks quite a bit like a Native American version of Dwayne Johnson ’cause that’s something that Niniane put into my head, which doesn’t suck. Tiago headed up Dragos’ private army, and being in New York after the, er, disposal of Urien Lorelle is making him a bit stir crazy:

Vengeance, served hot. That had been Tiago’s kind of party.

Since then all he had been doing was cleanup and busywork. Make sure all involved Goblins were dead, check. Chase down and slaughter any Dark Fae that had been part of Urien’s party, check. Go to sleep with his thumb up his ass, check.”

Tiago’s relationship with Niniane is more distant than the other sentinels simply due to geography. When he sees the awful video footage of Niniane being attacked by her cousin he’s enraged that someone is trying to hurt her and he immediately volunteers for a “leave of absence” and goes to track her down. When he finds her in a Motel 6, I was sure they were going to burn the place down with all that heat.

He glowered, thrown off balance by his own intense, unwelcome reaction. Rein it in, stud. Under the reek of smoke he could smell feminine perfume and – was that the scent of blood?

“Oh, you shouldn’ta done that,” Niniane said. Large upside-down Fae eyes tried to focus on him. “Breaking and entering. That’s against the law.” She sniggered.

Tiago took refuge from his strange feelings in the much more familiar emotion of aggression. “What are you doing?” he demanded. “What do you mean ‘go back to New York’? Do I smell blood?”

“I can only answer one question at a time, you know,” she said. With remarkable dignity, considering. “I am hanging my head over to hear the wind blow. I never did get that bit in the lyrics. Who hears the wind blow when they hang their head over? Hang their head over what? What does that even mean? Do you know?”

He had no idea what she was babbling about. Something about the stupid song she had been trying to sing. He pushed the door shut with a foot and strode over to stub out the smoldering cigarette. “This is disgusting,” he snapped. “Why haven’t you called? We’ve been worried sick about you.”

“Whoa,” she said. She looked up-or down, as it were-at Tiago’s crotch, which had stopped right in front of her. He was one scary mean-looking oversized barbarian, in black jeans, black boots and black leather vest. He bristled with weapons and anger, and muscles bulged everywhere. His crotch sported a significant bulge too. A very significant bulge. She licked her lips. She might be drunk but she wasn’t dead. She wouldn’t be forgetting this sight in a hurry.

Obsidian eyes glittered. “Tricks, what the hell? Seriously.”

What follows is a superb game of cat, mouse and politics.

Storm’s Heart doesn’t have the same geographic range as Dragon Bound, but doesn’t lack for action. The book plays a superb game of cat, mouse and politics as the Dark Fae, a few Vampires, the Wyr sentinels and humans work it out in Chicago and the Dark Fae demesne. The small geographic range gives us time to really get to know Tiago and Niniane. Tiago is a scowly alpha guy, but his inner dialogue is grimly humorous and he deals with himself and his feelings toward Niniane honestly.

MINI SPOILER: [spoiler]That Tiago is more than content to play second fiddle to Niniane in absolutely every way except when it comes to her security had me so darn happy.[/spoiler]

Initially Niniane thinks she’s playing the part of Queen, but it’s obvious to both the reader and Tiago from the beginning that she’s got the royalty gene (whatever that may be) ingrained in her and she was meant to rule over her people with a firm but benevolent hand. Her struggles with her feelings, her Elizabeth I-like need to be seen as a “true” queen and the burden of the future of the Dark Fae are all shown through the course of the book. There were times that my heart ached for her, and times when I wanted to cheer because she refused to give up. Because this is a Paranormal, the violence wasn’t unexpected, and Ms. Harrison handles it well, rather than glossing over it she treats each character and their destiny seriously. Yes, there is a “mate” thing that happens with the Wyr, but it’s nice to know it’s not “fated mate”. However, once they get down to the mating business it’s one and done.

