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The best local books of 2018
By Barbara McIntyre, Akron Beacon Journal, Dec. 30, 2018

For middle readers and young adults, “Stormcaster,” third in the four-book Shattered Realms high fantasy series by University of Akron alumna Cinda Williams Chima, tells of an aspiring pirate who learns how to use his magical powers; the story returns to the familiar Fells of the previous book,” Shadowcaster.”

Stormcaster Resumes FantasyTale
Barbara McIntyre, Akron Beacon Journal, July 13, 2018

An old sailors’ superstition says that it’s bad luck to rename a ship. Time will tell if this is true, in Stormcaster, third in the four-book Shattered Realms high fantasy series by University of Akron alumna Cinda Williams Chima.

The sailor and aspiring pirate is Evan Strangward, a 13-year-old crew member on the Cloud Spirit until the ship is challenged by the Siren, captained by the magical daughter of an empress. Evan has never known the power of his magemark, a medallion embedded in the back of his neck, but in desperation he is able to sink the Siren and make his way to a cottage where he had been squatting.

There he discovers two people who had been squatting in his squat: Destin Karn and his mother Frances, who are secretive about their situation. In an initial conflict, Evan bests Destin and breaks his leg.

The three come to an uneasy bargain: Evan will stay with the Karns , while Destin, who is magically gifted, will teach Evan how to use his newfound powers. It seems that Evan is a Stormcaster, able to summon winds and rain. Destin also is gifted in engineering and drafting, which allows him to draw up plans for the barn. That leads to rebuilding and renaming a ship, and to a kiss full of longing.

The narrative then returns to continue the story from Shadowcaster, second book in the series, in which the war between the Fells and the kingdom of Arden draws on endlessly, and brings back some familiar characters. Princess Alyssa “Lyss” ana’Raisa, heir to the throne of the Fells, still leads cavalry into battle, and has a revelation about former street musician Breon.

Chima instills these young people with a profound sense of duty, and same-sex relationships are treated as naturally as any other.

Stormcaster (535 pages, hardcover) costs $18.99 from Harper Teen. Cinda Williams Chima lives in Chagrin Falls

Publisher's Weekly April 2-8, 2018
#19 on Childrens' Frontlist Fiction
Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chims