Home of authors Holly Hunt & Jophrael L. Avario

Storm Without End by RJ Blain – Review

Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

My Review:

This book was a strong contender for my favourites. The story was strong and compelling, and I finished it in 18 hours. Couldn’t put it down.

The simmering tension between the Danarites and the Kelshites is a good, subtle filter I the back of the story, while the audience travels with Breton and Kalen across a landscape seemingly made entirely of mud and misery.

This is a very exciting book, and I urge every person to read it, and the books after it.


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1. Why didn’t you become a policeman instead of a writer?

This question is really difficult for me. Among the usual job choices of wanting to be a vet, the President, ultra rich, and an Air Force pilot, I did want to become a police officer. But, I was sick as a child, and the illness left me with a significantly weakened circulatory system. I was told early on I wouldn’t pass the physical for pilot or police officer.

That didn’t stop me from trying to become an athlete, but it didn’t work out. My crowning achievement was getting a varsity letter for sports in high school though, but I picked my battles wisely. I played tennis, and my coach exempted me from doing the running portions of practice because I couldn’t handle it. I could handle the bursts across the court, but I couldn’t handle the multi-mile runs he liked to force the team through when we were idiots.

When we did get the punishment runs, I walked them with short bursts of jogging between. At least I wizened up and didn’t try out for track and field! That wasn’t for lack of wanting, though…

Fortunately for me, writing ended up being my top choice anyway. I may not be able to do even a quarter of all of the physical things I want to do, but my characters can, at least!

 2. If you could only tell one story in your life, what would it be?

I’d cheat. Seriously, I would cheat. I would just write the world’s longest story ever,  a novel of a hundred parts, where epic fantasy meets science fiction, meets mystery thriller, and then goes on to become a children’s story about elephants on trampolines. If I had to write one and only one, I’d go insane. I may as well have my single multi-million word ‘novel’ reflect the complete breakdown of my mental wellbeing.

Just one story… eesh. I guess I could almost cheat and just say that I’d write the entire story of the world my first two novels are written. The place has so many stories, and because of how I am juxtaposing the two fantasy series in that world, I could get away with it, sort of.

But really, I’d write the absolute longest story I could.

3. Apples or pears?

Is both really not an answer here? Crap. That’s a problem. I really like both apples and pears. I’m going to have to go with apples. Apples are more versatile when it comes to cooking, and I really enjoy cooking. Cooking is one of my passions when I’m not writing.

But not to leave pears out, it was really hard not to choose pears. When I was growing up, my mother had a huge pear tree. This tree was so massive that we had to use a stick with a fruit catcher attachment to get to the low lying fruit. There was no running outside and just grabbing a pear. You had to use this stick to get the fruit. It was quite a bit of a game for me as a kid. We’d have competitions to see who could get the most pears.

When I grew up a bit, I was able to reach to lowest fruits, but that didn’t stop me from using the long stick to pick pears. It was fun. The pears were always really good, too. I miss that tree. I moved to Canada from the US when I was 18, and the pears here simply don’t compare.

4. Which of your own characters would you like to meet and why?

Lars is the captain of a cavalry unit in a novel I’m currently working on. He has such a strong sense of honor, he’s a little too self-sacrificing, and he’s smart. It doesn’t hurt he’s good looking enough, and he’s kind. What I think I like about him best, though, is that while he is self-sacrificing, and he does have a strong sense of honor, he makes his choices while weighing the value of his life against what he needs to accomplish. He’s the type of guy who would risk getting hit by a car just because there was someone who needed help and he was there.

He doesn’t need a reason to help someone. That sort of character really appeals to me. But, he’s not blindly loyal. If he’s betrayed, he won’t necessarily die just because his king told him to. He’ll try to survive, unless he truly believes his death will save someone — or many someones — that he truly admires or loves.

He’s self-sacrificing within reason, and I like that a lot.

In a way, he is a living contradiction, and that makes him interesting.

 5. How would you like the world to end?

Is it Christmas and no one told me? Oh, man… I love this question so much. I love volcanoes. I have an unhealthy obsession with them. Always have. I find them extremely fascinating, both in terms of their destructive beauty and their role in the Earth’s life cycle.

This is how I’d destroy the Earth… for humans, at least. I mean, that’s what people view as the end of the Earth, right? The wipe out of humanity? The planet has been through asteroid strikes capable of mass killing life. Unless you shatter it to bits, the planet’ll recover in one way or another.

