I really enjoyed this imaginative fantasy story by Tamsin Mori. I picked it up from NetGalley even though it is book 3 of the trilogy and I haven’t read the other books. I am glad I did. It was also very easy to get into the world, despite knowing nothing about cloud magic or weather weaving!
From the publisher:
“I’ll have what is mine . . .” With Velda overthrown and the Storm Laws abolished, hundreds of young Storm Weavers will be reunited with their stolen clouds. But the very first cloud taken belonged to Tamar’s last apprentice – the sea witch. When Heather returns, seeking to lay the past to rest, the first person she turns to is Stella. But how far can you trust a sea witch? Is she seeking redemption, or plotting her final revenge? With the Teran rising from the deep and the island in his icy grip, Stella and her friends will have to fight to save weather as we know it. Cover illustration by David Dean
Stella is staying with her grandfather on the Shetland Islands and is being taught weather-weaving by her mentor Tamar. Yes, Stella is an apprentice weather-weaver, bonded with a storm cloud called Nimbus, who collects magic for Stella to transform into things like sea-shawls, invisibility cloaks, never-ending purses and flying carpets. However trouble is afoot. Storm-clouds captured in an earlier book by Velda, leader of the ice-weavers, have still not been freed. Stella is contacted by Heather, former apprentice of Tamar and now turned sea-witch who is feared and hated by everyone. Even Stella doesn’t know if Heather can be trusted. When rumours of a much greater threat arrive, Stella, Tamar and Stella’s grandfather head to the mysterious island of Winter’s Keep to talk to the council, free the storm-clouds and avert catastrophe. But will anyone listen?
What I liked about the book:
Nimbus: Nimbus is such a sweet little cloud. He often settles around Stella’s shoulders (like a shawl, I guess), or envelopes her in a cloud hug. Little bolts of lightning and rumbling thunder when he is out of sorts can cause problems of course, but he reminded me of canine companions. He understood Stella but sometimes, although she recognised his mood, she didn’t know the cause. (I wish I could understood dog language better for when my dog is not in good form!)
Spinning & Weaving: I loved reading about the spinning of magic yarn (magic extracted from Nimbus) and then the weaving a shawl from the yarn. To be honest, it didn’t have to be a magic substance going through the loom for me to enjoy the description.
The different weavers: I loved the imaginative detail with the different kinds of weavers (I suspect there is more detail in book 1, another good reason to start with it). There’s storm weavers, ice weavers, verdure weavers, lightning weavers and probably more.
The storyline is strong with an epic finale. I loved the themes of forgiveness and redemption, and the bond between the clouds and their weavers. Stella was a worthy heroine, and I really liked that her parents, although non-magical and apparently nervous about the whole thing, were aware of magic and allowed her train as a storm weaver.
For fantasy readers, this is an imaginative story with good characters, and I recommend you check out the series. You will probably want your own storm cloud after reading it, I know I do!
Thanks to the publishers UCLan Publishing and Netgalley for the eARC. Winter’s Keep will be published on 2nd March.