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Hope and Red (Empire of Storms) Paperback – 30 Jun 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (30 Jun. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0356507122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0356507125
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 3.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Action-packed . . . Compelling characters and tense action (SFX)

Superb fantasy packed with daring pirates, brave warriors, intelligent thieves and revolution . . . A phenomenal read (BookBag)

A great swashbuckling adventure (Sun)

Fast-paced, substantial and entertaining (Civilian Reader)

Book Description

With intense characters, blisteringly-paced action and a heart-stopping plot, Hope and Red is destined to be the next fantasy blockbuster. Perfect for fans of Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson and Peter V. Brett.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fast paced and exciting. This reminded me of Scott Lynch's 'Gentlemen Bastards' series (particularly 'Red seas under red skies) and 'The red wolf conspiracy' by Robert Redick. Both are very good and this was too.

Both main characters are likeable and well rounded with an intriguing back story. They also have excellent chemistry together and compliment each well both in terms of plot and personality. Hope is talented and capable but pleasant and friendly at the same time; she genuinely cares for Red and vice versa. Red is a little smarmy but on the whole he's a strong and capable addition.

The pacing of the book is fantastic. The author does not get bogged down in meaningless exposition. A lot happens over a huge period of time and apart from one exception- more on that later- the story had sufficient depth.

Another plus point was the use of language. The main area -Paradise Circle- had its own jargon and sayings making the book much more organic and believable. Initially, it's a little disconcerting but you soon pick up the dialect and it's very clever.

There are some problems: the bad men -the biomancers- who have the ability to change living matter, are very underdeveloped and this is where the book lacks depth. How do they do this?, why? is it natural or learned? who knows, maybe we'll find out in the next book. They were all men who found women inferior and incapable. They felt the female form of magic would taint their power. It was real shame to see this divisive and tired trope of 'only men are evil and intolerant' used in a new fantasy book and it irritated me.

But overall it was a fun read.

7/10.
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Format: Paperback
4.5 of 5 stars
[...]
Hope and Red is one of my July reads that I’m catching up with reviews for – and I will say from the outset that it’s a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have to confess that I’m probably a bit of a pushover for the sort of story that brings you a protagonist thrown into a dire situation and then made to survive, watching their development, maybe they’re nurtured, taken under somebody’s wing, trained or just taught the harsh facts of life from the environment in which they live. With Hope and Red you get double the enjoyment. Two characters orphaned from a tender age and each raised in the most unusual (and absolutely opposite and yet at the same time incredibly similar) set of circumstances. To top it off, and most unusual really, I loved both characters and the way they were written.

The two main protagonists are Hope and Red. To take them in turn. Hope witnessed her entire village murdered at a young age. Fortunately she was taken in by an ancient order, the Vinchen warriors, and eventually taken under the wing of the master teacher who named her Bleak Hope (after the village from which she came) and saw something in her that he deemed worthy of training – even though it went against the code of the order. Hope’s entire purpose becomes one of revenge and with the Vinchen training she has the ability to maybe achieve that goal.

Red also became an orphan at a young age, and whilst his origins might speak of a privileged start in life, once he finds himself alone in the world he quickly sinks much lower and finds himself dwelling in the slums of New Laven. Named for his red eyes (a side effect of the drug his mother took during pregnancy) Red’s survival, similar to Hope’s, lay in the most unusual circumstances.
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Format: Paperback
**eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley**

I had no idea what to expect with this one, I didn't have much to go on - but the premise sounded intriguing. It was definitely not what I was expecting, but that is by no means a bad thing.

If I had to describe this story, it's an amalgamation of Gangs of New York and Pirates of the Caribbean, with a little bit of Assassins Creed thrown in for good measure. There's gang fights, ship sailing, sea creatures, sordid encounters, and a ton of folk slang. Seriously, there's a glossary at the back and everything. Now, rather than being off-putting, this actually served to make the story more immersive, and I really felt transported to the fictional universe that Skovron has created.

This book is bold, brazen, and unashamedly crude. There is graphic violence, horror and sex. After reading the opening few pages, I was immediately hooked, and had a million and one questions. Although the pace is somewhat meandering in the first 20-40%, it soon picks up (once Hope and Red actually meet each other) and the action is full throttle from pretty much then on. Although I was at times confused concerning certain parts of the narrative - there are some seemingly random passages from the point of view of a biomancer - the purposes of these passages becomes clearer towards the end of the book, and sets up the next novel nicely.

The biomancers, in fact, were an interesting concept, and I would love to know more about them (I'm hoping this will be covered in the next book) and, indeed, I'm anticipating more development concerning the figure of the emperor, too.

This brings me on to the characters; none are quite alike, and everyone appears to have a tragic backstory.
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