Lying in a magic-induced coma, the King of Thyrsland is on the brink of death: if his enemies knew, chaos would reign. In fear for his life and his kingdom, his five daughters set out on a perilous journey to try to save him, their only hope an aunt they have yet to meet, a shadowy practitioner of undermagic who lives on the wild northern borders.
No-one can stand before the fierce tattooed soldier and eldest daughter Bluebell, an army commander who is rumoured to be unkillable, but her sisters, the loyal and mystical Ash, beautiful but unhappily married Rose, pious Willow and uncertain Ivy all have their own secrets to keep from her — the kind of secrets that if revealed could bring disaster down upon not only them, but the entire kingdom.
Waiting in the wings is stepbrother Wylm whose dealings with Bluebell's greatest enemy, Hakon the Raven King, would end Bluebell's dreams of revenge on his mother and propel his own desperate grasp for power.
My reading has been patchy at best, of late, and this was a good book to get back into it with since BFF is one of my first reading loves. The novella, which was my introduction to this world, focussed on Rose, one of the middle sisters, and only gave us a taste of the other characters. Daughters of the Storm, however, splits the perspective between all five sisters, with a strong focus on the oldest three. We get to know them all individually and as unique and very different characters. It's hard to go past Bluebell, the future warrior queen, but even the two youngest (and most annoying in their actions) sisters were interestingly written, even if I mainly wanted to slap them.
The main premise of the story is the king is sick and finding out how and why and curing him is Bluebell's main goal. The other sisters are dragged along with Bluebell's plans but have their own problems on their minds and their own motivations. The conflicting goals made for compelling reading, even though there weren't many layers of intrigue or an epic battle. I have to admit I was wondering where a sequel would be able to go, since it seems like everything would be resolved in the one book, but the ending made at least part of the direction of the second book clear.
I enjoyed Daughters of the Storm and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys character driven historical fantasy. The historical period the world building is based on is pre-medieval and much earlier than many other fantasy books I've come across. I highly recommend this novel to any readers who enjoyed "Crown of Rowan". I have already bought the second book in the series, Sisters of the Fire, and hope to get to it soon.
4.5 / 5 stars
First published: 2014, Harlequin Australia
Series: Blood and Gold book 1 of ? (3?)
Format read: ePub
Source: Purchased... from iBooks, I think
Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge