'Storm Witch' by Ellen Renner is an absolute triumph and a hugely exciting beginning to a new fantasy quartet. Beautifully written with a vivid and fantastic setting, this is one not to miss.
At thirteen, Storm must take part in a Choosing, listening to the wishes of the Elementals, to determine if she is a Child of Air, Earth, Water or Fire. But after the Drowned Ones, who live on the ocean, attack Storm's island, she will need to play a bigger role than she ever realized and face her past and her destiny with great wisdom and courage.
I really loved this book. With shades of 'Earthsea' by Ursula Le Guin and an imagination to rival Dianne Wynne Jones, Ellen Renner has created a fantasy that at once feels fresh and enlivening with the hallmarks of a classic too. The world-building is magnificent; Storm's island is brought to life incredibly vividly while offering glimpses of a bigger world. Storm is a wonderful character who makes mistakes and has to learn to grow up. Nothing is straight-forward for her and by the end of this first installment I was shocked and saddened in a way that means I will have to read the sequel, 'Under Earth', as soon as possible.
Renner's writing tantalises and excites with a deftness of touch that is masterly - she grounds you with characters that are whole but flawed, whisks you through events like riding on choppy waters, mesmerizes you with airy ideals of magic, and lights up your imagination with fire. There are very few books that can open up the imagination in quite this way and promise something much deeper and profound too, and this is one of them. I really can't wait to see where this series goes and Renner needs all the praise she can get. Grab a copy and demand that the Elementals ensure this new series becomes a massive success because it deserves to be! Simply brilliant!