Storm and Silence. Robert Thier.


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Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: YA Historical Fiction

Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a hit on wattpad, and now, it’s being published as an ebook on the 19th of March!

Quick Review. 4.5 Stars

Gawdbloodyhell, if you love cold but secretly sweet though not bipolar male love interests, pick this up! If you love a female protagonist who’s kickass all the way through even in the toughest of moments (though she acts even when scared) and won’t let a man tell her she can’t do anything. Then pick this up! If you love Historical Romance, a female character who’s a feminist, suffragette (but not extremely hardcore feminist/suffragette, but rather, values the principles of feminism and acts on it), then YES you got it! If you’re a bit of a fan of gender bendering, humorous interactions between female protagonist and love interest, you got it. And most importantly, if you like action, this has plenty of it!

Highlights of the book (quick and briefly)

– Miss Lilly Linton and Mr Ambrose. They kept me up until the early hours of Saturday morning because I just wanted so much more of them!
– Pure/clean romance (but there is kissing! Actually quite a lot of kissing at one questionable moment, but it doesn’t go any further than that.)

If you want to know more, keep reading below (because although my quick review is gushing over it, there were several things that nagged at me. BUT definitely not enough for me to rate this down tooo much.)

 

Initial Thoughts Before Reading

I want to point out that, although I was intrigued by the premise. (Although even the premise is very brief and says little). And that cover! You know, I love a beautiful cover, and this one, is just, well, so very intriguing and simple! Though, it did make me frown. Why? Because the 19th century, in particularly the beginning of, is one of my favourite time periods ever. Storm and Silence is set about 20 years later than the Regency, located in the Victorian Era – another era I do love reading about, because hell yes, Queen! on the throne – and the cover just looks like a guy in a suit. Then again, because you can’t see the back of, and I’m not expert on clothes unless I’m looking at the actual thing, my head debated for a bit, before settling down on, OKAY it still passes as being somewhat accurate! And since my brain clearly agreed on that, we moved onto the next thing. Intrigued by premise and cover, I did in fact check out some of the previous reviews, reviews given by people who loved the book on Wattpad.

-.-

I won’t lie. Those reviews made me so gawdawfully suspicious. Everyone loved it! PRAISES FOR ALL. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. THREE CHEERS.

Ugh. I hate books that have too many praises, and though I love reading people’s reviews (both positive and negative), sometimes it’s just so hard for me to believe them! (Hence why I go out and read the book for myself. Though usually, the higher the praise a book gets, the longer it takes for me to read it. But sometimes, I might just jump right in.)

And so YES. I started this book with all intentions of hating it. THAT and also, I started it because I’d already finished the book in my bag on my morning trip to uni, and had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO READ on my way home. And when one has absolutely nothing to read they’ll read anything.

It was really good that my first impression was low. Because if it was high, then I might have found it harder to like.

Or maybe, this book really is just that likeable :P? Because I know, by the end of the book, I was crying for more. Craving, dying, wanting. So glad Thier is an author on Wattpad, and that I have Wattpad, and I can follow and read the sequel!

First Impressions Comparison

– I was reminded of A Spy in the House – the Agency series with the whole mystery angle.
– I was also reminded a little of A School for Unusual Girls, with the whole smart girl thing. Though Lilly is smart in her own little way.
– And Newt’s Emerald, for the gender bending, cross dressing! And also, the mystery aspect again, and the desperate need to recover something.
– Andddd A Matter of Magic, again, for a bit of the crossdressing, but also, the older, more authoritative figure, and the younger, assistant relationship (but mind, the age difference is around 5-ish/6-ish years).
– AND it has all the intense chemistry of any good slow burn romance book.
– OH I had like a Pride & Prejudice feel here, only less classic! Rather simply the values that each character has reminds me of P+P. But other than it’s nothing like the classic!

P L O T

The premise is a bit short in details about the plot. But yes, it does highlight one important aspect of the book. Lilly Linton wants freedom. And in a time when women’s rights are somewhat oppressed, Lilly and her small band of friends take part in small protests for women’s rights. Since this is set in the late 1830s of the Victorian Era, and before any serious suffrage movements take place. At the very beginning of the book, we see Lilly dressed up as a guy heading towards the polling booth. On the way, she helps out a gentleman businessman, who then offers her a job. If it weren’t for her tiny mistake at the polling booths, well, her potential new Employer, according to his card, Mr Ambrose, wouldn’t have found out she was a girl.

Even so, she turns up at his office as he had requested, and even though she’s dressed as a woman, she makes her way to meet him (to the surprise of everyone in the office). Of course, Mr Ambrose, a man of his time, and averse to the idea of a woman working, yet true and honourable to his word as a businessman, he allows Lilly to accept the job, on the condition that she dresses as a man – just like she had been when they first met.

