Posted by Melanie
Release Date: April 21st, 2014
Finished Date: March 21st, 2014
Publishers: Untamed Spirit
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
The Review: 4.5 flowers!
Before the Storm is the exciting new book in the new Windwalker series from Claire Ashgrove, many of you may know her for the equally awesome The Curse of the Templar series that I adore but now she takes a dip into the Urban Fantasy/PNR genre.
I really liked the story to this and it opens up a very promising world for the reader to discover. I definitely connected with our main character – Halle Rhoads- it’s hard not to when you get her story and you see a girl brimming with unbridled power, who has lost everything at a young age but covers her insecurities with her attitude…. she is driven, driven to protect the sister -who doesn’t even know she lives- from a tyrannical uncle and it’s whilst putting her plan into action that she is accosted by a mysterious man who knows far too much about her…considering she’s meant to be dead! He promises her lessons in controlling her erratic magic, if she will accompany him back to his home… but what does he want in return? Halle doesn’t trust anyone and has learned there is always a price to be paid. What ensues between the two will make you laugh, make you smile, make you gasp and definitely pull on those heart strings as a battle of wills turns into something deeper. I liked the pairing, I thought they complimented each other and I liked that Kale could see through Halle’s defence mechanisms, it gave their relationship that extra depth with him understanding her on all levels and how she should be treat & educated, she pretty much ‘gets’ him too and it has a fated feel to the blossoming relationship, I also love that through this we get a few glimpses into both of their insecurities & fears, endearing them more to me.
As I mentioned, the story line opens up a very promising world filled with magical people who can control elements, nature, power, illusions, the physical form & even the dead which is all displayed very well throughout the book and as all good fantasy style books should…. I want to see it, I can picture it in my head through the great descriptions but to actually see it visually would be amazing because the battles, the fights and even the training using the magic available would be stunning! The introduction into this world really got my interest and I loved learning it alongside Halle, we already know that there is a firm enemy and a lot of people share Halle’s goal but there is so much more to be explored through the different ‘clans’ and their areas of magic, so many secrets to uncover, magic to be unravelled and learnt, goals to be achieved, alliances to be made and battles to be won, even the hint of a prophecy…. But this is just the start and whilst it was great to get to know the basics, the next book promises so much more…. Can’t wait!
Tell us how you came up with the idea behind this series?
Of all the times to ask me this, through all the books I’ve written, this would be probably the one time I don’t’ have an answer. I heard a song, it gave me the root of an idea, (Blown Away, Carrie Underwood), and I started writing words. I pantsed the whole thing. About halfway through I said, “Oooh. I could do this and it can become that and voila, I have a series that is going to do all this.”
Why did you choose this topic/genre?
My roots are in fantasy and I absolutely love to world build. I’ve piddled with several ideas, have a couple truly epic fantasy works in the pool, but this one is the one I’ve managed to finish.
What was your biggest challenge in creating this series?
That I pantsed the whole thing. Laugh! I usually plot to minutia. This required a lot of thinking on how I could tie in one thing to another and how I could go to the next stage with the least amount of cut words possible. I despise cutting words.
How long did it take you to write?
I had other deadlines and obligations, so it’s not a true reflection of length of time to write. But almost a year.
How many books will be in the series?
The entire series will be told in trilogies. Halle’s journey will have three components. The next journey will have three components, and so forth. That way it can somewhat continue indefinitely for my own pleasure of writing and enthusiastic fans, but readers can hop-on / hop-off as they desire.
Who would you cast in the movie version of this book? Or who do you see playing them?
Oh my gosh! I’ve been doing some of this with my Monday Meet the Cast stuff on Facebook! Eva Gardner for Halle. Simon Baker for Kale. I’m totally stumped on someone for Marcus, but he’d have to act like Viggo Mortensen in LOTR. Alan Rickman for Gerard. I’m equally stumped on the Yaksini leader, but I’m leaning toward Anthony
Hopkins. For Surana? Famke Janssen with red hair.
Do you have any other books that you’re working on that you could tell us about?
I have a pile of stuff coming down the pipes that I’m working on. Of course, book two in this series – Tempest Rising. Two books as Tori St. Claire for Entangled Brazen (one will release this year definitely.) Three blue-collar Romantic-Era historicals as Sophia Garrett for Entangled (I love, love this series!) and another Immortal Templar book this fall. Anyone want to clone me? Listing it out like that has me a little freaked out.
Who is your favourite character from the book?
Rafini – Bet you didn’t expect that, eh? For those of you who haven’t read yet, Rafini is a mentor of types for Halle.
What can we expect from book two?
Well, Halle’s in a bit of a fix at the end of Before the Storm. She has a lot to still learn, and book two will see her accomplishing a lot of that. We’ll learn more about the Noita and the Jadukara, and with the Yaskini aware of her abilities now, there will be regular action as well. Her personal quest deepens, with more trials and struggles there as well. And I have a few surprises I am really dying to share, but for the sake of not spoiling the entire book two, will leave them tightly under wraps.