Thursday, February 13, 2014

Let the Storm Break by Shannon Messenger: a review in comparison

Let the Storm Break
by Shannon Messenger
Read: January 13 - 17, 2014
Published: March 4, 2014 by Simon Pulse
Source: Edelweiss
Category: PNR, wind Sylph, YA
Series: Sky Fall #2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon


Whirlwind romance and breathtaking action continues in the sequel to Let the Sky Fall, which Becca Fitzpatrick called “charged and romantic.” 

Vane Weston is haunted. By the searing pull of his bond to Audra. By the lies he’s told to cover for her disappearance. By the treacherous winds that slip into his mind, trying to trap him in his worst nightmares. And as his enemies grow stronger, Vane doesn’t know how much longer he can last on his own.

But Audra’s still running. From her past. From the Gales. Even from Vane, who she doesn’t believe she deserves. And the farther she flees, the more danger she finds. She possesses the secret power her enemy craves, and protecting it might be more than she can handle—especially when she discovers Raiden’s newest weapon.

With the Gale Force weakened by recent attacks, and the power of four collapsing, Vane and Audra are forced to make a choice: keep trusting the failing winds, or turn to the people who’ve betrayed them before. But even if they survive the storms sent to destroy them, will they have anything left to hold on to?
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I was really excited to read Let the Sky Fall when it released last year, and while I thought the concept and mythology was unique and interesting, the story never grabbed me like I'd hoped. I actually wasn't sure if I'd continue the series or not. But then I read a post Shannon Messenger wrote on her blog about love triangles (find it HERE), and whether there would be one in book two, Let the Storm Break. In the post, Messenger said that she is not a fan of love triangles, but does believe in both tension and testing of a relationship.

As someone who thinks about love triangles a lot more than should be recommended, I was very curious about how Vane and Audra's relationship would play out in book two, and immediately decided to read it. That was a great decision, because Let the Storm Break blew my expectations out of the water, and completely changed my perspective on this series.  

A comparison of my experience reading the first two books:

Let the Sky Fall 
Go HERE to see my full review of this book.

1) This gorgeous cover immediately drew me to the book.
2) Besides the cover, I was excited that this story is about Sylph or wind walkers. Once I started reading, I found the mythology to be interesting, but I wanted to experience more of the Sylph culture, instead of just hearing about it from Audra.  
3) I thought the plot was slow moving moving overall (even though it takes place in just 5 days). I wished for a bit more tension and excitement.
4) The romance didn't give me as many feels as I'd hoped. I wanted to connect more to Vane and Audra as a pair. 
5) Loved Audra and Vane's distinct voices and especially how typical 'teen' Vane read. 
6) Missed the lack of strong secondary characters in the book. Mostly of the story is just Vane and Audra together. I wanted to interact with more of Audra's sylph world.
7) After finishing this book, I still thought the series had potential overall and was hesitant, but hopeful going forward.   

Let the Storm Break

1) Another beautiful cover.
2) This installment features a lot more information about Sylph power, how they manipulate winds and different gifts. This pleased me.  
3) The danger and excitement level is much higher. More windstorms and fighting. We also meet the bad guy Raiden and the fight with him becomes far more complicated and difficult. Book two felt much faster paced as a whole. 
4) Audra and Vane interact with a larger variety of people. Mostly other Sylphs. This added some great tension and complexity to their relationship and the overall plot. 
5) I like the way the book acknowledges Audra and Vane's quick bond. It is addressed by both Audra and Vane, as well as those who find out about it in this story, including Vane's parents and his formerly betrothed Solana. 
6) We see growth and maturity in Audra and Vane's relationship, but they also remain very much teens with teen impulses, insecurities, jealousies and funny moments. 
7) I continue to love Vane and Audra's unique voices and perspectives. I also got why they are drawn to each other. And I believed in the strength of their bond. 

While Let the Sky Fall was just an ok read for me, I ended up really, really liking the sequel Let the Storm Break. The action, excitement and danger picks up, and we learn a lot more about the four winds that Vane and Audra's sylph culture can manipulate and shockingly even break. I connected a lot better to Audra and Vane's relationship, and I think it helped to have a little tension from the outside (though no love triangles). It is still so much fun to be inside Vane's head, and I have grown quite attached to Audra as well, even though she worried me for a minute in the beginning of this book. I admire their determination to support and protect each other and their heritage no matter the cost. 

Let the Storm Break also asks some good questions about whether you have to be cruel to be strong, and whether we really have a choice when the bad option seems like the only right one. The one major downfall of this book is that it ends on a pretty major cliffhanger, but I am fully invested and already desperate to get my hands on the final installment.

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: HIGH

10 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to hear that this sequel is so strong. I'm going to be waiting to hear your thoughts on Book 3, mostly because of the cliffhanger, but I'm excited about the mythology in these books. Fantastic review, Lauren, and this comparison really helped! :)

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  2. It's pretty unusual to like the second book more than the first, so that right there makes me want to read it. I liked the first book, but didn't love it, so I wasn't sure if I was going to read the second one. I will now, but given that there is such a big cliffhanger, I'll probably wait until the third book is out and then just read all three so I don't have to wait (and by then I'll definitely have to reread the first one). Messenger's comment and tension and testing a relationship make me really want to write a post I've been thinking about so need to do that soon. Great review! ~Pam

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  3. I like how you compared these two. It's always a challenge to write a review for a second (or later) book in a series but this was a fun way to do it. I haven't read either of these but I was intrigued by the concept.

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  4. I'm so excited to hear you loved the sequel even more than the first book, Lauren. I actually enjoyed the first book because I thought it was creative, but it sounds like the sequel is even stronger, so I'm most definitely going to enjoy it.
    It sounds like Audra and Vince really grew throughout the book, so I'm excited.
    Great review, Lauren!

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  5. Oh good! I was hoping when I saw you were doing a comparison that the sequel would come out the stronger of the two, I love it when that happens! It's so nice to have some of the issues you had with book one addressed in book two, and I can only hope book three proves to be the strongest yet. I'm a little bummed about the cliffhanger at the end, but since I haven't read either of these, I'm more than content to wait until all three are out before I dive in! Loved this review Lauren!

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  6. This format is awesome, Lauren. I still have a copy of the first book sitting on my shelf (partly due to some middle reviews I'd seen), but your reaction to the sequel means I'm going to pick it up much more quickly than I would have! It's so rare for a book two to outdo its original, and I trust your judgment on these things.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  7. I stopped reading book one for some of the reasons you mentioned and I'd also read a lot of books about characters with elemental powers and was feeling a little burned out. Maybe I'll just make you tell me the plot of book one and skip straight to book two.
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    P.S. This review reminds me a bit of the Twitter DM discussion we were having. I think it's a huge mistake for authors to hold back in a first book of a trilogy. They need to really draw readers in, or they may not get another chance.

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  8. Agreed, gorgeous covers and the premise of Let the Sky Fall is just freaking amazeballs! The plot was so slow for me and the characters nothing special so I put it down, but I CLEARLY must try again, right? ;) I'm glad that the uniqueness of this all is developed into bigger heights and that you were even more fascinated by it all. I'm so intrigued by the author's definition on love triangles and tension. Ehhh, high cliff hanger scale? Booo!!! :D Though sometimes a cliff hanger really makes the book memorable. I really ought to give this another go and I hope that you'll love the final book:)

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  9. I heard pretty similar things about Let the Sky fall too: it just wasn't that interest, but look at the sequel! I loved that you did a comparison because it clearly shows that everything that was missing the first book was present in it's sequel. Great progress! Cliffhangers don't bother me that much, I actually love them. I wasn't planning on reading this series, but now I might give it a try. Great review, Lauren! And I agree with what the author said about having some tension between a couple. It tests the relationship.

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  10. I love it when a sequel surprises you--aren't you relieved you gave the series a second chance? There is something to be said about finishing what you start and perseverance in reading:) I haven't started this series and am not sure that I will--it doesn't really ring my bell for some reason--but I am glad that you are enjoying it so much, L :)

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