Read Storm Dancer by Rayne Hall Online

storm-dancer

Alternate Cover Edition for ASIN: B005MJFV58.See original cover edition hereDemon-possessed siege commander, Dahoud, atones for his atrocities by hiding his identity and protecting women from war's violence - but can he shield the woman he loves from the evil inside him?Principled weather magician, Merida, brings rain to a parched desert land. When her magical dance rousesAlternate Cover Edition for ASIN: B005MJFV58.See original cover edition hereDemon-possessed siege commander, Dahoud, atones for his atrocities by hiding his identity and protecting women from war's violence - but can he shield the woman he loves from the evil inside him?Principled weather magician, Merida, brings rain to a parched desert land. When her magical dance rouses more than storms, she needs to overcome her scruples to escape from danger. Thrust together, Dahoud and Merida must fight for freedom and survival. But with hatred and betrayal burning in their hearts, how can they rebuild their fragile trust?'Storm Dancer' is a dark-heroic fantasy. British spellings. Caution: this book contains some violence and disturbing situations. Not recommended for under-16s....

Title : Storm Dancer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 15811169
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 380 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Storm Dancer Reviews

  • Sarah Castillo
    2018-12-23 14:49

    Storm Dancer, by Rayne Hall, is a heroic fantasy set in a land that is vaguely middle eastern. There is light magic throughout in the form of soothsayers, rain dancers, and simple spells.I'll admit, the blurb for this book didn't give me a lot of hope for the book; "Demon-possessed siege commander, Dahoud, atones for his atrocities by hiding his identity and protecting women from war's violence - but how can he shield the woman he loves from the evil inside him? Dark-heroic fantasy. British spellings. Contains some violence." So I wasn't very hopeful that I was going to like it. This is the second time I've been thwarted by my own judgement. I enjoyed this book immensely. It's character driven, and the view-point characters are diverse and interesting.There's Dahoud, of course, who is struggling with his inner demons. Literally. Watching him progress throughout the novel is very interesting, considering how vile his crimes are. Don't think you'll be getting a Thomas Covenant, the Non-Believer, though. Dahoud is easy to empathize with because despite it all he's really trying. Trying to be a good person in a world where being a good person doesn't pay. And in a world where is Djinn fights him the entire way.Then we have Merida, a northerner. This book breaks from the trope that bad things come from the north. Merida is from a land that is lush, green, water-filled and beautiful. The people are arrogant, prudish, and obsessed with social status. Merida, of course, is exactly the same... when she arrives. Watching circumstance pick her character apart and reveal the fault lines of her soul filled me at times with pity, anger, and schadenfreude.The only problem I have with this book is I feel like it doesn't warn readers quite enough. Oh, you'll say, it says right there in the blurb. Contains some violence. But it contains a certain kind of violence that some people are very sensitive to. It contains somewhat graphic depictions of rape, in the form of fantasies. The torture scenes are grotesque and are also sexually charged at times. A warning for rape content and sexual violence is definitely in order for this novel. If that's going to turn you off, definitely pass this one by.Otherwise, it's such a well written, lovely book, I'd recommend it to almost anyone. (But not the kids!!!Check out my other reviews at my blog

  • Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe)
    2019-01-03 16:39

    Storm Dancer is an interesting read to say the least. while I must say it took me a while to really get involved with the book, at the end I'm glad I read this book. it is not the norm for me, I did enjoy it and would recommend this book to fantasy readers, and maybe more.It's set in an exotic fantasy desert land, the characters are colorful, the setting match something I'd picture in an epic fantasy movie set in the desert. With different towns and such ruled by different rulers. Some are good people, some are not as good, some just don't care, and some well they are just plain nuts. Dahoud is Djinn possessed and has been trying for years to reconcile with what horrors he has done, under the Djinn's infuence. He's then given a chance to prove himself worthy, until different events occur and he gets to a point where be believes, he's not worthy of anything. But yet, he still strives forward, forward to a different future, a different him.

  • S.M. White
    2018-12-29 19:02

    In finishing "Storm Dancer" I came away with mixed feelings. As is known, Dark Fantasy as a genre is my niche, my passion, my pleasure. And coming into this book I held high expectations, as not only is it listed as Dark Fantasy, but there's a clear warning within the blurb that says, "Not recommend for readers under 16." Great! I thought, right up my alley. And while this rings true, it's more or less due to the rampant raping rather than anything thematic. If the idea of rape were removed, the story could probably make it into the hand of preteens without too much trouble (television provides as much violence and gore as this novel does). Now, I'm not bashing the book, by any means. I actually enjoyed it for the most part. I'm just not certain that the issues raised in the book label it as Dark Fantasy as much as does the uninvited sexual advances.First though, I very much enjoyed this book. Don't let my criticisms sway you away from that. I would recommend this book, flaws and all, to readers of fantasy.That small gripe over rape aside, let me tell what works here. The character struggles, both internally and externally, carry the weight of the novel. While the plot more or less seems arbitrary, the characters and their experiences really make the story. Hall does a wonderful job of showing the difficulties of coping with new cultural expectations, as well as displaying how individual needs and wants often bring about a great deal of conflict between peoples of unique cultural norms.While the world of "Storm Dancer" settles on a Middle-Eastern environment (along with its societal values), outside countries are hinted at and talked about. This gave a wide scope to the novel, and raised unique opportunities within the story. While some of those opportunities are handled with deliberateness, others seem to have been strewn about simply to be strewn about. I think this happens because the story tries to do so much, reaches for a height that isn't necessarily important for the novel. And as any strongman knows, there's only so much weight a pair of shoulders can carry. I think "Storm Dancer" would have benefited from focusing on a select few conflicts, rather than the wide array of situations presented. At almost 460 pages, the book felt much longer. This is due to the fact that so much is happening between the pages. And I mean a lot. That's both a good thing and a distraction. We seem to jump from one conflict to another almost instantly, with very little relief between. And because of this, it felt a little unbelievable for the characters. I understand that action carries a story, that the characters have to be put in harm's way constantly, that the stakes have to be raised at almost every turn. But these things have to progress naturally, and the characters have to encounter them with some sense of reality. I found myself questioning a lot of the choices the characters were making, whether decided by force or their own accord, and felt there were far more chances that Hall wasn't taking.Sure, I have some issues with the novel, but I have issues with my own stories as well, and nothing is ever so polished that it's beyond scrutiny. But let me tell you why you should read this book: For a lot of the very reasons I listed above.It has a lot going on. A lot. It makes a point of putting its characters in peril, pulling them out, and then thrusting them back in. It reminded me of roasting marshmallows (follow me on this analogy). The marshmallows will represent the characters. First, you impel them on a sharped stick, then you stick them in the fire, roasting them nice and slow. You pull them out, blow on them, notice they're not quite black enough, so you stick them back in. This time, you keep them a little too long and they melt right off the end of your stick. So you pull them out quick-fast and try and salvage the dripping goodness. This, my friends, is "Storm Dancer" in a nutshell, or firepit. These characters get put in some seriously messed up predicaments. Everything from demon possession to spilled guts to torture for pleasure. Yeah, there's some sadistic meanies inside these pages. And as if their sadism wasn't enough, they often justify torture with the guise of education. This human experimentation aspect makes things all the more haunting in that it almost feels as though the horrific actions are being undertaken with the intent of intellectual progression, when in actuality the results are to provide for more extensive, prolonged episodes of torture. And some of the methods described are quite uncomfortable.Another things to remark on is the characters' resourcefulness. Even when placed in dire situations, they manage to make something out of it (albeit not exactly a positive something). But their minds are always working, seeking solutions. This is what makes "Storm Dancer" captivating. This is what makes the novel interesting. World-building aside, the conflicts, the magic, the characterization, all that aside, what makes this novel is the ingenuity of its characters. Whether or not they're faced with death or torment or simply being relegated to an almost slave-like existence, they work on figuring out how to get free. It's the whole survival-no-matter-what concept. And as things grow increasingly bleak, the characters become increasingly more determined to find a way to free themselves from whatever bondage holds them captive.

