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Publisher's Summary

Braden and Quin Reis share a tragic past, but it’s now up to them to save the future. When a secret conspiracy resorts to harnessing the powers of the Netherworld to save their legacy, Braden and Quin are the only mages capable of stopping them. But these two would-be heroes are compromised, harboring terrible secrets.

Can Braden and Quin put aside their differences long enough to prevent the unsealing of the Well of Tears? Or will they relent and join the conspiracy?

Darkstorm is the prequel to the epic grim-dark fantasy series, The Rhenwars Saga. If you like morally gray antiheroes, page-turning action, and mind-boggling plot twists, then you’ll love Spencer’s award-winning series.

Pick up Darkstorm to begin Spencer’s epic adventure today!

"A thrilling read, fast-paced, and bitingly entertaining." - Romuald Dzemo, San Diego Book Review

"An engaging and heart wrenching tale of love, loss, deceit and desperation." - Melinda Hills, Readers' Favorite

"Powerful action." - D. Donovan, senior reviewer, Midwest Book Review

©2017 M. L. Spencer (P)2018 M. L. Spencer

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  • CT
  • Ashland, Ky USA
  • 01-25-18

Excellent Dark Fantasy novel

DARKSTORM is the prequel to the THE RHENWARS SAGA which was a series I enjoyed when I read it in Kindle format.

The premise of this novel is how the broken divided world of the original series came to pass with a conflict between the forces of evil who are trying to save the planet with the forces of "good" who are willing to lay down and accept destruction. It's an unusual reversal and one which M.L. Spencer exploits for all its worth.

The characters are morally ambiguous, the storytelling well done, and the twists multiplied before things finally come to their tragic but inevitable conclusion. I didn't dislike any of the characters in the novel and they were all realistically flawed. If I were to summarize this book, I'd go, "A ragtag bunch of misfits are recruited to save the world and fail miserably because they would have done better with people who weren't horribly broken."

Simon Wright does a decent job as the narrator and he's particularly good at playing the more salty Quin but I think he could have been a bit more posh in his accent for the higher class characters. Either way, I found the book working well and he reminded me a bit of Kit Harrington/Jon Snow when he was narrating.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Unique, fresh, and different fantasy!

Darkstorm
The Rhenwars Saga, Book 0
By: M. L. Spencer
Narrated by: Simon Wright
This is an audible book I requested and the review is voluntary.
I have to say that as soon as the book started I was drawn to the smooth and attractive voice coming from my tablet. I had not heard this narrator before and I was enticed right away. Loved his voice! This man could get away with murder! He delivered a flawless performance and and had me glued to his dreamy voice.
The book was wonderful also but different than what I am accustomed to. My heroes don't die normally! Sob, sob.... Great world building, interactions, characters, and plot. Loved the fantasy aspects too. Fresh and appealing, dark and aluring. I had bought all three books before I had the chance to review this book. Now I can't wait to read the other books. I may just wait and listen to them!
Enjoyed this book tremendously!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining dark fantasy.

It all starts with a young mage, Merris, who overhears something from her master and a stranger. It causes her to have to flee and take refuge in a place where she never thought she'd be. Seeking help from two brothers, one a battlemage and one a drunk, they need to figure out what exactly is happening, how deep it goes and how to stop it.

It took me a little while to fully immerse myself into the world the author was setting up, but once I did, I ended up really enjoying this. This book doesn't believe in happy endings or sparing characters, and I really liked that. I liked that all the characters are flawed and the world is muddy, is good really good and is bad really bad or worse!! The plot itself was fast paced and intriguing. We are brought into the story right from the start when Merris hears her master talking to a stranger, and it's pretty much none stop after that. There was plenty of things happening to keep me hooked and I'm looking forward to seeing where the author takes it from here.

All the characters were well written and developed and, for me anyway, were the best part of the book. Each of the characters were flawed and each has baggage and seeing them grow and develop throughout the story was awesome. I feel like Quin had the most growth during the story and he was my favourite! Merris grew a lot too, though I'm still not too sure how I feel about her!!

