"War built the Kisian Empire. And now war will tear it down"
So, yeah, as you can guess from that snippet this is a story of war and those fighting it/affected by it. Told in first person POV by three different characters I did think this might be a bit much to get my head around but I was wrong, oh so wrong!
The three main characters are Rah E Torin and his band of exiled warriors, Miko, the Princess who wants to make a difference in a male dominated land and my favourite of the three, Cassandra - whore, assassin, and all round bad ass crazy person. The crazy side of her persona may just come from having a 'traveller' sharing her body. The conversations between the two, the constant sniping at each other makes for fun in what is a very grim Grimdark tale.
I think what helped me get along with the three POVs were the introductory lines for each one's first chapter:
MIKO - "They tried to kill me four times before I could walk. Seven before I held any memory of the world."
RAH - "It's harder to sever a head than people think"
CASSANDRA - "The man's last breath sighed out between damp lips. It was a peaceful sound, graceful even, unlike the mess I had left behind. Protruding eyes. Blood. Saliva. Semen.
Each instantly gives you an insight to the kind of person they are and each does that essential thing - makes you want more.
The world-building is good and I feel it will open up more in later volumes. It felt very Asia based and made a refreshing change from the usual European Middle-Ages setting of much of the genre.
There are sections of the novel that may not appeal to some (the enslaving, mental, physical and sexual abuse of Torin and his troops is a prime example) but if you can handle that you have a cracking read ahead of you.
This was my first Devin Madson novel but while I'm waiting for the next volume in this tale I'll be looking up her previous books - after reading We Ride The Storm I'm guessing you will too
4.5/5* Highly Recommended