02 May 2010
By: D.B. Ketting
The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke
Glenda Larke’s newest series, Watergivers, begins with The Last Stormlord. The Last Stormlord is set in a ruthless desert land where water is sacred and everything is built around it, from their religion to their social hierarchy.
A small percentage of the population, called Stormlords, have the ability to sense or manipulate water. Stormlords are born with the ability, with varying degrees of talent, to extract fresh water from the faraway seas, form the water into a vaporous mass and guide those clouds across long stretches of empty desert until they break them open and let the rain fall onto rocky watercourses that drain into to the aquifers that supply life to the various cities and peoples of the Quartern. The most important person in this world is the Cloudmaster, who is the most talented of all Stormlords. Life is sustained by the will of the Cloudmaster.
The Cloudmaster is dying in his tower and there is no stormlord heir to take his place because all the potential young men and women all have died in baffling circumstances.
One of the interesting parts about this novel is that one would assume that this story would be told from the last stormlord's point of view but it is not. The novel instead focuses on the hopes for the the future as well as possible characters who's shoulders carry this hope. There are quite a few characters that have narrative though there are two characters, Shale and Terelle, that to me particularly stand out and are easiest to emphasize with. We, the readers, meet Shale as a child who's virtually an outcast in his poor village but he has a secret. We also meet Terelle as a child slave working in a brothel type establishment realizing that this is not the life she wants. As the the two young protagonists grown and mature they are caught up in a nicely convoluted story that has just the right amounts of innocence, intrigue and treachery. Along the way we read about how religion impacts life, desert nomads who ride ride giant centipedes and cities that are built in tiered levels, to better to manage the flow of water from the rich and privileged to the poor.
I love how the history of the Quartern and her cities is so detailed and well designed not to mention how wonderfully vivid the author paints her world for her readers. I would recommend The Last Stormlord to anyone who loves reading about original worlds that are well-designed or just wants to try something different. This book serves as a wonderful introduction to a must read fantasty author.
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