Raven Sand and Sun by Nita RoundRaven, Sand and Sun by Nita Round is the second book in the Touch of Truth series.  It is a breathtaking dystopian, paranormal and steampunk mashup that lures you in with its beautiful prose then holds you rapt in the talons of its clever plot and engaging characters.

Still recovering from their last encounter with the evil that is Sh’Na, Lucinda Ravensburgh slowly regains strength in her new tower awaiting the return of Captain Magda Stoner and Ascara. She resists her calling to be the Mother’s champion and save her people, but war is upon them, decisions must be made and sides must be chosen. 

The Trinity of Raven, Fire and Ice embark on a journey deep into the desert of Gypta to face Sh’Na, the Mistress of the Night and finally put an end to her terror.  But first, Captain Stoner must face the ghosts of her past and the Prince still bent on vengeance for what she has done.  Ascara must face her own destiny embracing her true nature, and Lucinda must once again harness the power of Fire and Ice if the trio are to survive. 

Lucinda must become the leader the world needs her to be but can the trio prevail, or will the prophecy come to fruition and see one of them fall?  What new truths will they discover and will they ultimately strengthen their bond or tear it apart?

The Characters

The Trinity of Raven, Fire and Ice return with fiercer and deeper bonds than ever.  Lucinda’s powers have magnified with her new tower and she is capable of so much more than before.  Ascara and Magda are as stalwart and strong as ever, standing firm against evil at their Raven’s side.  But the women face some harsh trials and pieces of their pasts are revealed exposing vulnerabilities and secrets.  The revelations and insights into each character made them so much more dimensional and relatable for me.

The relationship between the three women is a unique and intriguing dynamic full of a profound love, reliance upon and powerful need for each other.  It is a connection that is forged well beyond the physical, much to the chagrin of Ascara, and yet there are still periods of doubt and conflict experienced by the women.  I found it so genuine and engaging watching their bonds grow deeper as each wrestled with their insecurities but ultimately acknowledged their worth.  The three women share a truly remarkable relationship.

The Writing Style

There is such a wonderful, lyrical flow to Round’s writing throughout this book which not only embraces the steampunk aesthetic (which I love so much!) but also completely immerses you in the environment of the story.  The tale flows in a steady rhythm leading the reader along the trio’s journey at an even and natural pace. The world building is original and so well realized I felt as though I was in the middle of the story. 

The Pros

Part of my love of steampunk is owed to the creative gadgets and machines authors conjure up and Round has some fabulous examples in this book.  The Slug (a carriage of sorts), the various clockwork creatures and the glorious airship Verity (truly an amazing conveyance), are all wonderfully realized machines that really capture the spirit of the genre.  Toss in the paranormal and mystical elements and there is just so much to love about this book.  Not to mention the relationship dynamic between the three lead women which is so original and engaging.  Heck, even the cover is fabulous.

The Cons

I developed an unyielding craving for a spicy brew called Tanike pink tea. 

Michelle's Favourite BooksThe Conclusion

Every turn of the page rewards you with a fabulous combination of intricate world building, engaging characters and intriguing storyline.  I was glued to the pages following the unconventional trio’s journey into mysticism, adventure and self-discovery.  And as if that weren’t enough, the story is infused with just enough humour to keep it entertaining without overshadowing the mystique.  If you enjoy spec-fic you need to dive in to this series.

Excerpt from Raven, Sand and Sun by Nita Round

The view, unconstrained by obstruction, ran the length and depth of Gaia’s Rift.  Blue sky above, rocks below, and cliffs to the side.  The sun beat down on the plains and she could see steam rising from the top of the cliffs.  Small brown birds wheeled across the rift and dropped between the cliffs to the nests and roosts hidden in small crevasses.  Their melodic cries echoed between the cliffs, and it seemed to her to be a welcome.

She would have loved the welcome, if only she did not ache so much inside.

They were separated.  Her Fire and her Ice were so far away she could not feel them at all.  Like life after death, they left a deep void in her soul and she grieved for their absence.

She turned in the direction of the aerodrome at Verity Field, closed her eyes and breathed deep.  Life filled her and the pulse of the land beat in time with her heart.  They were one, and her thoughts soared through the sky as though she had wings.  She lay a hand upon the stone and breathed.  In.  Out.  In.  Then she held her breath.  The land spoke to her.  Not with words, but with understanding.  Magda and Ascara had arrived at the aerodrome.  They were alive and safe.  Her heart beat a little easier, and it felt as though a great weight had been lifted from her chest.  She took a deep breath.  They would be home soon.  She would see them and they would be made whole again.

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Series

Touch of Truth

Raven, Fire and Ice

Raven, Sand and Sun

Bits and Bobs

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