Review – Storm Dancer, by Rayne Hall

A reblog, because I missed the firing up on the right day … sorry.

First up, a warning – this story is dark fantasy. Dark, dark fantasy with potential triggers re physical abuse/rape. I’ve posted about another of Rayne’s stories, and always enjoy the the style and tone. This is the darkest of them all. You have been warned.

The Review

Storm Dancer is the story of a man damned and his journey toward redemption.

I’ll start with this – it’s not a romance, although Dahoud is desperate to be loved by a woman who is worthy of herself; it’s not a sword and sorcery, although there are battles and swords and magic; it’s not a story of ‘the one’ who must find a way to save the tribe, although he does create a safe place for those he wishes to oversee as lord of this land in order to repay the people for his past acts.

This is a story of a journey through the flaws of self, of the need to always see the other side of possibility, to work with those who may not have your best interests at heart – because Dahoud has their best interests at heart, in spite of his djinn.

I wanted to dislike Dahoud. I really did, but I ended up being desperate to see him break the chains of the old evil hidden deep within. I wanted to see him win his internal battle. I wanted to see him win an honest and giving heart.

The story feels Bronze-age Middle Eastern, with many references to the style of life from that era. It feels appropriate and right for the events and people within the story, including the flaws of political and territorial rule.

But, back to Dahoud, the main character, who just so happens to have a djinn within, an entity that torments him, that whispers in his thoughts, that tempts him toward evil.

Will Dahoud win against those desires? Can he win against that lustful, hateful demon within that tempts him at every turn to create pain and disorder, that ekes out vengeance from the smallest slight?

It is a story of hope, in the end. A story of perseverance against the odds, external and internal, and knowing the cost of failure – at any stage, at every stage, at every turn and also from within.

It’s a story about the search for a way to redeem for his past, to pay the price and earn the trust of his people. It’s a story of hope that a man can be more than what he has done before this moment.

Dahoud, the Black Besieger, and Mireda, the rain-dancer, invite you into their search for a true self. They both journey far and hard from their beginnings before they find …

Now, I wonder if the next battle on this ground will be the ex-consort kidnapping a Riverian related to Merida?

Don’t you just love the cover? I certainly do, but I like dark, I like the fear implied by fire, by red, by a sword held at the ready …

Going cheap until 30 April, 2022 at your local ‘zon.

There are other stories set in this world. The Colour of Dishonour (a collection of short stories) has a story I’m particularly fond of – Each Stone, a Life, which I still enjoy reading.

6 thoughts on “Review – Storm Dancer, by Rayne Hall

    • Me, too. An impressive world with interesting characters on a journey of atonement – what’s not to love? And for me, I like the dark-toned stories, especially when written as well as this one.

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  1. Thanks for reviewing my book! It’s interesting that you didn’t wnt to like Dahoud, but rooted for him.

    When I started writing Storm Dancer, I had no idea what a dark and troubled character Dahoud was. I tought he was a nice guy, a swashbuckling fantasy hero type. I had written a complete novel draft when he finally revealed that he was possessed by a demon that made him commit atrocities. Of course, this changed the character, the tone of the novel, the plot, everything. I had to start over and write it as a different book. But I like the resulting book, and I like Dahoud a lot.

    I’d be afraid of him and for him, but I admire his determination to fight the evil inside him, and I admire especially his self-sacrifice. I think he’s a truer hero than the swashbuckling guys who merely have to defeat dragons and villainous overlords.

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    • I agree – he’s a man who fights within himself to find his true self, and to atone for the ‘other’ within.
      That’s what makes a hero, and that’s what made him compelling and interesting.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Rayne Hall takes the reader inside the redemptive struggle of a very flawed hero. Great read with interesting characters and wonderful world building.

    Liked by 1 person

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