  • Billy Bartlet
    2019-01-21 12:44

    wasn't keen on the story.

  • Phillip Stephens
    2018-12-24 19:54

    A Demon and a Desert Shrew Battle for Your AttentionRayne Hall's Storm Dancer offers the best in indie writing. Readers looking for a romance novel, shouldn't be fooled. There is no romance. Hall delivers swordcraft and magic against the Taming of the Shrew. Storm Dancer opens like the best of the Saturday Afternoon adventure movies from my childhood. A Marrakesh marketplace, exotic dancers, a sense of danger, and the hero in disguise suddenly called to action. Hall delivers the hook in five pages and twists it deeper until the reader can't pull free. Not only is Storm Dancer a fun read, it's a model for indie writers who want to learn their craft.Dahoud keeps a low profile as a minor official lest people discover his past as the Black Besieger—a ruthless general who pillaged towns, murdered civilians and allowed their women to be raped mercilessly. He believes a jinn possesses him and fights to make sure the jinn never takes control again. Only now he's been recalled by the Queen's evil Consort (himself possessed by a jinn) to take the reigns of one of her territories that the Besieger ruthlessly conquered for her years before. Merida is a Storm Dancer, a magician from the planet Riverian who was sent to restore her family honor. Instead the Consort kidnaps her and holds her captive in his harem. Making her escape, he ends up in Dahoud's hands and the only bargain stopping her return is to become his bride. She agrees, but she will marry Dahoud in name only and this begins a Shakespearan battle of wills. Merida escalates the battle into treason when the Consort conspires to bring their fortress under siege by an enemy of the Queen (think the Persian Army). Too late, she realizes how much her act of treason costs Dahoud and the few people she has befriended.Storm Dancer plays out across an epic scale of three empires, two planets, generations of history and multiple levels of treachery and revenge. The level of detail is rich and compelling. Hall rarely resorts to the hack fantasy writer's trick of just making up names, fake animals and faux vocabulary (even in the Riverian scenes where she could have done so). The novel is well researched and well plotted. In spite of the stakes, Hall doesn't punt. She juggles every element without dropping a single one.Some readers may find the novel violent and graphic, but the novel depicts violent and graphic situations. I never felt anything was played to excess. (I admit, though, one of my own novels has a similar level of violence, albeit for what I purport to be slapstick comedy, so I can hardly complain.) Still, I wouldn't read Storm Dancer to my third graders as a bed time story. I know some fans will howl to hear me say this, but Hall can hold her own with Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and the pulp writers I cut my teeth on. In many ways, Storm Dancer's prose is a cut above because Hall didn't hack out words to get paid by the penny or publication. I'm not saying this to knock Howard or Burroughs. Indie authors have a luxury they lacked, time to edit our prose. They wrote in the days of the hot lead printing press (a time that was beginning to pass just as I first began writing) when it was pound on the type writer or starve.Readers looking for romance should look elsewhere. Readers looking for family friendly reading should look elsewhere. Readers who object to disembowellment or beheading or forced rape in battle, especially depicted by a female writer, should look elsewhere. But those are the reality of war and women have the right to describe the brutality of war on women. In fact, women need to confront that level of brutality, because maybe they'll start saying, "No way, I'm letting you do that” to their husbands and sons. Storm Dancer doesn't let anyone of the hook. It's not a happy read. It just happens to be a great read.Phillip T. Stephens is the author of Cigerets, Guns & Beer and Raising Hell. You can follow him @stephens_pt.

  • Nancy (The Avid Reader)
    2019-01-14 13:52

    The following review is my opinion and not a paid review. I was given a free copy of the book from the author for my honest opinion.Merida is a very sweet and nice person all she wants is for her mother to love her and care about her. She doesn't actually care about her status she wants to be liked and loved. Merida tries so hard to bring her status rating up for her mother. That is why she decides to travel to another town one that has not had any rain in a very long time. Merida has been trained to do magic that will make it rain. She believes that if she go to this town and she makes it rain then her mother and the people in her town will like and love her. She just wants her mother to treat her the same as she treats her siblings. I don't think Merida knows that this is want she is doing. But I can relate to her and I really think that is what she is trying to do by leaving her home.Merida only wants to do what she has been raised to do as being the wright thing. She never wants to hurt anyone. She always tries to treat everyone the same. If someone is in trouble no matter what they have done she will help them. Merida is so good and innocent that when she arrives in this town and dances and makes it rain that will be the end of it and she will make her journey back home. But she is in for a big surprise.The Queen's husband Kirral has his own harem and wants Merida to be a part of this harem. Of course she refuses but he doesn't give her a choice. Not one of the girls in his harem actually has a choice. Kirral is a very evil and cruel man. Who loves to live out his fantasy with all of his concubines not to mention the things he does to the people in his town. He will cheat; lie make up the rules as he goes along to fit his proposes when he needs them too and love every minute of it. I think he sits around always thinking up new and interesting ways to torment people. Whatever he does he does it for himself only. He only cares about his happiness and definitely not anyone else's.Dahoud in his own way is a very good person too. I think that when he was a child he didn't have anyone to take care of him or love him either. You know that is all any of us want is to know that someone loves us and cares about us. Even though some people in no way wants to be the center of attention they still crave or want someone to care about them and maybe pat them on the back once in a while and tell them they have done good. If no one ever does this then how will that child ever known if they have done good? With no one to care for him Dahoud is approached by a djinn that promises him the world. Dahoud accepts the djinn's offer and has to live with it for the rest of his life. Dahoud becomes a Commander of his own army and while fighting wars he does some very wrong and awful things to women. But eventually he starts to realize that he doesn't want to be this way any longer so he hides who is and starts trying to protect women instead of hurting them. Dahoud tries so hard to lead a different life and be a better person. He doesn't want to hurt women or anyone any more.He meets a woman unlike any woman he has met before, Merida. In the beginning Dahoud and Merida can't stand each other. They are always fighting and never try to get to know each other. Neither one can trust the other because they don't know how to trust. They have never really had anyone in their lives that they could depend on. Someone that would take up for them or care for them or love them. This is what they have both been searching for their whole lives. I don't think they know this or if it has ever crossed either of their minds. Can Merida and Dahoud learn to trust each other? Can they forget who they were so that they can love each? Will they be able to get over the hurt that both of their mothers caused them so that they can move on with their lives and become the people that they were meant to be?

