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The International Writers Magazine: New Childrens' Books

Storm Chaser by Sheila Rance
Orion Books
Pub 8 May 2014
• Sam Hawksmoor review


It’s always a disadvantage to start on book two of what will be continuing saga by all accounts, but helpfully there are character biographies and wonderful sketches of all the main characters by Geoff Taylor to pique your interest.

Sheila’s Storm Chaser which starts where Sun Catcher broke off -  takes a while to get going and whilst the writing is compelling and the characters and vivid – particularly Maia and Kodo  - the story is slight.  Maia is the Sun Catcher and risks losing her sight.  She desperately wants to tame an Eagle to help her see the land below and Kodo, the lizard boy is close to her, as is Razek (the former Weed Master), all three raised far away where the lizards thrive and cliff dwellers live.

Inside the fortress lies a madwomen Elin, the ousted Queen and Tareth, the crippled silk weaver, the foster father to Maia.  Elin’s daughter Caspia is the rival to Maia and seeks the throne.  She can read minds from a distance and is a cunning foe but is somewhat wasted in this adventure as she does little save trick Kodo into being disloyal to Maia. There is a clever rat that weaves its way throughout and an assassin that cannot be trusted by anyone.

Colourful silk coats that sing their story, desperate tension to prevent chaos in the land and Maia brings the sun that will eventually enable farmers to grow crops again and fill the empty granary.  The story is set in a mythical Bronze Age some 5000 years ago – it is hard to contest with MS Rance that boys tamed sea lizards or that flame haired girls controlled the sun and flew Eagles, but it fun to read and filled with much detail on how people might have lived so long ago.  When they finally get to sea in a trader ship during a fantastic storm, the book comes alive and one fears for all their safety.  Storm Chaser is bound to spark the imagination - an ideal read for any child with a taste for adventure and history.
©  Sam Hawksmoor May 2014
author The Repercussions of Tomas D

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