Hope and Red by Jon Skovron
A Recommended Book of the Month
Superb fantasy packed with daring pirates, brave warriors, intelligent thieves and revolution. Hope and Red is a phenomenal read with something for everyone – I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Jon Skovron’s first adult novel follows the lives of two protagonists Hope and Red. Bleak Hope, a young girl orphaned at the tender age of eight when the emperor's biomancers – mystics of biology with the power to make living things grow, decay or change into something else entirely – massacre her whole village. The lone survivor, Hope sneaks on board a travelling merchant ship and by chance becomes a servant at the old Vinchen monastery, home to the empire's best warriors. There she is secretly trained by the greatest Vinchen warrior in history, and is driven by her dream of vengeance against those responsible for her parent's death. Meanwhile, Red is a young boy, who like Hope, is lost following the death of his parents. A survivor from birth, Red meets the notorious criminal Sadie the Goat, and with her help Red masters the art of thievery. Quickly rising up the New Laven street hierarchy, Red becomes an infamous highly intelligent criminal mastermind.
Hope and Red's paths are about to cross and their joint force will have a great impact on the empire, starting with taking down a corrupt gang lord and one particularly cruel biomancer…
Hope and Red is a masterpiece – I was completely hooked from the beginning. The novel initially follows both Hope and Red through their respective childhoods and learning about their origins, in particular the hardships they faced, was a fantastic beginning to the story. The detailed account of their pasts is brilliant in enabling the reader to get to know both characters, and shows how their personalities develop as a result of events in their upbringing. In fact, it's not until halfway through that the two protagonists meet and at that point the book goes up a level, quickening in tempo and thickening in plot. Suffice to say there is never a dull moment.
Although the plot keeps you on the edge of your seat, the well-developed strong main and side characters are by far the greatest achievement of Jon Skovron's novel. For me, any great story has to have great memorable characters that make you desperately want to read on to discover their fate. In this the author does not disappoint. The two protagonists stand out as favourites and I can't wait for the next book in the series to delve deeper into the pasts of the side characters, which were not particularly touched on in Hope and Red.
Jon Skovron's world building is also a good feature of the book. As Hope travels across the empire, we are able to see through her eyes the many different cultures and contrasting lifestyles in impoverished northern towns, and rich southern cities. Meanwhile, Red's life on the streets of one of the main ports of the empire paints a blunt picture of the great divide between the rich and the poor. This is perhaps, however, the main area in which the author could have set the novel out amongst the rest of the genre, but hopefully there will more history about the empire and explanations about how different elements of the empire work, in the next instalment of the Empire of Storms trilogy.
Credit has to go to Jon Skovron who has a great talent for storytelling, he keeps the reader intrigued throughout and I absolutely loved the pirate element of the novel, which is a rarity in fantasy novels nowadays. If you want to be thrilled with a fast plot and are looking for a fantasy book that is incredibly easy to pick up and not put down, Hope and Red is the best book for you.
This Hope and Red book review was written by Olivia Tierney
All reviews for: Empire of Storms
Hope and Red
Empire of Storms #1
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly tr...
Have you read Hope and Red?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Hope and Red reader reviews
Gigi from America
I'm 76 years old and usually like mystery books. I ran across Hope and Red at my library here in Clearlake, California. I truly enjoyed reading this book even though it had some spicy speech. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel Bane and Shadow. One thing I've found out in reading material is, to always reach out to other writers and material your not usually interested in because you surely will miss out a good read and a fine author.
9.8/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear while the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power ...
Half a King
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it al...
The Faithful and The Fallen
Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will...
The Farseer Trilogy
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets,...
The World Tree rises up out of the seething clouds like a green mountain, lifting its children up to the light. All creation nestles in its gigantic branches: all take shel...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall...
The Black God's War
Moses Siregar III
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One. Her father-king wants war. Her messianic brother wa...
Wall of Night
The violence of an age-old war casts a long shadow. It falls on a world where mercy is weakness and conflict is a way of life. Young Malian is being trained to rule. Her pe...
Long ago, the evil God Torak fought a war to obtain an object of immense power - the Orb of Aldur. But Torak was defeated and the Orb reclaimed by Belgarath, the sorcerer. ...
The Emperor's Soul
Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skilful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emper...
Hunt for Valamon
When Crown Prince Valamon is impossibly taken from the heart of Algaris Castle, the only clue as to motive or culprit is the use of unknown sorcery. Reclusive cleric Seris ...
Four millennia have passed since the gods came to Myrillia, creating the nine lands of peace as a haven from the nightmarish, accursed Hinterlands. In all this time nothing...
A Trial of Blood and Steel
Spurning her royal heritage to be raised by the great warrior, Kessligh, her exquisite swordplay astonishes all who witness it. But Sasha is still young, untested in battle...
In a land where magic has been forgotten and peace has reigned for centuries, unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms battle for power… A princess must journey into enem...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended high fantasy books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring royalty, monarchy and empire
Best of 2016
Hope and Red
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly train...
The Star Touched Queen
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more ...
The Pagan Night
Ruling with an iron hand, the Church has eliminated the ancient pagan ways. Yet demonic gheists terrorize the land, hunted by the Inquisition, while age-old hatreds rage betwe...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself King, and traitors at every turn. The Five Kingdoms and Sarth have assembled a fleet of ships unlike any the world has ever seen and they intend to purge the Pirate Isles once a...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...
The Dog Stars
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's...