  • Andrea
    2019-01-15 17:45

    When an author is kind enough to put up their book for a free download, the least I can do is offer a review in exchange (and explain why my rating was lower than the average).Overall, I did enjoy the story. The setting, the world, the plot, the characters, the writing. It was good. But there was one thing that really turned me off and that was the rape. Not just because there was rape, but because it was the main character that was doing it, and as such, had to be justifiable in some regard (otherwise why would we want to read about this guy, right?)I think I'll continue in spoiler mode here - (view spoiler)[At first it was kind of ok, the rapes were in the past, and Dahoud was trying to redeem himself. But then he raped Merida, admitedly to save her life, but he enjoyed it too much, and frankly, she CHOSE to die instead. He had no right to choose for her. Rape is all about consent or lack thereof and by denying her right to choose death over rape is not in any way justifiable.I mean I could handle Kirall and his perversions. He was the villain, and not the protagonist (rather 2-dimensional but on some level he wasn't the real villain of the story so that didn't bother me). I wasn't supposed to like Kirall, I wasn't supposed to root for him, or hope things turn out well for him. But here with Dahoud I'm kind of supposed to sympathize with his fight against his djinn driven urges, but frankly, I just couldn't. I'm a woman, and if some guy raped me and said "Oh the voice in the head made me do it", it won't make me feel any better about it.I actually stopped reading the book at this point, and that is very rare for me, I think I've not finished a book maybe a handful of times in my life. Well, I finished another book on my eReader and since I was on my commute to work I only had this one available to read so I figured I'd pick up where I left off, see if the story can redeem itself. What I liked later on was when the priest character (sorry, name escapes me right now, Zun?) questions whether Dahoud was blaming an imaginary djinn to justify his own inability to control his actions. That he raped women not because there was some evil spirit inside of him, but because he liked it and tried to blame his own actions on someone else. It was a brief moment, not expanded upon as much as I would have liked, but it was enough to allow me to keep reading to see how Dahoud would grapple with that concept and take responsibility for what he had done.And with Tarkan being homosexual and everyone else gleefully running around executing man-lovers...again, an interesting and difficult issue to discuss and unfortunately didn't go anywhere. It wasn't as if anyone learnt tolerance, in fact other than becoming a convenient husband for a woman more interested in power than having a loving husband, bringing up his sexuality was meaningless. A giant serious issue that got shoved to the sideline and not addressed, and thus didn't need to be there, unless there's a sequel in the plans?Frankly, if the whole rape aspect was taken out and just left the still brutal Black Besiger, I would have really enjoyed the story. Of the bloodthirsty soldier looking to redeem himself by rebuilding his homeland and freeing them from the Empire he himself served (and what would happen if people figured out who he really was!). But the tale tried to take on too many controversial issues and didn't handle them as well as I would have liked.(hide spoiler)]So three stars that could have otherwise been a four or five easily.

  • Kyra Halland
    2019-01-17 13:05

    Kyra's star ratings:Characters: *****Story: ****Writing: ****Setting: *****(I was given a free copy of this book for the purpose of giving an honest review.)Storm Dancer is a big, sweeping, epic fantasy set in an exotic desert land, with colorful and compelling characters. Dahoud, possessed by a djinn who urges him to horrifying acts of rape and other atrocities, is fighting to control the djinn and make amends for the terrible things he's done. Merida, a magician and loyal citizen of the extremely ordered and rigid Virtuous Republic of Riverland, has been sent to the desert countries on a mission to bring rain and enlightenment. Their paths cross as both of them face setbacks and challenges on their respective quests, then finally join together when they unexpectedly find a common cause to fight for.The writing is clear and colorful, painting a portrait of harsh, exotic lands. I have a soft spot for fantasy that takes place in desert settings, so I really enjoyed the setting of this book. I also sympathized with the characters as they struggled to make their way through this harsh world against the thoroughly nasty plotting of the main villain, Kirral. There were a few times when I wanted to give Merida a good shaking for her obtuseness and refusal to adapt to her new situation. Frustration with characters is a big reason why I don't finish books. But in this case, it seemed clear that Merida was being set up like this on purpose so that the readers could follow her through her process of growth and learning. She did learn and grow, and I took more than a little satisfaction in seeing her cut down to size and then becoming a much stronger and wiser woman. I also enjoyed watching Dahoud's progess as he came to understand the true nature of the darkness within him.It's a long book, which I'm not complaining about because I do love me a good doorstopper. The plot did seem to lose momentum and focus a few times, particularly in the end of the first half or about in the middle third. The structure of the book could maybe use a little tightening up to stay more focused on Dahoud and Merida and their problems and what they're trying to do. But during these slower spots, I was interested enough in what was going to happen to the characters to keep reading. I also felt that there were places where the author backed off from really diving into the full emotions and experiences of the characters, just touching the surface instead of giving the full depths.The end was satisfying, and I would enjoy reading the further adventures of Dahoud and Merida. On the whole, Storm Dancer is a rich, colorful, exciting, and rewarding read, and I enjoyed it very much.

  • Karysa Faire
    2019-01-13 12:42

    Bravo! An excellent read! I loved Storm Dancer, by Rayne Hall, a dark fantasy set in an ancient Persian-esk world. The characters were complex, vividly drawn and faithful to their role in the story. The world was detailed, realistically written so that my senses were pulled into the tale. I had to force myself to put the book down in order to get some sleep-and then I tossed and turned as I replayed the last-read-scene in my head. What I liked:Dahoud and Merida have lived their lives at the opposite end of the moral spectrum. Woven between politics, war, class divisions, and cultural missteps, is the story of how these two complex characters ultimately transform and meet somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. I fell in love with both of them and cheered for each and every realization they had. The supporting characters are delicious. Teruma, Kirral, Keera, Tarkan. Each has an important part to play in the story of Dahoud and Merida, but they are developed enough to stand alone as individuals deserving their own tale.On the flip side:It is a dark tale that does not go dark enough. Without giving too much away, rape is a dark theme throughout. It’s alluded to, and the ‘thrill’ of overpowering a victim is described. However, when an actual rape occurs, it’s glossed over, as if the author is afraid of offending the reader. The story is already dark-a really dark scene would have made it that much more gut-wrenching and powerful. It would have been awful to read, but it is also a pivotal moment in the development of the characters.In the last quarter of the book, Merida goes through some monumental changes in attitude and perception. While her changes are plausible based on the plot, there is a lack of internal dialogue from her point of view. I wish we’d had as much access to her process as we had in the first three-quarters of the tale. It would have made for a richer character transformation.

