Hi book friends! I have had an absolutely phenomenal reading time in April, including finally starting the Harbinger series.
Look at that cover, do you even need any other incentive to pick up the series?
I flew through Storm Glass in about a day with a mix of reading and listening. I like Wheeler’s books because they are entertaining and interesting while not being overly complicated, making for quick reads.
Read if: regency England with a steampunk twist imposed on a fantasy setting of floating estates sounds good!
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Storm Glass
- Series: Harbinger #1
- Author: Jeff Wheeler
- Publisher & Release: 47 North, June 2018
- Length: 367 pages
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 for clean fantasy fans
Here’s the synopsis via GoodReads:
Theirs is a world of opposites. The privileged live in sky manors held aloft by a secretive magic known only as the Mysteries. Below, the earthbound poor are forced into factory work to maintain the engine of commerce. Only the wealthy can afford to learn the Mysteries, and they use their knowledge to further lock their hold on society.
Cettie Pratt is a waif doomed to the world below, until an admiral attempts to adopt her. But in her new home in the clouds, not everyone treats her as one of the family.
Sera Fitzempress is a princess born into power. She yearns to meet the orphan girl she has heard so much about, but her father deems the girl unworthy of his daughter’s curiosity.
Neither girl feels that she belongs. Each seeks to break free of imposed rules. Now, as Cettie dreams of living above and as Sera is drawn to the world below, they will follow the paths of their own choosing.
Both girls will be needed for the coming storm that threatens to overturn their worlds
So I finally got around to starting the Harbinger series, and I’m not disappointed at all. I always make a point of reading the author’s note of a book first, so I knew a little bit about what to expect including that Wheeler wanted to write a historical fiction but ended up imposing that setting into another fantastically built fantasy world.
Imagine the strictest social hierarchy, privilege versus poor, strict governesses, early discovery, factories, even zeppelins. I think it was interesting that Wheeler started bringing technology and steampunk vibes into a book and one of the main themes is how the characters take new science and incorporate it into their world view. Is it Mystery (magic) or mystery (something yet to be discovered)? I also liked how these themes are tied directly to the magic in the world.
I love the world building, the rich estates and gardens, waterfalls, and how they contrast with the dirt poor factory districts below teeming with sickness and poverty.
How can you beat a system designed to keep the poor poor, the rich in debt, and everyone except the tip-top of the Elite in check? Hmm
Cettie and Sera are both great protagonists and I can’t wait to follow them through the series. Each is a strong-willed young woman and for once I think that Wheeler actually made children (think around 12, preteen,) seem age appropriate.
Cettie came from the Fells, one of the poor factory districts, and is adopted into a rich floating family estate by a kind military leader. Sera is a princess (!!!A descendent of Maia and Collier about 200 years down the line!!!) who will eventually battle her father for the Empire.
There are whole bunch of Side characters that are worth mentioning too, including Cettie’s new adopted siblings and an estate keeper who is easily as evil as Umbrage!
The plot is quick moving, there is not much down time at all. There are some hints that end up being obvious and I’m sure some obvious points will turn into surprises later on in the series.
This is also a series that ties into the Muirwood books, in that it takes place in the same world and Muirwood Abbey plus an Aldermaston have a cameo at the end. I am excited to see more of this setting in the next book. There is also a Kingfountain tie-in and a mention of a Bhiku, I believe from the Dryad-Born series. I think it’s wild to try to envision all these stories taking place in the same world.
One comment I want to make is to reply to a few people saying they feel that reading this series is like reading the Book of Mormon: …. Ack, I get it but I don’t feel it, yet at least. Historically the human race makes sense of the world and each individual reality through stories, faith, folk tales, fantasy, but the point is: stories. Even if part or much of the books is an allegory, the vibe I get is that the characters are deeply attuned to learning and some, like Cettie, are more in concert with the Mysteries (faith, magic, sentience, etc) than others. I know Wheeler can get preachy (what do you expect from a pastor?) but as I said, I’m not feeling it here, simply a story making sense of the world’s history as he sees it, and I personally love the science and faith intertwining into the characters world view.
Long story short: magic, danger, excitement, propriety and society, learning, debt and tithes, more magic, found family to the max, and willful young women ready to take on the hierarchy!