But back to volcanoes. First, I’d have Yellowstone pop its top. The science of Yellowstone is incredible. Should it erupt, a notable chunk of the United States will be gone — boom! — just like that.The mid west would be buried in ash. Considering the current state of the Andreas fault in California, it would likely trigger a series of plate-shifting quakes along the west coast. In my cataclysm, Los Angeles goes for a swim as a result.

Second,Yellowstone has an evil twin sister in Argentina most people don’t know about. Oops. Like the three — yes, three — previous eruptions in the Yellowstone national park region, Argentina’s eruption ranked as a VEI-8. They don’t get any stronger than that.

Two VEI-8 eruptions, described as colossal and as super-eruptions, would definitely end the world as we know it. North and South America would mostly be in ruins. You might have some survival in East Coast USA/Canada. Possibly. Europe would be in trouble from the encroaching Ice Age. If the toxic gasses don’t kill everyone, the snow and ice will, as the planet goes through the motions of resetting itself so new life can come along.

But with so much below-crust activity going on, it would likely trigger stuff in the ring of fire, too.

Because I’m not satisfied with just two VEI-8 super-eruptions, let’s continue the scenario. In my creative efforts to ensure the complete downfall of Earth and life as we know it — or life at all, for most of us, I would add one final VEI-8 eruption.

This is disputed, but this is considered to be The Big One of volcanic eruptions, if it did happen. It makes the three sisters of Yellowstone look like some kid playing with a lava ball. Lake Toba, located in New Zealand, was believed to have wiped out some 60% of the Earth’s population at the time it blew its top.

So there we go. If I could end the world in any fashion, it’d be through fire and brimstone, sulfur, and so many other interesting things. Life as we know it would end, but the Earth would spin on.

 6. Which genre do you wish you could write, and why?

I would write a novel about the eruption of mega calderas. Post-Apocalyptic. I’ll spare you the reasoning why… I think you might be able to guess. (cough, cough… oops.)

7. You’re stuck on an island with only three things: A knife, a match and a stick. What would you do to survive?

It’s a good thing this isn’t a deserted island. I’d go to the nearest settlement, tell the poor guy at the gas station I’d been kidnapped, and that there were crazy people trying to make me play some survivor game, and that I’d really like to go home now.

Okay, to play fair, I’d probably crawl in a hole and die. I’m not very good at survival things. By that, I mean, really not good at it. I’d try to do the basics, like build a shelter, but it would all depend on what I had available If it’s a tropical island, oh man, I’d be okay. Palm fronds for weaving a shelter, since I got the knife to cut the strips. Coconut would be cracked open with rocks and things (because I don’t want to dull my knife.) I’d eventually get the courage to light a fire, once I was certain I could protect it from rain with my brand new nifty frond-roof.

This is, of course, assuming the evil poisonous everythings don’t get me.

Anywhere else? I suspect a land shark would eat me.

 8. Which of the following would you rather have stalking you through the night: A vampire, a werewolf, or Stephen King?

Oh man, that’s like playing Russian roulette knowing you’re going first and there’s only one empty chamber in the round. That’s just not nice.

I guess I would pick the vampire. There’s a chance he’s super hot and sexy, and vampirism better matches my lifestyle. The burning day star already hurts us, precious…

 9. Who is the best villain you’ve ever read, and why?

Oh, geeze. This is an evil question. I’m going to have to go with the villains from the Percy Jackson series. They’re cunning, sneaky, and terrifying. Take Luke, for example. He was entirely likable the entire first book. There were some extremely subtle clues thrown around that he was a bad guy, but I didn’t want to believe it. And his base reasons for turning sour are heartbreaking. It’s got a moral to the story I think parents should take a long, hard look at.

The other villains in the Percy Jackson stories share similar villainous traits. There are quite a few that just took me by complete surprise. And those are the villains I appreciate the most. Villains should always, always be the heroes of their own stories. Else they just feel fake to me, and put into the story to provide something for the protagonist to fight.

The same goes with my protagonists, too — I like them with a hint of darkness, because that makes them real.

Thanks for having me! These questions have been a lot of fun.


May 1, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Holly! Very appreciated. :) I’m so glad you enjoyed SWE!

    Comment by RJ Blain | May 1, 2014

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