Review: Dark Tempest by Annette Marie

Reviewed by Ronelle

Emi has dedicated her life to becoming the perfect vessel for the goddess Amaterasu, but the betrayal of another deity has changed everything. Now Amaterasu has charged her with finding and freeing the earthly gods before mankind is brought to its knees beneath divine tyranny.

Shiro, mysterious as ever, is at her side and he is still lost, his power bound by a devastating curse and his memories obscured. His shadowed history is somehow tied to the missing gods, but he can’t remember how or why. But as their search leads them into the deepest reaches of the spirit realm, Shiro’s past begins to emerge and with each brief awakening of his true self, Emi loses a little more of him.

The fate of gods, humans, and even Shiro himself now rest in Emi’s hands. Does she have enough time to save them all?

***

I shouldn’t have waited so long after finishing Red Winter to start this one and for a minute, I was afraid I’d lost the spark. It took a little while to get back into the story, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. Seriously, if I didn’t have adulting to do, I’d have read this in one straight shot and then immediately continued with Book Three… because cliffhangers like this are just mean.

Emi is one of the purest, most beautiful characters I’ve ever come across. She’s innocent, sweet, but so completely determined to see her task through to the end. Her ability to look beyond herself for the good of others is humbling and it kinda breaks your heart a little. She understands love in a way that’s rare for humanity and it earns her the respect of gods. But she isn’t the unrelatable, unattainable, slightly intimidating figure she’s regarded as by the guji and the other mikos; she’s also very human, with human fears, human joys, and human burdens. She’s started embracing life and that includes her attraction to Shiro. And while I wouldn’t categorize this series as a romance per say (it’s so much more than that), the thread does run through the story and its presence is much stronger than in Red Winter. Emi and Shiro’s love is one of those delicious, slow-burn kind of things and I can’t wait to find out where they ultimately wind up. (And in case you were wondering, Yumei is still yummy and awesome and more than a little terrifying. He kicks some major ass, too.)

In addition to great characters, Ms. Marie penned a rich, vivid world for this story to take place in. The melding of magic, mythology, and formal, almost archaic religious practices with what could easily be modern-day Japan is surprisingly perfect. The modern stuff only shows up in hints and glimpses, more of a backdrop than anything else, and I’m glad because I feel like anything more intrusive would ruin the supernatural elements. Oh, and spoiler alert: there are spiders and dragons. Big, awful, magic spiders and dragons that are creepy as fuck and totally the stuff of your nightmares. I’m pretty sure I held my breath through those entire sections. *shudder*.

Although I was gifted a print copy of Dark Tempest, I ended up buying the audio version and it was fantastic. Emily Woo Zeller was the perfect narrator and I now know how some of the words should be pronounced, which is a nice bonus. Her voice as both narrator and characters captured the life of this story and gave it an atmosphere I think I would have missed in the print version–though that does have some gorgeous illustrations, so definitely check it out.

Bottom line: In this case, I totally condone judging a book by its cover, because the story is just as amazingly beautiful as the artwork. Ms. Marie has truly created something unique and captivating with this trilogy and now I’m off to read Immortal Fire because I just might die if I don’t find out what happens.

Rating: A+

**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Click to purchase: Amazon

Dark Tempest
by Annette Marie
Release Date: January 6, 2017
Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc

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