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.