Thea Guanzon bursts onto the scene with a tale of political intrigue and ancient magic in The Hurricane Wars.
This fantasy romance opens in the middle of a war, one that’s been raging for 10 years between the Sardovian Allfold and the Night Empire. We’re introduced to orphaned soldier Talasyn, who as a Lightweaver, someone who can summon energy in the form of light, is the last hope for her people. But before she can reach a temple in a faraway land that will boost her power, she’s intercepted by Prince Alaric, heir to the Night Empire and a Shadowforge (the opposite of Talasyn’s abilities). Talasyn and Alaric should be diametrically opposed. But then, Alaric offers an uncharacteristic olive branch.
The Hurricane Wars is a beautifully written tale of freedom and oppression, of passion and apathy. Guanzon’s narrative is full of vibrant imagery—floating castles, falling boulders and streets paved with gold—and extensive world building exploring how enchanters imbue the elements with hues of emerald and sapphire. As she explains in her Author’s Note at the beginning of the book, the Filipina writer has essentially created an otherworldly version of her country, mirroring its centuries of foreign rule and volatile cyclones, volcanoes and earthquakes.
There’s a lot at stake in this enemies-to-lovers romance, and tensions run high from the first page to the last. Talysyn is the light to Alaric’s darkness, both literally and figuratively, and Guanzon leans into the elemental push and pull of their relationship. The book is lengthy and twisty to the extreme, and there are as many characters as settings to keep up with. Catching up with the action in chapter one feels like jumping onto a moving treadmill, because there are so many details to absorb before you feel up to speed.
An underdog rebel fighting against an imperial oppressor is a familiar tale. However, Guanzon’s intricately imagined world and spirited writing style mark her as an exciting new voice in the realm of fantasy romance. The Hurricane Wars is an entertaining start to a sure-to-be epic series.