Ellen Sandberg

WOW….What can I say…. Wow

This is the 5th book in the Order of the Black Swan.  Please forgive me for repeating that the books need to be read in order (MY FAMILIAR STRANGER, THE WITCH’S DREAM, A SUMMONER’S TALE, MOONLIGHT).  I say this because I love these books and that is the way to fully appreciate the scope of this series.

Gathering Storm is amazing.  So much of it I didn’t see coming because I was so caught up in the story.  The action sequences were beyond exciting.  To be honest, when I come to most fight/battle scenes in books, my mind seems to wander a bit and I tend to skim through them.  In this book, my attention was totally captured.  I was edge of my seat, glued to the page, laughing at some parts, and holding my breath at others.

There is a lot of action as well as love (all different kinds) in this book.  But I think what really affected me the most was the theme concerning the true essence of person.

Why do some rise to a situation and become heroes and others take a different path?  What happens when just one person recognizes the potential of another individual and helps nourish that potential?  What happens when that potential is ignored?

Victoria Danann has created such complex characters and has presented such deep themes that this question isn’t as black and white as it seems.  Some are given chances and seize the opportunity to become the best they could be.  Others waste or abuse the opportunities they are given.  Some appear to be slackers but when they are tested, they find their strength and courage.  Some slackers slink away.  There are no easy answers.  A math instructor can become a warrior, a warrior can be totally useless in a crisis.  Our actions have far reaching consequences and bravery is expressed in many forms- a scientist who has had enough, a bar owner who trusts a stranger, an angel who comes to care for his assignment, a wastrel who sees himself clearly for the first time.  But don’t worry.  This is not presented as a dry philosophical thesis.  The book is exciting, entertaining, and moving.

After finishing the story, I wondered how I could come up with the words to express what I thought of this book and how it affected me.  I had lots of tears.  Some of them were sad tears, many were happy tears.  These books are about friendship, loyalty, and love.   I have come to care deeply for the characters and look forward to spending more time with them.  The books are even better on a second (or third or fourth….) read.  In fact if there is one thing that I find very sad it that I can’t actually have a hot chocolate with Elora, an Irish whiskey with Ram, Storm, and Kay, hold Helm and kiss his little fingers, or play with Blackie.

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