To Free the Rising Storm by C.N. Maxwell

by Justine Bergman
To Free the Rising Storm by C.N. Maxwell

To Free the Rising Storm by C.N. Maxwell
SERIES: The ReEmergence Chronicles (#1)
PUBLISHED: November 22, 2022
PAGES: 682
GENRE: Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Romance



The Blurb

She’ll release the storm to break her chains…

Born with unnatural white hair and afflicted with a mysterious illness, Mae Mordaunt’s life has always felt like a curse she cannot escape. When she is attacked by the man her cruel father wants her to marry, she manages to defend herself with a jolting magic she didn’t know she possessed. Unsure of everything she’s ever known, she seeks to discover the truth in a dangerous new partnership—a man who might hold the key to her freedom and her deepest desires.

He’ll risk everything to set her free…

As a descendant of the eradicated elves, Varys Wynhart never imagined he would witness their incredible magic, nor that it would suddenly awaken within him. Both a scholar and a librarian, he devotes himself to researching what has caused the ReEmergence of Magic, and why the rest of Xalador seems oblivious to it. But when the strange and beautiful woman he’s always been captivated by gains a power unlike any other, he discovers there is more to magic than he realized. And she is a puzzle he is more than willing to solve.

Saeör ít ölsta xera…

Lives and hearts intertwined, Varys and Mae soon learn of their own destinies, but can they survive the lies threatening to rip them apart?

The Review

A song of storm and sky, of something dark, dangerous, and divine.

A decadent feast for the heart and soul, To Free the Rising Storm is the spellbinding dark romantic fantasy debut from author C.N. Maxwell. Book one of The ReEmergence Chronicles transports readers to a world drenched in history to embark on a journey of profound metamorphosis. Maxwell pens a stunning tale of weathering the storm and being reborn into something…more. Love. Loss. Betrayal. Pain. Family. Fate. It’s dazzling and tragic in equal measure, and one of the best debuts I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

At the core of this story lies a cast of beautifully complex characters and their breathtaking development as the pages turn. Mae Mordaunt and Varys Wynhart take center stage, the former a meek young woman accustomed to a life of pain and trauma, the latter a bookworm haunted by a great loss from the past. What lies within the pages is the tale of their survival, their transformation, and their flourishing. Maxwell greatly excels at breathing genuine vulnerability into her characters, the resulting fortitude in the face of adversity beyond admirable, solidifying an easy connection between readers and her creations.

I just need to make a quick shoutout to Leona and her parents – they possess everything you could ever hope for in an adopted family.

If you’re looking for a quick fix in the spice department, you won’t find it here. This is the legend of a romance written in the stars, of fated lovers that orbit one another until the powers of the universe bring them crashing together. Mae and Varys have been exchanging longing glances since childhood, an unexplainable connection between them. Once they finally accept and act upon their forbidden desires, there’s an instant love laced with an almost agonizing slow-burn coupling with enough angst to crush your soul. It’s hauntingly exquisite.

In addition to meticulous characterization, prepare to be steeped in insanely rich worldbuilding. Fans of sprawling epics will be in their glory with thousands of years of history, inhabitants from all walks of life with varying ancestry, lore, legends, religion, gods, wars, and different flavors of magic that stem from not only the the land, but alternate realms as well. The reemergence of this magic, thought to have disappeared during a great war that also saw the extinction of the elves, is now wreaking havoc throughout the land, setting into motion a mind-blowing adventure. Oh, and did I mention Maxwell developed her own language? Yep, you read that right.

The first half of the novel is pretty slow-moving plot-wise, utilizing its real estate space to build the word around the reader in order to make the largest impact. If you decide to pick up this beautiful chonk, which I implore you do, be patient. Once revelations are unveiled, it’s explosive, only slowing its pace to give readers a bit of a breath before kicking back into high gear once again. I won’t discuss the actual plot for fear of spoilers – you’ll just have to read the book yourself. I will say, however, that I did have several speed-reading squee moments that usually only occur when I’m reading a Sanderson doorstopper. Take that as you will.

I’m absolutely blown away by the grandeur and emotional impact of this debut novel. It’s complex, yet told in an easy voice to carefully guide its audience along its winding paths. My only criticism is that there’s a lot of telling instead of showing during the first half of the book. It’s expected for a novel of this size told with such passion, involving a world this lush, but most of that introspection and vignette storytelling did muddy the flow of the main narrative for me. 

To Free the Rising Storm is the beginning of something extraordinary, and I can’t wait to see where Maxwell takes us next. Whether you’re a fan of romance, dark fantasy, or epic/high fantasy, this story has EVERYTHING you would ever need for poignant journey through pages so finely crafted. Do you need this book in your life? The answer is a resounding yes. Read it.

Dias clina ít xera.

My Rating: 4

Note: A huge thank you to the author for providing me with a complementary advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CW: Check your triggers!

The Author

C.N.Maxwell lives in Texas with her chaotic adventuring party: her charismatic gamer husband of almost ten years, her son who has just about maxed out his crafting skills, and twin daughters who have put all their points in sleight of hand. Recently, she acquired a cat familiar named Shadow. She has been writing since she knew how, and has always dreamed of being an author, however she is also a musician and singer. For a long time, she put her passion of music first, writing stories and fanfiction in the middle of the night or when she was procrastinating piano practice. When she began to write what would become her debut, she decided she was done hiding her writing and ready to take her dreams by the reins.


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