*Book Review* Hope and Red by Jon Skovron

Title: Hope and Red (The Empire of Storms #1)
Format: Arc Paperback
Pages: 598
Published: 30th June 2016
Publisher: Orbit
Source: Publisher for Review
Genre: Fantasy
Shelfability: Covet

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HOPE, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly trained as a warrior and instrument of vengeance.

RED, an orphan adopted by a notorious matriarch of the criminal underworld, learns to be an expert thief and con artist.

Together they will take down an empire.

Perfect for fans of Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson and Peter V. Brett, HOPE AND RED is destined to be the next fantasy blockbuster.

Oh My Freaking Gawd!!!!! I went into this not expecting too much. Adult fantasy novels tend to be a hit or miss for me. So if I don't have expectations I don't get too disappointed when it's not good. However, on the flip side it also means I get to be pleasantly surprised from time to time. And let me tell you, Hope and Red blew my socks off. It was absolutely outstanding. It was quite simply freaking epic!!

Hope and Red are both orphaned at a young age. Hope vows to seek revenge on the  biomancer who destroyed get entire village. Red finds himself being taken under the wings of Sadie, and becomes an expect thief. Their stories run parallel to each other until they finally meet and together the set of take down the biomancers and the empire.

I absolutely love Hope and Red. Both have such tragic stories. Hope loses her entire village and ends up being taken in by monks where she trains to become a lethal warrior. She can hold her own and doesn't need a man to come to her rescue like a lot of other female protagonists. Hope is kickass and feisty. I love her. Now Red, oh sweet, cocky and charming Red. He loses both parents at a young age forcing him onto the streets of The Circle. He doesn't let losing his parents define him. Instead he becomes smart, charming and proves himself to be a valuable asset to The Circle even if he is forever getting himself into sticky situations. When Hope and Red meet there is an instant connection between them. It's not instalove (thank god) but they just bond.

There is a whole host of secondary characters that you can't help but fall in love with and of course hate! But I won't go into details of that or I will end up spoiling the book for you. However, I will mention Sadie!! OK Sadie is bloody brilliant!! She takes Red under her wing and takes care of him growing up. She isn't motherly exactly but you can tell that she loves that boy like he was her own. The bond between them is unbreakable. Red loves Sadie. Around other people Red is this self assured smart arse but around Sadie is shows his softer side and it's pure love.

The author managed to create a breathtaking and thrilling tale with just the right mix of character interaction and back story without driveling on for pages about pointless descriptions that I see in a lot of fantasy novels which tends to put me off them. Now the book is a bit of a beast at nearly 600 pages but it's flows perfectly making it seem a lot shorter because it just plays like movie in your head. You can feel everything these characters are feeling. You feel like you are in the story with the characters and experiencing everything they are.

Hope and Red is the first installment in The Empire of Storm series. It's an epic fantasy with pirates, sword fights and magic! So if you like fantasy reads that are just freaking amazing and leave you begging for more then please give them a go. You will not be disappointed!!

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