Let the Storm Break by Shannon Messenger (Sky Fall, #2). | My copy: Hardcover, 381 pages, Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division), 2014. | Source: Library. | Read my review of Book #1, Let the Sky Fall, here. | View Let the Storm Break on Goodreads here.
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?
Audra’s been gone for almost a month, and it’s driving Vane absolutely crazy. At the end of Book 1, Let the Sky Fall (go read my review here), Audra kind of had a nervous breakdown after the gigantic and shocking battle, and she spends a good chunk of Book 2 off on her own trying to piece herself back together. However, this leaves Vane, the new King of the Windwalkers, mostly on his own in a dangerous war against Raiden. Raiden, who we finally meet!
I was worried that this would be a book where the two characters are separated from each other for almost the whole story — but, thankfully, Vane and Audra do meet up about a third of the way through. Whew. I was also scared there would be a love triangle, since Vane kind of broke off his engagement to Solana by bonding himself (it’s a sylph-specific thing) to Audra last book. It’s not really a love triangle… it’s just extremely awkward for everyone.
The beginning was a little slow, but I think that was mostly due to Vane and Audra being apart. It was also very teenage angst-y, with Vane hopelessly in love (awww!) and Audra in love but doubting herself (get yourself together, girl!). Then Solana was introduced and I was all like, “No! You STAY AWAY from Vane! Don’t you come near him wearing your itty-bitty dresses!” So while Vane was trying to sort out the whole awkward Solana mess and fighting his Gale army about not wanting to teach them all Westerly (the lost language of the west winds), Audra was actually making some progress toward finding out Raiden’s evil plans — which she stumbled upon accidentally, of course.
As I said in my review of Let the Sky Fall, Vane and Audra have such distinct voices that it was so easy to know who was narrating. This is rare in books, when the voices of various characters can sound almost identical. But here, Shannon Messenger nails it. Vane had me cracking up on multiple occasions with his sarcasm and his constant thoughts about his girlfriend — you know, boy thoughts. *Wink.* Audra was way more serious and quiet — but I literally fist-pumped when she said to herself:
And if I have to fight for him, I will. — p. 233
You go, girl — kick Solana’s butt and make sure your man never has any thoughts about his ex-fiance. Not that he ever did have any thoughts because he is so hopelessly in love with you! Nevertheless, I am glad you’re not going to let Solana wiggle her way in at all. You’ve stopped doubting yourself and feeling ashamed of your forbidden bond, Audra — yaaaaas! I am so happy and proud! 😀
Ahem. Moving along… I loved Gus — short for Gusty, haha! He really balanced out Vane and helped everyone stay levelheaded — although there were times when Vane helped him out, too. (That was a very hard scene for everyone. 😥 ) Os was a difficult fellow. I don’t know what he’ll do in the next book, if he’ll give in to his darker side or fight it. Aston was a very interesting, conflicted character who I liked but wondered if liking him was wrong… Vane’s mom was hilarious. I was also glad to see that Gavin, Audra’s hawk companion, was doing all right. And Raiden, let me talk a little about the villain. He felt… like a bad guy. There wasn’t much about him that hinted at a flawed human being — er, sylph, nothing that made me go, “Oh, he’s got a reason for becoming this way.” I’d like to know more of his story or at least catch glimpses of it. If there were glimpses, as some reviewers have noted, I must have missed them. (And I’m talking beyond the “addiction” thing.) To me he just felt generic, even though he was pretty formidable. Maybe he’ll get more layered in the next book.
Overall, Let the Storm Break was an excellent sequel with some predictable moments and an absolute killer of an ending. (OH, MY HEARTSTRINGS! SPOILER: Vane, now it’s your turn to fight for your woman! END OF SPOILER.) Plenty of action (more than the first book), lovely romance (just, ugh, go away Solana), great characters (man, Gus and Vane’s mom were everything), awesome concept (these sylph are so cool)… Shannon Messenger remains one of my favorite lesser-known authors (guys, Let the Storm Break, which was published a year ago, has just 1,760 ratings on Goodreads! Unbelievable!), and I am eagerly awaiting the third book in the Sky Fall series — which doesn’t come out until spring 2016! Argh, I don’t want to wait that long! ♦