Storm Thief: Not for the full of stomach

book review Chris Wooding Storm Thiefyoung adult fantasy book review Chris Wooding Storm ThiefStorm Thief by Chris Wooding

From the get go, Storm Thief has you on the edge of your seat. Chris Wooding once again creates a very vivid and realistic world full of danger and suspense, and the characters to go along with it. We meet stone-hearted villains, a frightened and bewildered half-machine-half-man creation, a day-dreaming thief, and many more. This is not for the faint of heart, or the full of stomach.

Orokos is an isolated city on an island in the middle of a vast ocean. It’s immensely over-populated, so the poor, the weak, and the sick find themselves living in the slums. If you find yourself inhabiting this cut-throat environment, there is no way out. Many come to live in the slums after being affected by one of the probability storms that plague the city. These unpredictable storms are caused by the chaos engine and they can change your eye colour, make your bones turn into glass, make buildings crumble or vanish, change the layout of the entire city, transport you to another place, or make you lose a body part, all in the blink of an eye. A probability storm is not like any natural storm; There is no rain, or lightning — just colourful waves of energy accompanied by a deathly calm as all the inhabitants of Orokos cower and pray that they are not next.

Rail and Moa are thieves in the slums of Orokos. Rail is a level-headed boy with the stealth of a creeping cat. After being touched by a probability storm, he is no longer able to breathe freely and must wear a respirator. Moa’s parents have been taken away by the protectorate. She’s a daydreamer who believes in a place beyond Orokos. While on an assignment from the thief mistress, Rail and Moa find an old and powerful artifact which may give them the key to (and the means of escape from) Orokos.

The plot twists and turns in Storm Thief are as unexpected as the probability storms. When you think you know what will happen next, Wooding takes the story in an entirely new direction. These twists are unpredictable, but they make sense. Wooding does not add anything extra, and everything he puts in has importance, if only to be realized at the end. There aren’t any wasted words in this book.

My one complaint is that I thought the characterization was inconsistent. Rail has depth; there is reason for everything he does, his personality is well-explained. We can understand Rail and how, by living in the slums of Orokos, he got to be the way he is.  Moa, on the other hand, does not make as much sense. She is a daydreamer and she’s clumsy, giddy, and a bit careless. This is hard to believe because she lives in the most cut-throat and dreary part of the island, she steals and kills for a living, but her trust in her surroundings and carefree attitude should have gotten her killed already. We are told that she is deep and that there is turmoil going on in her head, but we never see this.

Even with this minor quibble, I think Storm Thief is a must-read for teens who are looking for a different twist on fantasy, and who have a strong stomach. Don’t let the atmosphere put you off; Let it draw you in.

Storm Thief — (2006) Young adult. Publisher: Orokos is a city of chaos, lashed by probability storms that re-order the world wherever they strike. It covers every inch of the rocky island that it dominates. It has stood for so long that history has forgotten it, and its citizens no longer question what exists beyond its walls. Then three of its denizens discover a map that holds the key to the secret at the heart ofOrokos. But there are others, such as the Chief of the Protectorate Secret Police, who would do anything to get their hands on that power… anything at all…

SHARE:  facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail  FOLLOW:  facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrsstumblr

CAITLINN SKYE WALKER, one of our guest reviewers, is a teenager from southern Ontario. She is growing up in a small town, in a house much like Meggie and Mortimer Folchart’s house in Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart books — full of books from floor to ceiling. The first fantasy novel Caitlinn ever read was A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, and she has loved the genre ever since.

View all posts by Caitlinn Skye Walker (guest)

2 comments

  1. Thanks for the review – I’ve been seesawing on whether or not I should read this – and I’m a bit scared of books I can’t have a full stomach with. :)

  2. :lightbulb: You found me a new author, thank you. I have no problem with reading things other people find off putting and some times the darker the merrier. This synopsis on Storm Thief puts me in mind of one of the Crimson City series books but cannot remember which one. Thanks for the review now to go find me some books… :thumb: :laugh: :laugh: :-)) :-))

    jackie b central texas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>