Title: Dark Tempest | Author: Annette Marie | Publisher: Tantor Audio | Time: 11 hrs and 7 mins | Format: Audiobook
Emi has dedicated her life to becoming the perfect vessel for the goddess Amaterasu, but the insidious betrayal of another deity has changed everything. Now Amaterasu has charged Emi with an urgent mission: to find and free the earthly gods before mankind is brought to its knees beneath divine tyranny.
At her side is Shiro, the mysterious fox spirit. When she first saved his life, she could never have imagined that behind his cunning and confidence, he was lost—his power bound by a devastating curse and his memories obscured. His veiled history is somehow tied to the missing gods, but he can’t remember how or why.
As their search leads them into the murky depths of the spirit realm, the shadows of Shiro’s past begin to emerge. With each brief awakening of his true self, she loses a little more of him. The fate of the heavens and earth rest in her mortal hands, and she must find the missing gods before time runs out for her world—and for Shiro (Goodreads)
SPOILER ALERT! This review may contain spoilers!
“Well Executed, Vast World Building and A Great Book that Really Sucks You In“
Since reading the first book of this series, I have been dying to get my hands on the second book. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere and if I did find it online, it would not ship to my location. Which is weird, because I don’t live in a particularly isolated area. It is also the reason why this review took so long to be published because I simply couldn’t get hold of a copy at that time.
So, when I saw that there was a copy in Audible, you bet your ass that I bought a copy. I don’t usually have high expectations for second books in the series. Not that I have anything against them, it’s just that most second books often have ‘middle book syndrome’ where they don’t often live up to the first book of the series. However, because of the way the first book had ended, it got my hopes up which was why I was super excited when I started this book.
After finishing the book, I definitely did not regret spending money on it and not the credits (simply because I had already used them up already). It was definitely a worthy buy. This book definitely did not disappoint. Not only did Ms Annette Marie delve deeper into the characters themselves but also, she took you on an adventure as she expended this world that she had created. It is definitely a book worth getting lost into.I honestly think that this is my favourite book of the series so far.
In this book, you can really see Emi’s character development. In the first book, you were still seeing her development from this meek and obedient being to a person who was more self-assured and fought for what she believes in, but I felt that she still hadn’t bloomed as a character. However, in this book, you really get to see her shine as a character. Not only does she become more assertive, but she also isn’t afraid to throw some hands when it comes to the fight scenes. I absolutely love the way she gets to have her shining moment when she was the only one who was able to save one of the earthly gods.
Not only does her personal character development get better in this book, but I also found that her relationships with other characters were done really well too. Especially her friendship with Yumei and her romantic relationship with Shiro.
SHIRO! My baby bean Shiro!! I felt sooo sorry for him in this book. I just wanted to reach in and give him a hug, but I’ll let Emi do that for me *wink wink, nudge nudge*.
In the first book, I found that Shiro was a very mysterious character as there wasn’t much known about him. All that was known was that he had a connection to one of the earthly deities and that he was suffering from amnesia because his memories were connected to the onenju (a sacred beaded bracelet) which bound him and his powers. However, in this book, we finally get to see some backstory behind this mysterious character about how he was and who he really is!… and let me tell you. I was not expecting it at all. I was honestly shooketh to my core!
Now the reason why I loved the character development in this book so much was because Ms Marie really put some depth into this character. Although I love Shiro as a character so much, I’m not gunna lie, I thought that his character was going to be that typical ‘charming bad boy’ with a one – dimensional personality. However, I was gladly proven wrong with this character. It was great how it explored how his amnesia affected him both emotionally and mentally. You really get to see how broken this character was and you really feel for him as a reader.
I just love Yumei in this book. He is such cinnamon roll. I was a little bit iffy with him in the first book, but he definitely warmed up to people in this book. Especially Emi. He was a bit hostile towards her at first, but their relationship definitely developed to a brother-sister dynamic.
If you don’t already know, I’m not usually a fan of romance in YA novels. Now, I’m not a cynic and that I hate anything that has to do with love, I just think that most romances in YA novels aren’t really done well which is why I am often groaning every time one comes up. However, with this one, I didn’t mind so much. I’m not going to lie, I was sceptic at first, I wanted to see how the author developed the relationship throughout the series. However, I ended up loving how it was developed in this book.
What I liked about it was that, in the first book, it showed that these two characters had something, but it wasn’t set in stone like most YA novels where the main couple would get together after meeting very quickly. The relationship really took it’s time to develop. I also liked the fact that the relationship wasn’t the main character’s sole focus but rather her own development.
I just realised that one of my favourite narrators is actually reading this book. *Internally Fangirling* I can’t believe it! I absolutely love Emily Woo Zeller! I would honestly buy an audiobook that she narrates just so that I could listen to her talk. I just love her voice and the way she makes the characters come alive. I thought she did an amazing job with this book. She really portrayed Emi well and even did the voices of the male characters, such as Shiro and Yumei, amazingly. But then again, I may have been biased since she is one of my favourite narrators.
World Building and Magic System
After the first book, I was craving more from this world that the author had built. Although it was amazing, we only really got to see the shrine and the forest that surrounds it. However, with this book, Annette Marie really delivered. When I thought Ms Marie could not do any better, she definitely upped her game when it came to the world building on this one.
Not only did she broaden the scope by taking you on an adventure and introducing many different lands and realms, she also introduced many creatures that are often found in Japanese myths and legends. She really let the reader explore this world and make you feel as though you are with these characters travelling in all these amazing lands and realms.
Overall, I absolutely love this book. I thought I loved the first book but this one definitely topped it. It was just executed so well that I had no faults for it at all. Absolute favourite book so far! Can’t wait to read the book!!