Shale is the lowest of the low-an outcast from a poor village in the heart of the desert. In the desert water is life, and currency, and Shale has none. But he has a secret. It's the one thing that keeps him alive and may save all the cities of the Quartern in the days to come. If it doesn't get him killed first. Terelle is a slave fleeing a life as a courtesan. She finds shelter in the home of an elderly painter but as she learns the strange and powerful secrets of his art she fears she may have traded a life of servitude for something far more perilous. The Stormlord is dying in his tower and there is no one, by accident or design, to take his place. He brings the rain from the distant seas to his people. Without a Stormlord, the cities of the Quartern will wither and die.
Their civilization is at the brink of disaster. If Shale and Terelle can find a way to save themselves, they may just save them all. Water is life and the wells are running dry...
We all know fantasy books are long so that should not scare anyone looking for a good book, and good it was. I was swept away by a strange new world where water was precious and I did not want to stop reading.
The book takes places in a land where men and women use magic to make it rain, but they are fewer and not as good as before. The rains do not fall as often as they did before and the country is not united either. There are the cityfolk, fair and stuck in cities. Nomadic tribes crossing the dunes and Gibbers trying to survive in small villages. The rich have the most water, the poor the least, and the waterless have nothing at all. It may not be a fair world but it is a world that is dying of thirst and decisions has to be made.
Shale is born in a little village, a shitty place really. At the end of the country where they think the Rainlords are gods. Not his fault that they are uneducated and that they kill people who can find water. But I like him and as he grows up I like him more. He has this drive and anger, I have to like him.
Terelle is sold by her father and works at a brothel. When she becomes a woman she will work as whore and it is something she does not want. For that I like her too, she does her best to try to get away and she does get away and starts working for a painter. And here her story starts to get even more interesting, I can't say anything but yes interesting.
There are also other people, other Rainlords like Kaneth and Ryka, Russet the painter, Taquar, and well I could tell you more but I do not want to spoil things. Some people in this book are just evil and I want to kick their asses and let them rot in the sun and die of thirst. Then there are those making difficult decisions, those trying to save lives, those trying to get power and those that are just plain stupid. Every good book has a good cast of side characters and here you will find them. The ones who hate and the ones you start to care for.
I started to read this book and I quickly liked it. It's not a nice book either, people are not always happy or get their way. No, people die, it's cruel, and it is life. And it makes me believe in this world and it makes me crave more. And yes there is a sort of cliffhanger at the end, but one that I can live with. Sure I need to know what happens and I will read book 2, but it was also an ending that did not make me crawl up the walls in desperation. But it was still an ending that leaves this world worse off than ever. Book 2 here I come.
Of course you should read it. With that I recommend it.