Review of “Stormcaller” by P.L. Blair
This is another great book by P.L. Blair in her fantasy detective series that everyone should check out. You can also see my review of the first book, Shadowpath, here.
In this second book of the Portals series, an old God known as the Stormcaller (also called Tlaloc) comes to Corpus Christi with evil intent. He misses the old days when the Aztecs worshiped him and wants to start fresh with all new subjects. After some odd, ritualistic murders occur, Kat Morales (a human detective) and her partner Tevis (an elf) are called in to deal with the problem. It doesn’t take long to figure out this is one bad guy who isn’t going to simply hold his hands out to be cuffed and taken to prison. Even if he did cooperate, he has the magical powers to get himself out.
Needless to say, Kat and Tevis have to bring in the rest of their team that was formed in the last book, Shadowpath, to help. This includes two experienced wizards with strong powers of their own and a wayward Djinn that is usually more of a hindrance than help. The wannabe God Tlaloc knows they have a chance of bringing him down, though, and will do all he can to stop them. The one thing he doesn’t anticipate is they may just bring the fight to his own turf…
I loved the first book in this series and greatly anticipated its sequel. P.L. Blair’s world building is incredible. She manages to interweave numerous myths and facts in this modern-day detective fantasy so that it feels natural. I found myself wanting to believe her version of historical events mixed in with what we think of as only fairy tales. She has clearly done her research and added her own twists so they work well with the world where her stories take place. The police procedural element keeps you grounded in what we know as reality, but the crimes the main characters deal with are committed by no ordinary perpetrators.
The race to stop the Stormcaller before he destroys Corpus Christi takes the detectives to places I hadn’t dreamed of them traveling. The experiences they have kept me turning the pages to see what happened next. Another impressive ability P.L. Blair has is she can lay on some rather heavy description and yet I’m soaking every bit of it up. Some writers can bore you with too much of it, but I’ve never found that to be a problem in this series. Every little detail adds a richness to the story and makes you feel as if you are right there seeing everything with the characters.
It has been over a year since I read the first book, but once I got a little ways into the story all the basics came back to me and the author gave just enough background so that even new readers to the series could jump in and not feel lost. Somewhere between the twenty-five to thirty percent mark she had some fun twists I certainly did not see coming and loved where she was going with them. I’d say they contributed to the current story and set things up for later books.
My only complaint at all with this story is Kat gains a new… let us call it a skill (I don’t want to give away more) that I think could have been used to advantage more than it was, but my imagination tends to run wild with ideas so it wasn’t a big deal. It certainly did not stop me from enjoying how everything played out (which was just as believable). I just hope I get to see more opportunities in the future for her to use that…skill.
For anyone considering this novel, I would say those who enjoy modern fantasy/police procedural will be pleased. Not to worry, there are no vampires, if that is a concern. Even those who don’t normally like fantasy elements that much may find this book worth the time to check out. I loved it and can’t wait for the next novel in the series to release on Kindle. The excerpt of it provided at the end of this one hooked me already.