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Unleash the Storm (Steel & Stone Book 5) Kindle Edition
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I had read 1-3 of the Steel and Stone series and they were amazing. Fantastic. But after 3, I felt like each book dropped a little in quality. They were slowly falling short of delivering what I wanted and expected from them after having such a great start.
Which, to be fair, most series end up doing.
And just so everyone understands I'm not here to completely bash on this series or its author, I have to make a note that despite this series going downhill, I am still absolutely in love with the author's writing, the detailed fights, witty banter between well rounded characters, and more than anything this intricate world filled with magic, politics and corruption. Even though this series fell into a slump, at this point in time, I still plan on reading anything Annette Marie writes- steel and stone universe or not.
Her writing style, flair, and characters remind me of two authors: Karen Chance, and Sarah J. Mass. With some time, I'm sure she will be up there shining with the book stars soon enough.
All she needs to do is work on her landing.
Or more accurately, her endings.
I was completely satisfied with the endings of the other Steel and Stone books, feeling like they were well balanced between closure of the main plot focus, yet still ending with a cliff hanger to leave me wanting more.
But after finishing Unleash the Storm, the fifth and final book following Piper and Ash, I was left in disbelief and disappointment.
If you are into YA fantasy with plenty of mystery, magic and action, check this out. If you are looking for something more mature/NA, check out A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas or Touch the Dark by Karen Chance.
Below are my thoughts of why exactly the ending fell short, but as you can see, they are all SPOILERS.
***THE REST OF THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.***
I'll get right to it, guys. Of course there were small things here and there that dropped the overall score of some of the books. But I want to focus on just one thing.
Asher and Piper.
With Samael dead, Asphodel destroyed, the Sahar Stone destroyed and the Ra and Gaian armies disbanding (for the most part) all conflict is resolved. But is that good enough?
After four friggin books, I had expectations. Of course there were hints of Ash and Piper's sort of inevitable break up. But I admit. I was in denial. I expected Piper to get over it, and they would live happily ever after or something like that, warlord daemon or not.
But after all they have been through together, THAT is what the ending was going to give us? "Hey, Ash, look, I'm leaving. Like that one time, I left you after throwing away your tracking belt. Same thing. But this time, it's not because I'm trying to save you or me, it's just because you are a Taroth Underworld Daemon and I'm some mix of crap and we'll I don't belong here. Anyway, love ya, but I gotta go."
"I'll always want you, Piper. I'll be here for you whenever you want or need me."
"Oh Ash, but what about the Taroth name? You need to make plenty babies with all these draconian ladies, and I can't bear the thought of you being with anyone else."
"Eh, that's not happening right now. No matter the future, I'll always be here when you want me."
"Oh, okay. Want to go have sex one more time before I go?"
"You know it."
OKAY obviously that's not how it went and I'm greatly exaggerating but REALLY?! We waited forever to wait for Piper and Ash to get their shit together so they can admit their feelings and they finally take down all their enemies and it leads to them breaking off any real commitment and becoming some sort of loving f-buddy relationship where they are okay with being with each other every so often but yet eventually Ash making kids with someone else, basically Piper to be his mistress?
It all just didn't sit well with me.
I understand Piper has concerns bigger than most people, with ties to the Overworld, Earth and the Underworld. She wants to go spend time with her Overworld kin, check on Earth, help rebuild a better system and all that jazz but did they have to reduce their relationship because Piper was concerned they were headed in different directions and him making babies?
Okay. Sorry. Fuming still. Rant over.
Piper is in the Underworld with Ash. They are helping to lead the freed Dragonians to a safe place. Raum and Ash are scouting the mountains looking for signs of Hades or a safe place to stay. Piper is dealing with the death of her mother and the carnage she left behind. She fought Ash and Lyre but she doesn’t remember any of it.
Everything changes when she and Ash find the abandoned Dragonian civilization in the mountains. Piper can’t believe they found it. However under the huge statue of a dragon, something is moving, catching Piper’s eye. It’s a real dragon and he goes after Ash. Ash is left unconscious and they are stranded. That’s when they meet new Dragonians that secretly live in hiding. They are determined to kill Ash. The dragon will be back for him. The dragon does return and take Ash.
Piper is lost and heartbroken. She returns to the Otherworld to find a way to save him. She must return to her daemon family and ask the great water dragon for help. Lots of things are at stake as Hades makes a play for Earth against the RAs. Piper has to be smart and determined to save Ash and the rest of those she loves.
This is the last book in Ash and Piper’s story. I am sad to see it end. I love these characters. They have both changed so much during the course of the series. The reader has watched their relationship grow. This book is full of battles and desperation. Piper believes she has lost Ash forever. Her devastation is felt from each page. She is desperate to save him fighting for every possibility. I love how tough and determined she is but her vulnerability really comes through in this story. She is dealing with a lot emotionally which makes her relatable to the reader.
She is a great heroine. She is smart and capable. She and Ash make a great pair. Add in Lyre and this trio has remained together the whole time as family. You can feel the love they have for each other.
The battle scenes are crazy. In fact the battle against Hades is epic. Ash and Piper have to work together in the most surprising way to win. It is an awesome way to finish the series. Unfortunately it makes me sad to see it end. The ending for Piper and Ash was great but left me wanting. I still, however, give it a 5 out of 5.
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