  • Floyd Largent
    2018-12-23 14:59

    I thoroughly enjoyed Rayne Hall's intricate, absorbing novel Storm Dancer, but I have to admit that I found it difficult to categorize. Not that there's anything wrong with that; it makes a novel all the more intriguing when it doesn't fit into a readymade genre. On the surface, Storm Dancer is pure dark fantasy, set in a Bronze Age civilization strongly reminiscent of the Middle East. That said, the characters who people the novel are far from primitive, though their cultural expectations clash with our own, sometimes violently--especially when it comes to their treatment of women.The desert setting is integral to the story. In a sense, it's a character of its own--and a harsh, demanding one at that. I was reminded forcefully, and repeatedly, of Stephen Crane's poem "A Man Said to the Universe" as I read. But the human characters are the real gems here. Hall has a deft hand with characterization, so that even minor characters come to vivid life. An example that pops immediately to mind is Yora, the knife-happy girl who seems willing to take on the enemy army singlehandedly. Another is Criton, the copper miner who saves the city of Oubar by providing it with a steady source of clean water...then betrays it later for selfish, shortsighted reasons.The main characters themselves are complex, intelligent, and often perplexing and frustrating--just like interesting people in real life. Everyone has an agenda and is some shade of gray at best, though there are some who, in Tolkien's words, are "evil clear through."This is where pigeonholing the story gets tricky. Yes, it's obviously a fantasy...but is it a romantic fantasy, in the modern sense of the term? Can a novel where the two main characters despise each other most of the time even be considered a romance, despite the fact that they're husband and wife, especially considering that the husband is literally possessed by a violent, woman-hating demon? (We'll get to that later.) Honestly, I feel that this story is more fantasy than romance, though the romantic tension necessary for most good stories is definitely there. I don't usually read romance stories per se (though I've edited a few in my day job), but I found the interplay between the main characters, Merida and Dahoud, to be simultaneously fascinating, emotionally conflicting, and even frustrating, just as I'm sure Merida and Dahoud themselves must have felt in Hall's world.That's a not a criticism, by the way: it's praise. When a writer can rouse that level of emotional involvement in the story, she's done an excellent job.Merida provides a fascinating character study all on her own. The Storm Dancer of the title, she's a native of the prudish Virtuous Republic of Riverland, a more Western culture than most in Hall's world. Hers is a status-hungry society where a person's worth is assessed according to the "points" they accrue in life, based on social class, personal achievements, and family accomplishment. Just 24, she's already a widow--to her mother's disgust--and has traveled three uncomfortable months to the backward Queendom of Quislak to bring it much-needed rain.Having been appointed a goodwill ambassador by Riverland's government, she expects better than the cool reception she receives. Ultimately, through the machinations of the decadent Kirral, the Queen's Consort and the real power behind the throne, she ends up as part of his harem, abandoned by her family and nation.Dahoud, meanwhile, has demons of his own to struggle with--literally. A former general in Quislak's army, he's possessed by a djinn, an evil spirit that drove him to such depraved extremes during a recent war that he's still hated and feared three years later. Dubbed the Black Besieger, his specialty was laying siege to cities until they surrendered, then breaking the people's spirit through brutal mistreatment, including the institutionalized rape of their women.Aghast at his own atrocities, he spread the rumor that the Black Besieger had been killed, and has since been trying to rebuild his life from the ground up. He avoids women, intending to "starve" the djinn until it no longer controls him. As an ethnic Samil--second-class citizens of the Queendom--he was literally forced to start at the bottom and work his way up. As the story opens, Dahoud has recently managed to obtain a position as a junior clerk to the satrap of Idjlara.But Kirral has not forgotten him, and when Koskara Province rebels, the Consort forces the Black Besieger back into the Queen's service. He tempts Dahoud by offering him the satrapy of Koskara if he'll crush the rebels. Of course, Kirral's offers are always Hobson's choices: either Dahoud crushes the Koskarans, or he becomes the chief torturer of females in Kirral's palace.Ultimately, Merida ends up joining Dahoud in Koskara, and both become determined not to crush the province but to save it. After a series of escalating difficulties, their fates become so intertwined that she becomes his wife, the influential Lady of Koskara--purely a marriage of convenience. When Kirral invites the neighboring Darrians to take and destroy Koskara, they begin a desperate campaign to save the province from its many enemies...including itself.I'll leave you to learn more on your own. Suffice it to say that I found the novel gripping enough to hold my interest through two broken Kindles and my own series of adventures this fall and winter. I look forward to the sequel, Flame Bearer. I've seen the cover, and it's gorgeous.Buy yourself a copy. You won't regret it.

  • Debra Dunbar
    2018-12-22 12:59

    Storm Dancer was my first ‘book on the beach’ this vacation season. It’s a dark fantasy full of despotic rulers, political jockeying, and poetic language. But there’s more. It’s the ‘more’ that makes this book thought-provoking and sometimes uncomfortable. It’s a story about redefining ethics. It’s a story that explores the very personal question of when the needs of the many outweigh the needs, or even rights, of the individual.Dahoud is a man with a demon. He’s an ethnic Samili, discounted and despised. He’s also the child of a prostitute, abandoned in youth by not only his mother, but by every woman he’s ever met. His desperate childhood fueled an ambition that allowed him to rise to the level of a General, but there was a price. He’s had to give himself over to the djinn inside him, and this djinn has bought his success on the bloody ground of terrible deeds. Terrible deeds that Dahoud has actually enjoyed. In Storm Dancer, Dahoud tries to starve out his djinn, to weaken the darkness inside him. He vows to protect and defend women, to trust them and give them kindness instead of pain and humiliation. He strives to lead a nation by using diplomacy and cunning rather than the might of his sword. But right and wrong are never black and white, and he discovers there are times when the fury of violence is inescapable. He discovers there are some women not deserving of trust or kindness.Merida is a diplomat with a humanitarian mission. She will work her magic to bring rain to a backward and barbaric people, and perhaps lead them by example to embrace her enlightened path. Her condescension crumbles when she finds herself kidnapped by a sadistic tyrant and tossed into his harem. Merida finds she must bend and break the rules that are the very foundation of her morals to survive. And then she must break them further to ensure the survival of others. A seer advises her to lose her scruples, but Merida’s journey is more about choosing her scruples. The choice her family makes in the beginning of the book to put the needs of the group above the needs of the individual is the very choice Merida makes for herself in the end. Because there are some things worthy of sacrifice.Don’t be put off by all this heavy stuff though. You can still enjoy Storm Dancer and not delve into intricacy of philosophy. The descriptive language is colorful and in the style of the Persian poets. There’s action, there’s scheming, there’s a nation of people, fighting to remain independent in the face of constant war and the threat of starvation. I dug my toes into the burning sand and felt right there – in the parched desert of Dahoud’s homeland. There is some romance, but it’s more about trust and partnership than fireworks and roses. There is violence, and sometimes that violence might not be in keeping with what some readers expect in terms of moral values from a hero. It wasn’t excessive or overly graphic, and I felt it was necessary in terms of the overall plot and theme.