There is a clear preview of who’s up next in the series, and yeah…I can’t wait to find out all the secrets surrounding the next couple. I thoroughly enjoyed Storm’s Heart and am reading it again as I wait for Serpent’s Kiss. A-

~Shuzluva

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Sydney (better known by her handle, Shuzluva) knew that she wanted to be Han Solo's copilot after seeing Star Wars at the tender age of 5. She fell in love with romance novels over 20 years ago when she got her hands on Sandra Brown's Texas! trilogy, and in the mid 90's was overjoyed to discover romance writers had branched out into the world of SciFi/fantasy. While she enjoys the occasional contemporary or historical novel, the world of SciFi holds an unshakable fascination for her. Some of her favorite authors include Nalini Singh, Catherine Asaro and Kresley Cole, and she's always interested in adding new authors to the list.

19 Comments

  1. Jen at Red Hot Books
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 14:12:16

    Fantastic review. I agree 100%. I absolutely loved this book! I’m so glad Thea Harrison didn’t disappoint.

  2. Barbara
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 14:16:15

    I was so, so worried about this one since I loved Dragon Bound so much and figured it would fall to the curse of the sequel. Thank you for the wonderful review. It was already on my buy list but I feel better about diving in.

  3. Sarah J
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 15:11:41

    Good review. I have to be honest though, Storm’s Heart was a DNF for me (disappointing, since I love that Thea Harrison writes underutilized mythological creatures).

  4. Janine
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 15:17:52

    @Sarah J: I haven’t bought it yet, but I was thinking of doing so. Can you say why it was a DNF for you?

  5. Darlynne
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 18:04:00

    I was so highly skeptical about the first book: if that many people loved it, it had to be bad. Yeah, well, color me convinced and eager for this new one. I loved Tricks and am happy to add Thea Harrison to the short list of authors that make me hop up and down in anticipation.

  6. Sarah J
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 18:28:22

    @Janine I definitely see why people liked it (and I really wanted to like it myself, it was very similar to Dragon Bound in tone and characterization). The characters fell flat for me and the plot didn’t really do much to spice it up. It definitely wasn’t bad, it was just a bland read.

    Possible spoilers?

    I thought Tricks/Niniane didn’t have as much agency as I would have liked, especially for someone who was supposed to become the queen of the Dark Fay. Tiago seemed to make most of the decisions for her, or one of the other characters would pull her into a situation she needed Tiago to get her out of. She spent well above the first hundred pages wounded, whining, or hiding from her responsibilities as the next queen (or at least that’s how it seemed to me). I also just couldn’t buy her role as a future queen. She was pretty passive, and self-admittedly had few interests that would qualify her as the face of Dagos’ company, let alone a ruler.

    Tiago seemed sort of the stock paranormal hero, so he didn’t especially offset my disappointment with Niniane.

    At least until the point I read, the world of the fairies and the power structures there hadn’t been developed enough to keep me reading. Then there were inconsistencies like how Tricks could trust nobody, various elements were out to assassinate her, and she needed to stay sharp to take over her position as queen…so she went out with a single bodyguard to an unfamiliar bar with the stated intention of getting wasted and hooking up with a stranger? What?

    There were a bunch of nitpicky details that bugged me, like the comparing a character to an actor thing, unfortunately detailed descriptions of clothing (Tricks seems to have the fashion sense of a Spice Girl), etc.

    In sum, I guess Storm’s Heart just didn’t click. It wasn’t bad, I can totally see why people like it, but it just seemed to push all of my “I don’t care for this” buttons. You should definitely give it a shot, it’s just that this book didn’t work for me personally. I also have a huge TBR mountain right now, so I just wasn’t willing to sit through a whole book that wasn’t doing it.

    Sorry this post is so long.

  7. Janine
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 20:13:52

    @Sarah J: Thanks. I will still go ahead and read it as you suggested, but I appreciate your answer. I had an issue with Dragon Bound, that Pia had to be under guard so much, for her own safety, but I thought the chemistry between the main characters was great, and they were endearing. The pacing was good too. So I think I will read this one, but I’ll know not to expect too much.

