Storm From The East by Joanna Hathaway Review

Storm From The East by Joanna HathawayStorm From The East by Joanna Hathaway (Glass Alliance #2)

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: February 11, 2020

Pages: 496

Available Through The Book Depository: Storm From The East

Cover Design: Marisa Aragón Ware

Summary: War has begun, and the days of Athan’s and Aurelia’s secret, summer romance feel a world away. Led by Athan’s father, the revolutionary Safire have launched a secret assault upon the last royal kingdom in the South, hoping to depose the king and seize a powerful foothold on the continent. Athan proves a star pilot among their ranks, struggling to justify the violence his family has unleashed as he fights his way to the capital—where, unbeknownst to him, Aurelia has lived since the war’s onset. Determined to save the kingdom Athan has been ordered to destroy, she partners with a local journalist to inflame anti-Safire sentiment, all while learning this conflict might be far darker and more complex than she ever imagined.

When the two reunite at last, Athan longing to shake the nightmare of combat and Aurelia reeling from the discovery of a long-buried family truth come to light, they’ll find the shadow of war stretches well beyond the battlefield. Each of them longs to rekindle the love they once shared . . . but each has a secret they’re desperate to hide.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Storm From The East is a phenomenal sequel that expands on the layered politics and deeply complex cast of characters, as Athan and Aurelia attempt to establish their identities while facing the realities of war! Exquisitely written, this historical fantasy, WW-infused tale continues to be as thought-provoking as it is enthralling! Storm From The East is haunting, beautiful and Hathaway establishes herself as a master in geopolitical storytelling!

Storm From The East is many things: it’s character-driven, a deep dive into the impacts of war, legacy and pride, it’s dark and hopeful, rooted in multi-layered politics, a tale of star-crossed love, but above all…it’s a book that’s daring!

Set about 3 months after Dark Of The West, Athan and Aurelia’s families are recuperating from the attempted coup of the Etanian throne. There’s a war headed to the South (Resya) and both of them are tangled up in it, with little means of escape. Athan becomes promoted to a squadron leader, while Aurelia attempts to follow her cousin Lark’s advice to get more evidence about the photographs from Beraya and learn more about whatever secrets her family tree is hiding.

It’s been so long since a sequel captivated me in such a way as this one did and I loved every moment. Hathway’s writing continues to be poetic, necessary even as we get a deeper look into how Aurelia and Athan’s perspectives create such distinct views of the world.

If you love plot-heavy/driven books, this sequel will leave you pleasantly surprised. From Aurelia leaving with Havis to uncover more secrets in Resya, taking up the role of a journalist. Then there’s Athan who is stuck fighting yet can’t seem to escape, he’s slowly realizing that he can’t seem to make his own choices anymore–even to the point where he’s unintentionally standing in his father and older brother’s shadows. All the while, Athan and Ali are still linked to each other, unsent letters and longing for reunion keep them grounded.

As Hathaway cemented even more of the evolving politics and devastation of Resya, it painted a distinct picture of both the consequences and realities of war.

Athan and Aurelia are faced with this stark truth, they have important choices to make if they’re to see each other again once this war is over. However, they also face the political shroud built by decades of history that obscures their chances at seeing the truth― the world around them can change for the better, but they must work together.

As established in book 1, Hathaway clearly draws inspiration from her love of history and through the increasing power of Savient, we see influences from early 20th Century political, militaristic, and geopolitical ties of Europe. In this book especially there’s a heavy influence through the planes and strides of journalistic reporting of that era!

Dark Of The West won me over for many reasons, one of those being these characters! One of my favorite dynamics in the sequel involved the increased layers to the Dakar family. There’s the General, cunning, manipulative, and Athan’s older brother Arrin, an equal yet unpredictable mirror. What surprised me too, was seeing Kalt who is unlike them and the more down-to-earth of them all, even more so than their sister Leannya.

One of the dynamics I find the most fascinating is Athan and Arrin, there’s an unsaid rivalry between them! I’m interested in seeing where Arrin’s journey is headed (will he pay for his crimes?) , if this book was any indication, I think Hathaway will leave readers surprised!

