Book Cover
Title Storm Dancer
Series ---
Author Rayne Hall
Cover Art ---
Publisher Scimitar Press - 2011
First Printing Scimitar Press - 2011
Category Dark Fantasy
Warnings Rape, torture

Main Characters

Dahoud, Merida

Main Elements Wizards

Demon-possessed siege commander, Dahoud, atones for his atrocities by hiding his identity and protecting women from war's violence - but can he shield the woman he loves from the evil inside him?

Principled weather magician, Merida, brings rain to a parched desert land. When her magical dance rouses more than storms, she needs to overcome her scruples to escape from danger.

Thrust together, Dahoud and Merida must fight for freedom and survival. But with hatred and betrayal burning in their hearts, how can they rebuild their fragile trust?

'Storm Dancer' is a dark-heroic fantasy. British spellings. Caution: this book contains some violence and disturbing situations. Not recommended for under-16s.


Couldn't really point out the issues I had with this eBook without providing the context, so read on caution.

Overall, I did enjoy the story. The setting, the world, the plot, the characters, the writing. It was good. But there was one thing that really turned me off and that was the rape. Not just because there was rape, but because it was the main character that was doing it, and as such, had to be justifiable in some regard (otherwise why would we want to read about this guy, right?). I mean I went in knowing that this wasn't some fluffy middle grade fantasy, I knew it was dark to begin with, but still.

At first it was kind of ok, the rapes were in the past, and Dahoud was trying to redeem himself. But then he raped Merida, admitedly to save her life, but he enjoyed it too much, and frankly, she CHOSE to die instead. He had no right to choose for her. Rape is all about consent or lack thereof and by denying her right to choose death over rape is not in any way justifiable.

I mean I could handle Kirall and his perversions. He was the villain, and not the protagonist (rather 2-dimensional but on some level he wasn't the real villain of the story so that didn't bother me). I wasn't supposed to like Kirall, I wasn't supposed to root for him, or hope things turn out well for him. But here with Dahoud I'm kind of supposed to sympathize with his fight against his djinn driven urges, but frankly, I just couldn't. I'm a woman, and if some guy raped me and said "Oh the voice in the head made me do it", it won't make me feel any better about it.

I actually stopped reading the book at this point, and that is very rare for me, I think I've not finished a book maybe a handful of times in my life.

Well, I finished another book on my eReader and since I was on my commute to work I only had this one available to read so I figured I'd pick up where I left off, see if the story can redeem itself. What I liked later on was when the priest character (sorry, name escapes me right now, Zun?) questions whether Dahoud was blaming an imaginary djinn to justify his own inability to control his actions. That he raped women not because there was some evil spirit inside of him, but because he liked it and tried to blame his own actions on something else. It was a brief moment, not expanded upon as much as I would have liked, but it was enough to allow me to keep reading to see how Dahoud would grapple with that concept and take responsibility for what he had done.

And with Tarkan being homosexual and everyone else gleefully running around executing man-lovers...again, an interesting and difficult issue to discuss and unfortunately didn't go anywhere. It wasn't as if anyone learnt tolerance, in fact other than becoming a convenient husband for a woman more interested in power than having a lover, bringing up his sexuality was meaningless. A giant serious issue that got shoved to the sideline and not addressed, and thus didn't need to be there, unless there's a sequel in the plans?

Frankly, if the whole rape aspect was taken out and just left the still brutal Black Besiger, I would have really enjoyed the story. Of the bloodthirsty soldier looking to redeem himself by rebuilding his homeland and freeing them from the Empire he himself served (and what would happen if people figured out who he really was!). But the tale tried to take on too many controversial issues at the same time and didn't handle them as well as I would have liked.

So in the end, it was a free download at the time so at least I don't feel like I paid for something I didn't like, but I don't recommend it. It had potential but bit off more than it could chew.

Posted: March 2015


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