• Em Shotwell


A few thoughts on RAIN

Rain is the brand-spankin’-new prequel novella from E.J. Wenstrom’s Chronicles of the Third Realm War. The first in the series, MUD, released in March and was a great read, so it is no surprise to me that Rain is amazing, as well.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a feel good fantasy story where the heroine triumphs over all. Nia does manage to come out on top…sort of. (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it.)

Lookin' For Love (In All The Wrong Places)

The novella begins with village girl Nia breaking an unspoken rule of her people--touching a first creature. Nia’s life has recently been filled with despair. Her father has died, and Nia’s mother often sinks into herself, becoming unresponsive to Nia or any in the outside world. First creature/angel Calipher emanates an aura of peace and tranquility—the qualities Nia craves most—so before she can stop herself, she brushes her hand across Calipher’s white feathers. This is a big no-no.

Instead of being punished, however, the forbidden caress results in a not-so-secret tryst that angers the gods.

Without giving away spoilers, I will tell you that before Calipher is forced to leave, he gifts Nia with a totem whose magic should make her feel loved and wanted in his absence, but things go terrible awry. Nia slowly begins a mental/emotional descent that changes her from a broken, hurting woman, to a selfish enchantress whose magic could be the final crack that shatters the delicate third realm.

A Gritty Story & Raw Romance

I am a sucker for a gritty story that holds within it, a raw romance—and Rain delivers. Nia is unlikable—which oddly enough—is why I like her. If she’d been less selfish, a better person, this story wouldn’t have worked. As it is, Wenstrom has done a fantastic job chronicling the pain that twists a young woman into a completely different person, changing her from someone aching to fill a void, into a sociopath who uses people on a whim.

Though the “love interest” (if you want to call it love—personally, I think obsession may be a better word) is the angel Calipher, I think the demon Bastus stole the show. In a switch of what we have come to expect from angels/demons, only Bastus seems to truly care for Nia’s wellbeing. Sadly, in a twist of fate, his chaotic aura (the opposite of Calipher’s) keeps Nia from realizing this truth, or at least, from accepting and acting on it.

Rain was a delight to read. E.J. Wenstrom makes the most of the limited real estate that is a novella by packing it full of characters and plot that will keep you turning the page, and wanting more long after the story is finished. Five stars.


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