  • Autumn Birt
    2019-01-01 16:53

    I actually first saw this book in a stack at my mother-in-laws. I loved the cover and read the back blurb, finding myself intrigued. The story line lingered in my mind long enough that when I ran into Ms. Hall on Twitter, finding Storm Dancer tantalizing me once again, I knew I’d read it. What drew me to this novel was the setting: a fantasy story set in the desert. Plus, I was intrigued by the main character of Dahoud being both the hero and the villain, a man plagued by inner evil that he seeks to control. As a writer, I had to see how Ms. Hall pulled that off. She does it brilliantly.The setting of a harsh desert country beset by drought, during a time equivalent to our bronze age, is rich and well written. Neighboring counties are a threat, even when it is assistance they send rather than war. Merida is such a beneficial ambassador, sent to help a land considered primitive by her refined homeland. The plotting of a corrupt government quickly entangles Merida far from home and without aid. She has only her wits and ability to call rain to keep her somewhat safe. There are many great characters in the novel and each are unique in their failings and strengths. The interweaving stories along with what would seem to be inconsequential details thread together to impact the ending - a feature I admire in a story and author. The twists in the plot left me surprised. I never really knew where the story would go next, which was lovely. As others have written, the novel is graphic with both torture and rape. Oddly though, I agree with others in that I think one of the few failings in the novel is that it could have been darker yet. The one time that Dahoud’s djinn wins its battle of lust and conquest, the scene is quickly glossed over. Most of the time, Dahoud wins over his demon with only hints of the time in his life where it had ruled. I would have loved a larger moment or at least a longer after effect of guilt when Dahoud succumbs to his inner evil. I would have also loved some insight to Merida’s thoughts at the end of the novel, especially when she makes the final choice she does in the story. The ending to me was very believable as she changes during the course of the story, but I would have liked to hear that final epiphany from her.Lastly, I would have loved a map to visualize the world, though directions and landmarks were consistent enough that I felt familiar with the landscape and cities. But a map to look at while reading would have enhanced my experience.I will read this novel again in the future. I am a very fast reader, so the story length was great for me (it took more than a day, yeah!). However, it pulled me in so tightly, I raced through it finding it hard to put down. I want to go back without that need to see what the next page or chapter holds and really enjoy the setting and story!

  • Megan Strong
    2019-01-01 12:05

    Storm Dancer is a dark fantasy novel, that includes such themes as: rape, torture, captivity, betrayal, demons, and death. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart, or the squeamish. The majority of complaints I have read have been due to the inability of the particular reader to handle and enjoy the darker themes. So do not read this if you cannot handle the themes I have previously listed (especially the rape).This is set in a fantasy world with many similarities to historical Middle East or Persia. The land in which this takes place has been suffering from draught, bringing much distress to it's inhabitants. There is also magic and demons; that are very real in this story.Dahoud, once the general known as the Black Besieger, is trying to leave his old life of rape and terror behind him. He is appointed the new Satrap of Koskara, despite his objections. Faced with rejection, betrayal, and much difficulty, Dahoud must try to fight his inner demons to protect the women around him from it's wrath. His story is entwined with that of Merida; a young woman who is to learn a lot about lifes hardships and realities.The characters are very interesting and well developed. There are all varieties of personality. Some are obviously meant to be hated while others are meant to be liked. Then there are the main characters, who you want to like and understand but at certain points just want to run away from or shake into reality.Dahoud has been struggling with his djinn since the age of 11. A djinn is a demon that resides within him, fueled by his anger, causing him to rape women. This theme is a large recurring point in the story. He tries very hard to resist the things his djinn puts into his mind but cannot always resist, though I give him points for his persistance.Merida is from a place called Riverland, where the people appear to be snobbish prudes who value social standing above all else. She views herself very highly and looks down on those she views as uncultured. Due to her sheltered upbringing in Riverland she is ill prepared for what awaits her.From beginning to end Storm Dancer is packed with detestable villains, action, intrigue, and darkness. It shows how different people can be depending on where they come from and how they can strive (or are forced) to change. The writing kept me interested from beginning to end. I must admit that I had to stop myself from going to the end to relieve myself of anticipation.I wish there had been a map of this fantasy land included. This would have helped build a better idea of the layout for those who have a hard time keeping track. Though the writing does paint a fairly clear picture so that it wouldn't be too hard to create your own.

  • Lize
    2018-12-28 16:43

    I was given this book to review. Having said that, it was a pleasure to read and I would recommend Storm Dancer to lovers of Dark Fantasy. Below is my full review:I found Storm Dancer by Rayne Hall on Twitter where I have been spending a questionable amount of time lately. The book also came with a warning about the dark nature of the story and the disturbing themes running through it. It’s a sensible thing to do if you don’t know the person you’re recommending a book to but I wish it wasn’t necessary. The warning tinges the reader’s preconceptions and to be honest, I’ve read much more violent and disturbing books without warning and thoroughly enjoyed them too (Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant novels springs to mind).Now that the warnings are out the way, let me get to the book. The story is set in a desert country reminiscent of Ancient Arabia one finds in Arabic fables. The protagonist, Dahoud, has turned his back on his past and his nature. After an illustrious career as one of the most violent and effective war generals in the Quislaki army he returned to the life of a labourer in the hopes of atoning for his crimes. We first meet him when he is summoned back to the Quislaki capital and ordered back into the fray.I was drawn into Dahoud’s battle with himself from the start. Driving his desire for violence is a Djinn that takes advantage of his dark side and goads him to ever worse deeds. The Quislaki ruler, Kirral, is possessed by a similar Djinn, but one that has not been curbed by its host. The contrast between the two makes for some great reading. Add to this a feisty, beautiful magician called Merida who is trapped in Quislak by Kirral’s machinations and the scene is set for a great read. Hall’s characters are vivid and many faceted and one can’t help but empathise with all of them and their personal struggles.Although the main theme of the book centers on violence against women I found the subtler theme of the struggle and acceptance of one’s dark side to be the more intriguing part of the story. Both Merida and Dahoud are unwilling to accept their failings and they are lessened by the limitations they place on themselves. Only with complete acceptance is each able to move forward. There may be a lesson there…Storm Dancer is a wonderful tale of magic and myth woven into one. I couldn’t put this book down and would recommend it to all lovers of Dark Fantasy. You may want to avoid this if you’re sensitive or on the squeamish side but if that’s the case you should probably steer clear of all Dark Fantasy.