As Athan finds himself bound to the Resya conflict, we see how Hathaway digs deep to present our deeply flawed characters, while showing the cracks in their armor. As Athan attempts to undo his mistake and get in his family’s good graces again, he surprisingly begins to take up the roles he desperately wanted to avoid. Arrin gets him to attack innocents and his father, the ruthless General, begins incorporating him to more vital positions of war. General Dakar clearly knows more than is revealed and it’s surprising to see him brew this competition between his sons. In doing so, Athan’s forced to assume an identity that’s causing him internal dilemmas, pain, and possibly even early signs of PTSD. The truths as to who his family really is (especially in times of war) painted a clear picture not only in Athan, but Ali’s POV of the false perfection that certain sides are upholding. Because of that, their compassion and humanity is explored in such a thought-provoking way.

As Aurelia teams up with journalist Triza, we see her shed her role as princess to seek out the truth and publish propaganda that goes against the Dakar/Safire mission. As she goes undercover it’s all with the hope to inspire people to realize that Resyans shouldn’t be forced to suffer because of a vain plot for conquest.

What Hathaway brilliantly does in this book is continue to portray this idea of opposing mirrors. Athan and Aurelia are essentially the mirrors of those around them, yet it’s through Hathaway’s complex politics and intriguing storytelling that they learn whether they are ready to face or shatter that mirror.

There were many different layers to these characters (some that surprised me like Havis & Kalt)– I found myself seeing how well-developed and deeply flawed they were. But again, that just shows how strong Hathaway’s characterization and writing is. No matter what I already know about these characters, seeing them change through Ali & Athan’s perspective showed how much they themselves grew too!

We get underlying family history uncovered about Sinora and how Aurelia’s ties to the south are much bigger than she first realized. I also loved exploring the possibility that these characters have much more to gain than we first realize such as Havis, General Dakar, Arrin, Trigg and many more.

Athan and Aurelia also carry with them, a quiet strength that I relate to so much.

Along the way we get introduced to a couple new characters who I’m positive we’ll see again in book 3! Triza & Trigg are new friends that allow Athan & Aurelia to think more about their allegiances and their own roles in the world! They are so much fun to follow and although Athan does find himself at odds with Cyar at some points, I loved the trio dynamics between them so much and I can’t wait to see where their friendship is headed!

The romance was even more beautiful! Subtle and yet it envelops such critical emotional parts of Athan and Aurelia’s perspectives. Though they’re separated for much of the book, it’s in the letters, memories, and hopes for the future that we see how their innocent love is also an escape from the cruelties of their world! They grew so much during their journey and when they were together, their scenes were my absolute favorite! & YES there were moments I cried! ♥♥

I just want to give Ali, Athan, Cyar, Trigg, and Triza a hug, they’ve been through so much and I’m nervous for what’ll happen to them next ♥♥ I also hope to see more Violet & Reni too~

The ties between politics, world building, and how family legacy bridges these POV’s together were essential to this story, explored through stark truths and obscure motives. The first-person perspective allows us to see unique angles to these characters that they themselves never really see and I loved how that’s used so brilliantly in Storm From The East!

Some of my favorite themes included identity, legacy, sacrifice, and the flawed, conflicted loyalties of humanity!

Family itself continues to drive much of the internal conflict and the way Hathaway cleverly ties political divisions, underlying intrigue, history even, showed why it’s such an important layer woven throughout the characters past, presents, and possibly even futures for the Dakars & Isendares!

My only minor critiques, which didn’t take away from my absolute enjoyment of this book was wanting a little more intrigue between the Dakar family and a bit more clarity to the ties that Ali has in the South (mainly towards the end), because the development of that did feel a bit rushed at points.

I’ll be honest I was scared because of that haunting prologue from Dark Of The West, but if anything I was left feeling both hopeful and intrigued as to how the South and North will hopefully find peace in Book 3!

Storm From The East is a sequel that delves deep into its characters, politics, and realities of war established in Dark Of The West! From its riveting storytelling, immersive world, layered politics, and complex development of Athan and Ali, makes this a stellar sequel! This is a truly underrated YA Historical-inspired fantasy series that explores legacy, geopolitical conflict, and at its heart follows characters longing for a place to call home! You’ll want the 3rd Glass Alliance book right away when you turn that last page!

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