A girl with the power of a god. An assassin seeking vengeance. A world on the brink of war.
After all the battles and devastation, Serena just wants a place to call home. Unable to trust her own mind after being overtaken by a demon, the last living Siren-born is desperate to finally stop its reign of terror. But with entire armies amassing to destroy her, she embarks on a hunt for the one weapon that could kill the vile creature. To reach it, she must trek deep into deadly enemy territory.
Damien Fieri can’t shake the guilt of failing his kingdom. Hellbent on revenge, the former assassin sets his sights on the elusive tyrant destroying his home. But with his body broken and his superhuman skills stripped, he fears atonement can only come at a price—his own humanity.
With the fear of losing control to the beast seizing her powers, Serena worries she’ll soon have innocent blood on her hands. And as the sands trickle from the hourglass for his fellow citizens, Damien struggles to learn a new path to victory.
Can Serena and Damien forge an era of peace before more lives are caught in the crossfire?
Choir of the Damned is the climactic third book in The Raincatcher’s Ballad epic fantasy series. If you like evolving characters, action-packed adventures, and explosive campaigns, then you’ll love Steven McKinnon’s aria of death.
I was sent a digital arc of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Steven! There are spoilers in this review for the previous books in The Raincatcher’s Ballad series.
Choir of the Damned is the third and final installment of The Raincatcher’s Ballad and a very satisfying end to this exciting trilogy.
Serena is now captain of the dragon airship Crimsonwing, which she believes once belonged to the goddess Musa from whom she has discovered she is descended. She and her found family arrive in Tarevia looking for Myriel who is recuperating from her injuries there. Almost immediately she is caught up in a web of underhanded subterfuge and the victim of a tyrant’s powerplay.
Chaos ensues, including the discovery of one of the Orinul – a demon from another planet who, it appears, has been pulling their strings for a very long time. I have to admit I found the addition of Darevia and then Idaris a little confusing – the cast of characters and places in this trilogy keeps on increasing and I was finding myself a bit lost from time to time.
Meanwhile Korvan the undead, indestructible, man of stone has declared himself King over Dalthea and now has humans working for him as soldiers, in addition to his undead wraiths. Valentine and Morton are fighting his army and Damien takes on Korvan single-handedly and fails to beat him. Strength in numbers is an underlying theme in these books. Never underestimate the power of having a bunch of allies around to keep an eye on your back!
Despite all of the near death situations Serena has found herself in, she is still a snarky teenager and I enjoyed the banter between Gallows and Serena. McKinnon writes some great dialog. There are also a fair amount of humorous asides in this novel, which help break the tension in such an action-packed, death-filled adventure. Damien is now going by his birth name, “Arros”, but elderly Elsie Travers mishears and calls him “Arse” for the rest of her appearances in the book. The announcements by Korvan over the Information Tower are also humorous. His quixotic demands for his subjects each day range from playing hide and seek, speaking only in rhyming couplets, to smothering a grandparent.
Our group of heroes is searching for Aerulus’ Salvation – a weapon once wielded by the gods themselves. They hope to get there first before Emperor Naramin, the newest Big Bad. He has found every fragment of the weapon bar one, so the action switches to a race to find the last piece and destroy it. Naramin is being controlled by the Orinul demon, so we have:
“A daughter of Musa taking on the Orinul’s puppet”
History/legend is repeating itself. Serena aims to vanquish the remaining Orinul using the weapon of the gods, Aerulus’ Salvation.
Myriel tries to instil in Serena the idea that you can choose your own fate no matter how much you are manipulated, or what your background might be. This is an important theme in this book with the introduction of such unpalateable subjects as slavery, suicide bombers, and with mind control rearing it’s ugly head once more.
There are many parallels between the world of The Raincatcher’s Ballad and our own world. It could be seen as a call to action for the reader to wake up and make some changes. Unfortunately our own ecological disasters cannot be saved by a green-haired siren:
How many horrors like Palthonheim, like Outpost One Three Seven, remained hidden in the world? Deep-mining ignicite had led to ecological catastrophe. Mass-produced weapons had turned murder into a lucrative industry. As long as mankind possessed power, it would turn it on itself.
I immensely enjoyed my travels with the group of heroes I met in this trilogy and will be eager to see what Steven McKinnon has in store for his readers next!
Fortune Find You!
About the Author
Symphony of the Wind is Steven McKinnon’s first fiction novel, and is Book One of The Raincatcher’s Ballad. The Fury Yet To Come is a prequel novella set in the same world.
His first book, the true-life tale Boldly Going Nowhere, was released in 2015.
Steven was born in the bathroom of a Glasgow flat in the year 1986. He has since moved out.
To get the Raincatcher’s Ballad prequel novella — The Fury Yet To Come — for free, sign up to the author’s newsletter at http://subscribe.stevenmckinnon.net/