  • Kelly Smith Reviews
    2019-01-19 13:50

    An avid reader since I was a little more than two years of age, I have always enjoyed delving into new books with themes I might not, perhaps, have come across had I read one type of novel over & over.I had a suggestion on Twitter to check out Rayne Hall, so I did. We conversed, and I am so glad I listened to something on the Internet, haha!In an old-time land where djinns run amok inside human vessels, forcing then to kill & rape to feed their desires, one of the land's most feared killers, the Black Beseiger, has been summoned to be the lord (satrap) of Koskara...the same place he had terrorized years before. Now, as he tries to silence the djinn inside him, he must save them & end their war.Can he do that without raping or torturing again? And will the stubborn Mansour ALLOW him to do that?Merida is from the Virtuous Republic of Riverland, a city where they eat no meat, have no sex out of wedlock & treat each other according to their perusal value: the higher the number, the better.Merida is sent to Dahoud's land to work her magic & make it rain so the devastating drought will be over. When she arrives, however, things are not as she was told.The Queens' djinn-possessed Consort, Kirral, won't let her leave once she brings the rain: he wants her as one of his concubines instead.How will Dahoud & Merida's stories end? Will he save her or will the djinns take over their land?I will warn readers, this is a very dark novel, with rape, degradation, murder & even animal slaughter. It is not a novel for the faint of heart.That being said, I can also say that it is one of the interesting novels I've read to date! Djinns are a highly underrated supernatural creature, and it was interesting to read a story about them.The characters are all unique, with individual personalities the reader will love...or love to hate.It can be taken as a novel on the workings of the Middle East in a previous century, or the reader can dig deeper & they will find a novel about virtues, good, evil & fighting for what's right.Other people may not see it, but I find it to be inspiring, especially Dahoud trying so hard to be a good person, and not give in to the djinn's demands.I  see a determined woman in Merida who will not back down or give up to peer pressure or despair.To sum it up: great story, excellent characters & Rayne Hall has a gift for colorful narration.5 out of 5--will worth a read!

  • D'eBookSharing
    2019-01-09 17:48

    I discovered "Storm Dancer" when I came across Rayne Hall on Twitter. Being nosy, I looked up "Storm Dancer" on Amazon to see if it was worth a read. I read the sample chapter provided and decided to buy it as my attention was captured. At 42 chapters, I was looking forward to curling up on my comfy couch to read this dark fantasy tale.We are introduced to Daoud and the dark urges that his djinn tempts him with from the start of the book. This djinn taunts Daoud on a daily basis which leave Daoud struggling to control his dark side.Daoud is summoned by the Consort and ordered to obey the Consort's demands. Given very little choice, Daoud can only do as the Consort wishes him to do.Merida hails from the Virtuous Republic of Riverland. Her people are very strict and judge people on their personal values. Merida deems herself a virtuous being and she strives to rid herself of the shame that has befallen her. Something her mother cannot forgive her for.Follow these two very different characters through a story that will keep you interested from the first chapter right through until the last word. With dangers galore, their journey is an adventurous one to say the least.From the lowliest character to the two main stars of this book, I ranged through a majority of emotions from happiness to sadness, pride to indignation, shock to glee. Rayne Hall's "Storm Dance" characters are characters you will either love or hate, but you will not forget them.When I first read about Merida, I found her to be the most stuck up snob I have ever read about. By the end of the book, my opinion of her had changed drastically. I found myself tsking at Daoud in some parts of the story and hailing him a hero in others. None of the characters are completely innocent, which was a refreshing change.I wasn't overly upset or disturbed by the darkness level in the story line but it is a dark fantasy and it will disturb some readers. I would recommend this book to readers of the fantasy genre but I would also recommend it to anyone who likes romance, because there is romance in there, no matter whether it is a dark book or not.Go on, pick up a copy and read, it's a well written story with characters you will enjoy meeting.

  • Aoife Sheridan
    2018-12-27 16:59

    Review for Storm Dancerwww.reviewoffantasy.com(5th Review for May)I received a copy of this book for an honest opinion.Okay firstly I only agreed to read this book because I was asked for the authors book tour, otherwise I wouldn’t have picked it up based on the book cover, but once I read the synopsis it peaked my interest. And Wow it was a lesson very hard learnt don’t always judge a book by its cover. I have never read a book that blew me away with its world building, creativity and uniqueness. The author is so talented that I devoured this book and once finished, I didn’t want to leave Dahoud and Merida, when their journey of love was only starting.Dahoud is a monster there is no other way to put it. Possessed by what he believes is a djinn, that causes him to do evil things. When I say evil things, I mean like rape, torture, take a life. Sometimes his thoughts are far more disturbing than his actions. I felt my skin crawl a few times when Merida the beautiful rain dancer was around him, in my head I was screaming run, as we could hear his thoughts on how he wanted to rape her. His story is sad as usual with a man like this his mother was to blame, placing that hate for women in his head, letting it festers for years and coming in contact with all the wrong women, his views strengthened at how we should be mistreated, until he wants to redeem himself and tries to hide his past and make an example of Merida, to show he could defeat the Djinn that made him do bad things. (He can keep telling himself that).Anyway Merida is really interesting she is brought up in Riverland with very strict rules, or she calls them her virtues. Merida is naïve and innocent yet a warrior with understanding. Yet at times I was screaming at her to not be so naïve but she learnt the hard way, and if I hear her mention Riverland one more time I will go there and burn it to the ground, no not really but she mentioned it a lot like in Riverland everything is perfect, in Riverland everybody is perfect. But other than that she was an amazing main character.I just loved loved this story and would highly recommend it.

  • A.J. Church
    2019-01-06 16:52

    Storm Dancer is a lush, complex tale of the internal growth of two very different characters: Dahoud, a former siege commander who once reveled in the terror he imposed on his victims and is now trying to atone for those atrocities, and Merida, a judgmental magician from a very strict, structured society suddenly thrown into a world of lawless perversions. It would be hard to imagine two more opposite characters, and the journey that brings them together, both physically and philosophically, is a multi-layered mélange of cultures and settings as rich and intoxicating as a fine Middle Eastern dish.I must admit, not being a regular reader of epic fantasy, it took me a few chapters to get into the book. I frequently feel off-balance by the worlds of epic and high fantasy because there is often no familiar ground on which to stand. That being said, I was drawn into the book by the richness of the world and the depth of the characters. Very often in fantasy, we see stereotypical tropes being exploited over and over—the so-called strong woman who is as non-approachable as a porcupine and the tortured heroic man who gives in too easily to either redemption or temptation.Neither was the case here. A tale such as this requires patience to tell. It is not something to be rushed to the end with a happily-ever-after tucked on top. Here there is sublime beauty and degrading violence, hope and hopelessness. As reader, you feel your mind slow to the hypnotic rhythm of the desert world, absorbed by the richness of detail and the web of intrigue. When an author can draw your emotions so fiercely into a tale, their job has been done. There are people here to hate, people to root for, and people to feel sorry for. Like the mesmerizing dance of the rainmaker, I was drawn in, transfixed by, and immersed in the tale, and while the journey was long and arduous, I was both sorry and elated when it came to an end.