In all this was a great read. Filled with magic, intrigue, demonic plots and so much more, it has made me excited to read more in this series. This author is one to watch!!

Simon Wright read this well. His tones and cadences worked well to bring the atmosphere to life and I enjoyed his performance. I did find though, that his female voices needed work and he sometimes didn't differentiate who was talking enough that I found myself confused at times.

I was given this free audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great fantasy

Dark Storm the name of the book says it all the book is amazingly well written the narrator did an incredible job the fantasy world was very interesting I liked this book very much

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A good book.

Just the right mix of story and narration. It does slow in a couple of places, but well worth the time to listen to. I received this audio book for free at my request and voluntarily reviewed.

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  • MelHay
  • Adamsburg, PA
  • 02-20-18

A fight to save the world as they know it.

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I found Simon's accent attractive for the book. Very nice. He has great control of words and puts emotion with the words. One small thing I noticed is at times it sounds like a hard stop to the stillness around him. It's only happened once in a while, like maybe where recording ended and new started. Very minor thing. His cadence and emotion flowing with the words and events our characters live through.

We start with a prologue. It tells the situation that Braden Reis finds himself in, at this very moment. Then chapter one goes back three weeks prior, telling the story of events that got Braden in his predicament. We do get back to this moment close to the end of the book, and see a conclusion to where he's at. This prologue shows there are interesting things in this world and magic. These things we will learn about as the story is told. And it also makes me curious what Braden did to be brought to this sentencing.

The book is told through a few different point of views. Those POV's are Merris, Sephana, Braden, and Quin through book. These four people are very important in the actions to save the world as they know it.

When we first meet Merris, I found I got a feel for the world she lives in. Her actions and feelings give quick descriptions of things around her. This helps build the world from the beginning for us.

I was impressed with how fast we get to the troubles in the story along with getting to know the characters and world. M.L. weaved together the details, characters, and story line together in a way that it felt to be fast to get to the big troubles and what could be coming, I don't think I realized all I learned quickly because I was enjoying the details and characters along with the troubles that we saw and were learning were coming. Well done at drawing everything together in a great image!

With the story moving forward with events and details, you'll want to pay attention so you don't miss anything on the systems here. There is a lot of details given of the mage that I feel will come up later in the story, like what they can do and the magic system they have.

Aerysius is open to woman being strong and individuals. However, Caladorn has a different view on women. Women seem to be seen as a lower status and need to work hard to grow in status in Caladorn. But they can excel here as well. Caladorn does see sex more openly. This opens the story up to a touch of romance. We do not get the detailed scenes, but you know what is lead into.

I would have liked more of a time base in the sections, so I know how much time has passed. I think this would have helped with what felt like a quick relationship for Merris and Quin. I struggle with quick loves. This relationship escalated quick, though, I do think there is more than meets the eye with these two. It feels as Merris is drawn to Quin's power after she gets a taste of it. This brings me to wonder if Merris is using Quin. But seeing things through Quin's eyes at times through the book brings me to feeling for him as I think he's starting to really like Merris. When I came to a part of the book where I learned more about this, I was so proud of myself for catching it AND of M.L. for writing it! I TOTALLY got the right feel leading me to where the author went with it in the book. I love when this happens!

I know Braden thinks himself a bad person, but I found I really like him. He's more humble and learned to care for people. He seems to have a soul purpose and drive to stop a bad thing that's to correct another terrible event. Two bads do not make a right. But many others think it will. Braden has Sephana at his side to help. Sephana has a strong mind that works well with balancing Braden's strong power.

Throughout the book I found myself drawn into the world and the magic here. I enjoyed the characters. Even when I was getting a bad vibe from a character or two because this is a sign of them being written very well for me to get the right feel off their actions and emotions. The end happened fast because we were moved from one character to another to get the whole view as it was happening, which pulled me back some, but that's the movement of everything happening.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful