Release Date: August 1st 2012
Publisher: Random House Australia
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: Random House AU for the review copy!
The rain wanted to be ocean; the ice in the mountain caps wanted freedom. I never knew that water held such longing. The clouds above my head rumbled like a growling wolf, impatient to release their burden. I held the rain there a moment longer. I turned to Renata, heard her gasp and knew my eyes glowed blue.
I spoke a single word. 'Rain.'
In the Second Book of Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden must travel across the sea to find the elusive ingredients that will help them to win the coming battle against the Lharmellin – but shadows from Rodden’s dark past may come back to haunt him. And while she learns to harness her new abilities, Zeraphina still fights the hunger that makes her crave the north – not to mention avoiding her mother, who wants to see her wayward daughter married to a prince at all costs
Given the trouble Zeraphina and Rodden caused in Lharmell at the end of Blood Song, it's no surprise to say things are changing in Blood Storm. But in a much subtle, devious, what-is-going-on kind of way. The weather has been far better in Armentia, for starters, and when the weather shifts, dear readers, you ought to be alarmed. Suspicious murders are on the rise, and Rodden's hackles are raised. Determined to find out what the Harmings are up to and who the new Lharmellin leader is, our delightful duo set upon a journey in search for materials fatal to the Lharmellins, so they can arm themselves and strike agai. Preferably before the Lharmellins and Harmings take over. A journey rife with danger, terrible secrets, entertaining banter and an ending that will shock!
Zeraphina is just as stubborn and feisty as ever; a girl who throws the standard notion of "Princess" off a cliff and stands proudly in defiance. She's growing into new abilities, courtesy of her Harming nature, which prove to be an exciting journey for both her and us. She and Rodden are, as always, simultaneously at odds with one another and yet fighting this burning attraction that is so obviously evident! You're growling at them both to give in already. But we're rewarded with something we've been waiting for just as long: answers to 'The Mystery of the Sexy and Infurating Rodden Lothskorn'. Thanks to Zeraphina's unwavering persistence, he reluctantly lets down his barriers to expose the devastating truth of his past. And oh, it will make you ache for him.
But knowing the truth doesn't mean these two are going to jump on the back of a brant and engage in some airborne romping. If anything, this revelation appears to cement the divide between them. Fear not, though, because the easy banter and blistering romantic tension are still ever present. It's just Zeraphina has a greater understanding of The Mystery Formerly Known As Rodden Lothskorn... so she's given reason to play by his annoyingly chaste rules. But how long can they really deny their feelings for one another?
Amidst the life and death of the Lharmell problem, Zeraphina has another shudder-worthy dark cloud hovering over her head.... marriage. Her 17th birthday is nearly upon her and Queen Renata, is adamant that her daughter marry. Oh Renata.... you want to hate her, scream at her in frustration, but there is something I find so delightfully amusing about her scenes. I think it's because Zeraphina does whatever she can to get under Renata's skin and she's not the perfect, obedient daughter. She's that wild child who Renata is desperate to reign in, but despite her efforts, it's clear she never will. This paves the way for some ridiculously entertaining scenes. But Zeraphina's stay in Armentia is not an entirely pleasant read. You know that type of Royal who has you wanting to claw the very skin off their face? Yeah, we meet a man of such breed and I VERY MUCH WANTED TO CLAW THE SKIN OFF HIS FACE.
The ending. Don't even.... I don't want to... just don't ask. I had to reread the last couple of pages as soon as I finished, just to make sure I read it right. WHAT. THE. LHARMELLINS DO YOU THINK YOU'RE PLAYING AT, MISS HART?! You can't DO that and then cackle madly from your throne (likely carved from humans, she's so EVIL) and tell us we have to wait until the next book to see what happens next. YOU HORRID LADY. It's.... definitely a cliffhanger. A cruel, 'WHAT THE EFF?' moment that has you not quite wanting to believe what just happened. And I don't, for your information. I JUST DON'T, OKAY?
Despite the cruelty of the final pages, there's no denying Rhiannon Hart is a brilliant Aussie talent, treating us to a thrilling sequel that oozes with danger, mystery, a feisty, ever complicated romance, and a climax to leave you breathless. You'll be begging for the third installment in the trilogy by the time you reach the acknowledgements page, because... DAMN YOU, RHIANNON!
4.5/5 Golden Apples!