  • The
    2019-01-03 17:59

    Storm Dancer is a somewhat dark epic tale of Dahoud, a man constantly stuck between good and evil. Throughout the entire book we go on a journey with Dahoud as he fights to put his past behind him and become a better man. We watch him grow and evolve in a compelling tale of power, greed, war, love, lust, magic, demonic possession and hope.Through Dahoud’s journey we meet a number of fascinating characters including Merida, the naive and rather self-righteous magician from a distant land who arrives believing she is a special, honored guest only to learn that things aren’t always quite what they seem.Rayne Hall spins an exotic, engaging and intriguing tale with a gifted story telling ability that easily rivals some of the most popular and well known fantasy series authors of present day. Although some of the subject matter is fairly dark, most of those parts are not really graphic with the exception of one brief part, if I remember correctly. And even that was not frivolously done and was a necessary component to the flow of the story. In all honesty, the book description led me to believe that it would be far more graphic and dark than it actually was, in my opinion. Still not appropriate for younger audiences, however.I would, will and already have recommended Storm Dancer to others. It’s really not often that I find a book that I find so engaging and well written that tells a great story. Rayne Hall’s writing is superb. One of my pet peeves is when an author uses the same phrases over and over again in a book…it really irritates me, even when it’s a great story. I am so happy to report that I didn’t notice that even one time in Storm Dancer! So, if you want an exciting, thrilling and engaging book to curl up with, why not get a copy of Storm Dancer…you won’t regret it…it’s a great read!

  • Sadie Forsythe
    2019-01-18 15:56

    Storm Dancer wasn't at all what I expected and I was pleasantly surprised. Honestly I just expected a bit of a dark, rape-themed alpha male PNR (but still I read it). It's a lot more than that. Yes, poor Dahoud is possessed by a djinn focused on the cruel sexual domination of women and he has committed horrible atrocities in the past. But the book is largely focused on his attempt to atone for those sins. He's tempted constantly, but he's also trying really really hard to be a good man. He is a seriously flawed anti-hero, and a disciplined soldier, but has to learn to recognise and discipline his subconscious too. Enter Merida. If there is one thing Merida thinks she is, it is disciplined of the mind. While Dahoud is straining to lash his mind down Merida is struggling to accept that maybe she needs to give hers a little more leeway. (Though I have to admit I loved her obsession with symmetry.)Both Merida and Dahoud find themselves mired in the mind games of a despotic ruler, international politics, war and a complete lack of interpersonal communication. These two managed to go months without speaking to one another, which only served to exacerbate their alienation of each other. My heart went out to Dahoud over and over again, even though with his past one might question if he deserved my sympathy. All in all a well fleshed out story. It did feel like the book took a long time to get started. The two main characters don't even meet until 40 or so percent of the way through the book. But all of the world building and political back story that is revealed is useful to know. A few threads seemed to have been left open. What happened to Tarkan for example, but I didn't really mind. The book was full of serious, dark themes but wasn't a particularly dark read. It even had a fairly mushy ending. Defiantly glad I picked it up.

  • Cheryl
    2018-12-27 11:54

    Suspenseful. Unexpected. I kept reading to find out about these fascinating characters, Dahoud and Merida, and what happens to them. The story was unpredictable and largely plot-driven. The author continuously knocked them down yet the characters remained determined, making me wonder how they would get through the trials, deceptions, and betrayals. All of the characters have their dark sides, making them antiheroes, but I kept reading to find out what happened to them because I liked them anyway (the indication of a skilled writer). The character desires and rampant sexism are certainly horrifying and dark. This book was uncomfortable and hard to read because the narrative allows us into Dahoud’s head and to imagine what it would be like to have a rapist’s desires – it’s unnerving. There was significant social commentary, about race, cultural appropriation, gender, wealth, class, family, nationalism, and rape culture.However, the beginning is slow, and it's not immediately clear what the two characters have to do with one another; they spend very little of the book actually interacting. The blurb for this book is misleading. It implies a romantic relationship between the two main characters, which is really not the focus of this epic tale. The blurb frames it as a type of romance, but the love is anything but typical. My biggest critique is that there could have been so much more detail. The political alliances and strategic moves were not always clear. More setting descriptions would help place the reader in the story. I so wish we could see deeper into the characters' minds and interactions and that more time was spent in the high tension scenes. Events sometimes happened too quickly and easily, without description of the consequences.Overall, these characters are fascinating, original, and I would love to see more writings where they are featured.

  • Hans Cummings
    2019-01-16 17:58

    I have mixed feelings about Storm Dancer. On one hand, I found it to be engaging and well-written. The Middle Eastern fantasy world is a fresh change from the typical Eurocentric fantasy so often found. I found it hard to separate some of the characters from each other and keep track of who was who, mostly because of how unfamiliar the names were with me. I also found myself wishing for a map at times. I always like to study a map of a new fantasy world, but the lack of a map doesn't detract from the story. The author does an excellent job engaging the senses, and while the story is a little dark, I was expecting something as dark as Game of Thrones, and this can't really touch that.Which is fine. I got pulled in by the sample, so I was ready for it and I was actually relieved it wasn't as dark as Game of Thrones. It's not a good book to read if you have rape or torture triggers, though (which I do not). Storm Dancer doesn't feature a hero, per se. Dahoud is more of an anti-hero and some readers may not be satisfied with his final end. The female protagonist, Merida is a different case, and I found myself sympathizing more with her, though I found her change of attitude at the end to be a little forced; I didn't quite buy it. Of course, I read this through the eyes of a man living in the 21st century. I suppose I could see it in the context of the fantasy world, but it's still a stretch.It's a minor issue. I do wish I could give half-star ratings, though, because I feel like 3 stars is not good enough, but 4 stars is too generous. Overall, I did like it, though I can see several areas with which other readers would take issue.

  • Ann
    2018-12-30 15:44

    When I started with Storm Dancer, I didn't expect to like the book as much as I ended up to do. While the setting - a set of well defined countries vaguely resembling the medieval middle east (albeit with weather magic and public executions) - was totally my forte, the topic - the struggle of a serial (war) rapist to atone for his crimes - could easily have soured matters.However, Storm Dancer's Daoud's rise above his excuse (not named, avoiding spoilers) was a positive surprise. The book does not excuse the crimes, does not go "and he's forgiven ever after", but indicates that he might have a place if (better read the book and decide for yourself, please).Don't be fooled, this is a book about the effects of past war in a devastated country, about atrocities committed both - in war and under malevolent rulers, but at the same time, the author manages not to dwell on the blood or the deeds. Despite it's topic, this book is very far from "rape porn" or whatever you'd like to classify such books. However, it's not harmless with respect to violence. In contrast to rape, torture and imprisonment practices are shown directly and, as can be expected given the setting, are not for the squeamish or faint of heart.If you can handle that, then Storm Dancer is a book that adds a unique flavor to the old lore of djinns and desert wars, with a strong set of individual female characters, a male lead you'll struggle not to like for his efforts, and suitably evil villains; all wrapped up in a nicely readable text. :)

  • Karen
    2019-01-12 12:43

    A heroic fantasy set in what would appear to be the middle ages. Dahoud, a former siege commander, is sent back to his homeland to oversee the assimilation of a city racked by drought and desperation. Merida, a weather magician, joins Dahoud in a land she deems unprincipled and must decide where her future lays.As Dahoud and Merida travel through their many life lessons, joined by other colourful characters, you are drawn along for the ride through strange lands and customs with magic, deceit and betrayal as side trips along the trail. They battle inner demons, corrupt officials, and try to overcome many obstacles along the way.This novel is well written with well developed and colourful characters. The scenes are vividly described, without long drawn out narratives. There is some very graphic violence in the novel but the author has integrated it into the text very well so it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the story. Some have said the violence is a little too graphic but I have to say I’ve read many many books that are much more graphic than this one, and they left a disturbing shadow over the entire story, where this one doesn’t.I have to admit that when I first started reading this novel I was not expecting much, but it didn’t take long to be drawn into the story and I found myself having difficulty putting it down. Anyone who enjoys a historical fantasy, with a little romance will really enjoy this novel.

