From one of the most exciting new storytellers in epic fantasy, Son of the Storm is a sweeping tale of violent conquest and forgotten magic set in a world inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa.
“Everything I love in a fantasy novel. Damn good stuff!” —Jenn Lyons, author of The Ruin of Kings
In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—only he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy.
But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.
Before We Begin…
Thank you so much to Orbit for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
I liked this book. However, while it started off extremely interesting, and ended amazing, the middle was, well, boring. Eep! I feel so bad saying that. It just didn’t capture my attention. There was a TON of world building and conflict build up. And while I like those things, I need action to go along with it. Alright, let’s get on with this adventure!
When I visited the Continent of Oon I went to three places. The first place was Bassa. Bassa is a confusing city of crisscrossed roads and packed with people. There are 15 districts with the richest being district 1. They don’t let anyone in district 1 unless you have the darkest of skin. If you have lighter skin (light brown), you are considered lesser. Bassa used to be a mighty empire but in recent times they have a group of men who run the country. They still “rule” most of the continent but their power is weakening.
Another place I visited was the Breathing Forest. I do not recommend going there. It was scary and full of creatures that no one thought actually existed. And the forest, well, breaths. Like an earthquake every few hours. If you make it out of the forest alive, you would be one of very few who have. IF you do make it out, you might end up in Wudasha, the third place I visited. Wudasha is the place that the “lighter” skin go. The place where those who are half Bassai and half from the Savanna Belt live. They are only slightly free here. However, they are still under Bassa’s thumb. Wudasha is run by The Youth. Don’t let the name fool you. They are all women. And they are scary good at their job. Wudasha is not as nice as Bassa but there at least you are free to do almost what you please and not be a slave. There is great unrest there because lets say that there is a wanted person or group from Bassa, Bassa has every right to charge right in and get them weather Wudasha wants them to or not.
There were quite a few guides who took me on this adventure so I will stick with the main 3. Danso. Ah poor Danso. He is what you call very book smart but not street smart. He has good intentions but not the best execution all the time. He is very inquisitive and a quick learner. He is much more than what he seems. I personally think he seems very sweet. His heart knows that he is meant for more, as well as his people. They deserve better. Along with Danso I met Lilong. Lilong is from the islands. Lilong is the most hated person of Oon. She is “yellow skinned” (we would know them as a person with albinism), with yellow hair, and light brown eyes. She carries a power that has not been seen for centuries. She is extremely distrustful (rightly so). She fights hard. And she will do anything to save her people. My last guide was Esheme. If you meet her, run. She is a psychopath. She has no feelings and would probably like to watch you be flayed. She takes ambition to a whole other level. She will hunt you down if you accidentally bump into her.
Smells, Fashion, Food
In Bassa, depending on the district you are in, you will smell oils, perfumes, and spices. Wrappers are absolutely in fashion right now. Depending on how you wrap them, they will help show your status. Don’t ever get mud on them though. Pair that with the right number of arches in your hair as well as paint on your face befitting your station and you are well on your way to becoming a true Bassai. There is not too much food to go around because Bassa closed their borders due to a yellow skinned assassin. So salted meat must be eaten first before it goes bad. You can also buy food like yams, watermelon, pawpaws, and soursop.
There are two creatures I remember meeting. One is the Kwaga. They have striped equine coats, polished double horns, and massive hooves. Only the wealthier are lucky enough to have these to ride on. The second creature I met on my travels was the Skopi. I do not recommend. If you see this particular creature thought to be a legend, run. This giant bat-like thing also has the power to call lightening from the skies. If you see it, you are most likely about to die.
I read a lot of reviews where people were mad at the author for using the term “yellow skin”. I read his response and here is my take. First of all the author is from and lives in Nigeria. He based his book on ancient African empires. There is no other nation mentioned in this book other than those that would be equivalent to African. In the ancient civilizations, they did kill those that were of light skin and enslaved those who were lighter brown. Only the darkest were thought to be pure. When he says “yellow skin” he is referring to those with albinism. And I believe it is still a derogatory statement within the fantasy world of Oon.
The art print is one I own and took a picture of. The artist is La_draw.s on Instagram. The print is of Danso, the author’s original character.