Storm Breaking: A satisfactory ending

Storm Breaking by Mercedes Lackey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsStorm Breaking by Mercedes Lackey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsStorm Breaking by Mercedes Lackey

The final book in Mercedes Lackey’s MAGE STORMS trilogy is Storm Breaking, which should be read after Storm Warning and Storm Rising. (Expect mild spoilers for those books in this review.)

In the previous books, we met some new characters, former enemies of Valdemar, who have now become allies and are working with our Valdemaran friends to stop the mage storms that threaten to destroy their entire world. At the end of both Storm Warning and Storm Rising, they had managed to temporarily delay the destruction, but now they know the worst storm is coming and they must figure out how to stop it or they’ll all die.

Some of our main characters, including Karal and Firesong, are now living in a tower which is buried in the Dorisha Plains. This is a welcome change of scenery (especially for someone, like me, who always loves an underground setting). The tower is where their quest led them in Storm Rising. Here they’ve discovered Urtho’s Vault, a storehouse containing dangerous magical weapons, one of which was used to temporarily stop the mage storms in the last book. While some of the team want to return home, others insist on staying to make more discoveries. The decision is made when the portals become unstable and they can’t get home.

Storm Breaking by Mercedes Lackey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsMeanwhile Elspeth, Darkwind, and some others from Valdemar are going to meet their former enemy Grand Duke Tremaine. They’re traveling in winter and Lackey does a good job making me feel the cold. Tremaine’s men, who think they’ve been exiled from the Eastern empire, are treating him like their king. The folks from the village they’ve settled in are happy to welcome Tremaine as their new leader, too.

We finally get to see what’s actually happening back in the Eastern empire. The emperor is losing control as his health gradually fails and his people continue to have trouble dealing with the effects of the mage storms. When the emperor finds out that Tremaine has defected, he appoints a different heir — one that is not nearly as honorable as Grand Duke Tremaine. In fact, this new guy is quite anxious to ascend the throne and has no scruples about hastening the demise of its current occupant. This storyline is amusing and sometimes clever.

Fans of the VALDEMAR saga will learn a lot about the history of Valdemar, Karse, and the Eastern empire in Storm Breaking. Though there are some slow spots, especially when Firesong is pondering his life, the story is mostly entertaining. It’s a satisfactory ending to the MAGE STORMS trilogy.

I recommend the audio editions (Audible Studios) of the MAGE STORMS novels. They’re narrated by David Ledoux.

Published in 1997. As Storm Breaking opens, the western allies, led by Karal, Karsite Sunpriest and delegate to the Valdemaran Court, and the Adepts Firesong and An’desha, have traveled deep into the Dorisha Plains to locate the ancient ruins of the Tower of Urtho, Mage of Silence, creator of the gryphons. Legend has it that below the Tower, deeply buried beneath the plains, is Urtho’s Vault, hidden stronghold of some of the most powerful magical weapons ever devised – weapons that Urtho himself felt were too dangerous to use. With the help of the Shin’a’in plainsmen, they have successfully excavated this ancient arsenal, and risked their lives triggering one of these antique but potent tools of death to unleash a monstrous burst of mage-energy. With this explosion of magical power, Karal, Firesong, and their companions have temporarily counteracted the ever-increasing waves of the mage storms. But they know that this desperate action will not save them – they have bought themselves precious time, but are still far from a permanent solution. They know now that the mage storms are an “echo” through time of the prehistoric Cataclysm which destroyed Urtho’s Tower, created the vast and barren Dorisha Plains, and permanently warped their world more than two thousand years ago. And they also know that if they don’t find a way to banish these magical vibrations they will culminate in another Cataclysm – this time destroying their world for good. But the Vault is not the only thing buried for centuries below the Dorisha Plains, and camped in the ruins of what once was the workplace of the most ingenious mage their world has ever known, the desperate allies soon come to realize that their solution may lie beneath the dust at their feet. The saving of their world just might be accomplished by the work of a man who has been dead for millennia!

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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