  • Debbie Christiana
    2019-01-19 16:53

    Dark fantasy isn't a genre I read often. However, after reading Storm Dancer, I may rethink that. Well written, with a strong story line, and intriguing characters, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author takes us on a fast-paced journey to a violent land filled with deception, sexual desire, and magic.Set in a time long ago, with many diverse cultures and customs, the story revolves around the hero, Dahoud. A successful military leader, he is haunted by his dark, violent past - violence that spared no one, including women. Determined to make amends he fakes his death and takes on a new identity.Kirral, the deliciously evil Consort to the Queen, (I have to confess, he was one of my favorite characters. No, I'm not a sadist) commands Dahoud to travel to a region ravished by rebellion and drought. Here he gathers a mixed bag of characters into his inner circle - a seer, healer, nomad, his new bride and a chieftain who has the loyalty of the natives - and later on, the heroine, Merida the Storm Dancer, who can produce rain with her magical dance.Using his intelligence and military cleverness, Dahoud must figure out whom he can trust and whom he can't. Most important, can he trust himself to reject the djinn that resides deep inside him.A word of caution: This book contains scenes of violence, to women as well as men but it didn't distract me from the overall story. It was a very good read.

  • Sharon Stevenson
    2018-12-26 14:57

    'Storm Dancer' is the dark fantasy tale of Dahoud, a man trying to reform himself while under the influence of a malevolent Djinn. The world Hall has created is pretty brutal and there is a lot of rape and torture going on. Usually dark content doesn't bother me but I found it completely impossible to sympathise with Dahoud in any way because of the horrifying things he had done, regardless of how widespread this sort of behaviour was in the book and regardless of his back story. This was my only real problem and it wasn't enough to make me put the book down.This was very well written and believable so I think it will be thoroughly enjoyed by fans of dark epic fantasy novels. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going it altered course and went someplace entirely unexpected! The shocks were well set up and the pacing was perfect. I very much liked Merida and her fiery spirit and I was rooting for her to find a way to get home the whole time. She was strong and determined and was definitely my favourite character.Overall this is a book well worth reading, as in spite of not liking one of the two main characters the story still kept me hooked right to the end. Recommended reading for dark fantasy fans!

  • Lee French
    2019-01-20 15:39

    Storm Dancer is definitely not for everyone, just as the author cautions. Armed with that warning, I enjoyed the book for what it was - dark fantasy. The main character struggles with his inner demon, and it's really a demon. I should say this isn't the most explicitly disturbing book I've ever read, but it certainly isn't light escapism or chaste social commentary.It took me a while to read this book, because I kept seeing the train wrecks coming and didn't want to watch the characters' short-sightedness and/or foolishness reap its reward. I kept going for the same reason most of us slow down to see what happened at the site of a car accident or fire.I liked Dahoud as the star of a redemption tale, though it starts with him already trying to find a measure of atonement. He's not really an anti-hero, which surprised me. Merida is also good, solid character, as are the supporting cast.The conclusion felt satisfying for most of the characters. I thought there was a thread or two left loose, but it didn't dampen my enjoyment. It has some typos and grammar issues here and there - just enough that I noticed but not enough to annoy me.I did like the book, quite a bit, and recommend it to people who enjoy fantasy in desert settings and aren't afraid of the warnings.

  • Heather Heffner
    2019-01-05 18:38

    Bright future ahead for this author*Minor spoilers*Storm Dancer proves to be a dark fantasy epic set in a desert world that feels authentically original. The different lands are well-developed, and demon djinn haunt several main cast members, enflaming their baser human desires. Although the main driving force behind the plot does not become clear until halfway through, the characters really shine. Merida definitely won me over early on—wonderfully flawed with a haughty attitude, she nevertheless overcomes the most impossible of situations, and proves to be both sensibly level-headed and a fighter in her own right. Main protagonist Dahoud isn’t as easy to connect with (Let’s be honest, there’s only so much sympathy the reader can feel for a reformed rapist, possessed or not) and comes across as the generic hero, despite his sordid past. Villain Kirral was a guilty favorite; he was creepily sadistic, and you could always count on him to be one step ahead of our protagonists. And I have to give a shout-out to Yora: she was awesome. This book warns of graphic violence, but fans of George R.R. Martin and Steve Erikson won’t be bothered. Well-written and delightfully imaginative. *I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

  • Craig McGray
    2018-12-23 19:43

    I am not one for lengthy, plot scrutinizing reviews, so here is my short but sweet review of Storm Dancer.Rayne Hall has crafted a wonderfully vivid world. I found the pages turning easily and I often stayed up way too late as the time slipped by. The characters were very well developed, and the descriptions precise. While fantasy isn't the main genre I read, I do enjoy dark stories. This had more than its share of darkness and necessary violence which kept me turning the pages.The action was fast paced and often. While some may find the violence a bit much, such is the setting of the story. They were violent times, and honestly, not too much different from the world news I see on a daily basis.The dialogue was well done and controlled the pace perfectly.Dahoud struggled to suppress the dark demons that threatened to control his life. We all have demons to control, to some degree at least, and I enjoyed how the story developed. The characters were woven together and the interactions were believable and well planned out.I give 5 stars to Rayne Hall for a very well done story. Highly recommended for an action packed read.

  • Kris AustenRadcliffe
    2019-01-22 14:43

    I won’t review the plot here—the other reviews provide excellent synopses. What I will touch on is the lushness and world-building of this story. Good fantasy needs a good setting, as well as characters who are as much a part of it as it is a part of them. In Storm Dancer, politics, culture, and the land itself all come together to complicate Dahoud’s and Merida’s lives. They navigate court intrigue, battles, and a desert where subjugation and the lack of water have brought a proud people to their knees.Beyond this harsh, lush world are the characters who populate it. Granted, there are a lot, but they all have individual voices, goals, and problems. Psychologically, they cover a broad spectrum, with a wide variety of issues and quirks. I found the different ways the characters dealt with magic—and djinn—to be both beautifully drawn and engrossing. Storm Dancer is an immersive work—drawing you in and keeping you there. The only complaint I have is that it is long. It’s not a “quick” read, but well worth it nonetheless.