  8. MichaeleneM
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 22:11:06

    This book is amazing (as was the previous one in the series)! I must say that Thea Harrison is now on my automatic buy list.

  9. Jane
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 22:15:50

    @Sarah J: No post is too long on DA! I actually understand what you are saying regarding Trix. My main complaint with this story is that I wish there had been more feisty, in your face Tricks, than the “I’m scared shitless” Tricks. I understand that it was one thing to be fearless when Dragos stood behind you but I had wished that her transformation into Niniane didn’t require her to be so fearful or such a “ninny”.

    However, even despite the issue regarding Tricks’ lack of agency, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. The chemistry between Niniane and Tiago worked well for me (as did Pia and Dragos).

    I do wish we would have seen more of the actual fae land and Niniane’s rule but maybe that will be for later books.

  10. Sarah J
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 23:16:30

    @Jane I agree about the chemistry between Pia and Dragos – Dragon Bound in general really worked for me.

    The next book in the series is about Carling and Rune, right? Both characters seem pretty gutsy so far, so I’m definitely looking forward to Serpent’s Kiss.

  11. Jane
    Aug 02, 2011 @ 08:05:29

    @Sarah J Yep. And the one after that is Oracle’s Moon, I believe, and that’s the one I am looking forward too.

  12. Debra
    Aug 02, 2011 @ 12:08:45

    I loved the first book and wasn;t sire how the second would hold up. But in the end I was very happy with the story. I did sometime wish that Trix was a little more fistey, but overall I loved this story.

  13. Estara
    Aug 03, 2011 @ 11:35:01

    SarahJ, I finished the book – but I have to say I was disappointed as well and am not going to buy more in the series. And I too can see that for readers who have different priorities the book would still work.

    I gave it two points because I still liked bits of it quite a bit.

  14. Connie
    Aug 05, 2011 @ 17:50:45

    I actually liked this one more than Dragon Bound…or rather I think I like Ninianne more than Pia. I liked Dragon Bound quite a bit but for some reason I keep thinking it fell apart for me at the end…most likely because Urien was suppose to be such a bad ass but then Dragos can just tear him into pieces…then why was he having so much issues with him before that? I like my villain to go out with a bang…or not at all,

    I liked Ninianne probably because I identified more with her…she’s funny a lot of the times and I feel like her fears are justified. I do admit this book suffered from the same problem as the last one as in the villain seemed dumb at the end. I do secretly hope for a fresher male characters in the paranormal/UF genre, especially those in a series. It’s hard for me to imagine that someone can be alpha male when they answer to someone else. The foreshadowing of characters in the next book also really intrigued me at first, but then with another one of Drago’s employment? I was hoping she would be with someone totally different and get more of the world building with the other demenses.

    @Janine, you’ll probably like this book, even if the characters may be lacking as compared to some other characters by other authors, I do think the world building is pretty good and I am looking forward to the next book…especially she’s putting them out so fast!

  15. Ivy
    Aug 07, 2011 @ 22:34:57

    I really enjoyed DRAGON BOUND so I’m looking forward to STORM’S HEART. Tricks was one of my favorite characters.

  16. wade2121
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 00:05:15

    Great review. I can’t wait to read this book!

  17. Now that I’ve offended everyone… | elisethroughthelookingglass
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 15:40:52

    [...] I will even admit to still enjoying shape changing, vampire, were-books (as long as they are well written/plotted). My current must buy is Thea Harrison’s Elder Race series. If you are interested in a review check out http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/overall-a-reviews/a-minus-reviews/review-storms-heart-by-thea-har…   [...]

  18. Review: Storm
    Jun 17, 2012 @ 15:05:50

    [...] Dear Author – A- [...]

  19. Sara
    Apr 10, 2014 @ 10:37:53

    @Sarah J:

    It’s the same for me, Sarah. And I totally agree with you.
    By the way, did you continue reading this series?

%d bloggers like this: