The Storm Guardians by Stephen Zimmer
Review by Daniel Cann
The second book in the Rising Dawn Saga sees storms breaking out across the world and the realms beyond, as the Convergence (a group of the financial and political elite attempting to bring the world under one authority) seeks to advance its agenda. Diabolos, the lord of the Ten-Fold Kingdom, unleashes great powers from the depths of the Abyss. The Night Hunt is loosed in the modern world and Dagian prepares to unveil Babylon Technology’s greatest invention, a technology with grave implications for everyone.
The exiled An-Ki and the Guardians must stand together to resist as the storm of darkness spreads. High school students Seth, Jonathan and Annika and many others from humankind soon find themselves drawn into events and face hard choices ahead.
Fans of Stephen Zimmer will not be disappointed with this latest edition to his epic and ambitious urban fantasy series. Although set in an alternate mirror world to our own it references the current economic climate, the conflict in Afghanistan as well as many other contemporary concerns. He is expert at juxtaposing the mundane such as paying household bills and going to work against the backdrop of a fantasy world.
Again, Zimmer is equally adept at writing convincing characters as he is in describing monstrous and exotic creatures. Because the characters are from the ranks of Joe and Jane public we can relate to them more. If this were written from the point of view of an elite gung ho fighting force it would easily fall into the realms of cliché, so again Zimmer has deftly sidestepped a potential banana skin.
I particularly enjoyed reading an episode told from the perspective of a werewolf like being, an An-Ki. This section offered a look at the familiar world through the eyes and perspective of an otherworldly being, not something usually attempted by writers. Generally it is the human’s thoughts on a different world they are exploring and not the other way around so this was a nice, original reversal.
There are some big ideas being explored here as well. It’s not just humans fighting monsters, as the theme of power corrupting is explored, as is the value of camaraderie and friendship and making a stand against tyranny. This is a world where totalitarianism is slowly but surely taking over unopposed in an almost unnoticed but chilling fashion.
The book is dense with lots of names and factions to remember with the action shifting from many different worlds. My advice to the reader is don’t be intimidated or put off by this, persevere and you will be rewarded with a great adventure (I found the Appendix at the back of the book to be of invaluable help).
The Babylon Technology Company are particularly unpleasant reprehensible baddies giving a whole new meaning to a hostile corporate takeover! Zimmer manages to keep things riveting whether he is describing a land dispute or a battle for the entire world. There are lots of different threads to this story but Zimmer weaves it all with his usual storytelling guile and expertise. This is an enjoyable bridge to the next edition in the series.
Published 2010 by Seventh Star Press
Robert from Crittenden, KY USA
Stephen Zimmer is a master storyteller weaving a web of story lines that keeps your fingers turning the pages. The Storm Guardians had me riveted for the entire read as well as being a bit ticked off at the Convergence. Man, I do not like them people. Then all those people herded in as food for the Nephilim had my stomach in knots. Wow! Totally looking forward to The Seventh Throne.
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