But Mr Ambrose, thinking he knew better, didn’t expect her to return as such, finds himself a crossdressing female as his private secretary.

Throughout the whole book, Lilly fights him constantly about her right to work, and since she does her job impeccably, Mr Ambrose, true to his word as a businessman, cannot make her go. So, in turn, he does everything he can to get rid of her.

In the process, an important file goes missing, and Lilly finds herself unable to keep out of Mr Ambrose’s business, proving herself to be very resourceful and useful in the process, which of course, makes it harder and harder for Mr Ambrose to get rid of her. A lot of this plot focusses on this file and leads to the major cliffhanger at the end.

Action is a significant portion of the novel, and so is the romance between Lilly and Mr Ambrose. Though, mind you, it’s slow burn (my favourite type!) yet with plenty of chemistry and humorous encounters. This book, while categorized as historical romance, does not simply focus on these two people. Lilly does have her own problems, and must deal with it, in a dress, and with a fan, and must also be at work on time.

Some parts of this story lag a bit, specially when Lilly comes across her younger sister and her secret assignation with her lover. These scenes to me, felt a bit like a parody, like a caricature of forbidden loves, but at the same time, no less sweet. Admittedly, I just kept rolling my eyes at their interactions, mostly because the conversations were so silly! Bordering on satirical (which is also something I think this whole book does about that time period, but here’s why I also compare it to Heyer, since she wrote serious but humorous romances so the characters fall in love and yet do it humourously along the way). My favourite parts of this subplot however, was the ball scene towards the end.

C H A R A C T E R S

Lilly Linton, one of six daughters who are left with their aunt when her parents died. She’s nineteen, and couldn’t care less about balls, dances, and chauvinistic males. She’s more interested in wearing pants, fighting for rights as a woman, and a way out of her Aunt’s good gracious, to lift the burden, but also, so that she doesn’t ever have to marry anyone!What I love about her. She has a really interesting personality. Lots of humorous thoughts in her head, and doesn’t know how to really be a girl either. Even though in the company of men, she’s pretty feminine, except when she’s in full guy mode and allowed to swear up a storm and act like a guy. She’s clever, and resourceful, and refuses to give up her principles. She’s not invincible though. She doesn’t mind pushing her aunt to her limits, but so long as she plays towards her aunt’s desires (for her to go out and throw herself at gentleman to get married to), then she can be as free as a bird (well sort of free). When she’s in a dangerous situation, she gets scared and angry, but knows how to keep her head and follow orders (well not orders that tell her to stay away, but orders during the most intense moments). ON THE DOWNSIDE, Lilly’s stubbornness and inability to stay away from danger, throwing herself into tough situations might be dislikeable to some. However, I liked her enough because her character was justified and when she made a decision she stuck with it and acted as brave as possible, and not at all like a stupid-damsel-in-distress.

Mr Ambrose. His interactions with Lilly are the highlight of this book! I LOVE him. Well, rather, what I love, is how he was created. Indeed, he is somewhat your romantic love interest, the broody kind I mean. BUT BETTER. Broody typical love interests are always like, well, cavemen, broody and somewhat depressing. Mr Ambrose, is a sensible, logical, non-joking male, who knows how to use sarcasm (or rather he tells truths in a sarcastic way), likes to order people around, a miser who loves threatening Lilly by telling her that all the expenses are coming out of her wage, dresses well but plainly, is considered the richest man in all of England, has a somewhat shady background everyone is always speculating on, and though he acts like he only cares about Lilly because he needs a well working secretary, he does actually care about her, even though he never explicitly shows it because he’s always putting work first. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it! And work, as a man in his line of business, gets dangerous. Usually when it gets dangerous, he sends Lilly home, but she always manages to end up right at his side in the midst of danger, simply because she’s not the kind who takes well to be being ordered away simply because ‘she’s a girl’. Mr Ambrose though, usually after trying his best to send her away, allows her to stay. He does, respect her enough to let her stay, simply because he knows she won’t go away anyway.

Supporting characters mention: KARIM. YES. This guy who is Mr Ambrose bodyguard. HE IS AWESOME. Every time he pops up, he’s nearly the comic relief, even when Lilly and Mr Ambrose are at each other’s next in the most humourous way as possible without downgrading the importance of their arguments. I give Karim a special mention, because he plays an important throughout the book as Mr Ambrose’s bodyguard and trusted person. He does, after all, give Lilly the nickname that Mr Ambrose calls her rarely when he’s in a good mood. AND He’s terrified of Lilly simply because she’s a firecracker female!

S E T T I N G

1830s England, about the time when Victoria is crowned Queen, and the industrial revolution is blooming. My knowledge of this era is scattered, though I knew enough to be pleased with the accuracies. (Except I frowned a bit in confusion about the women suffrage movement, but after some research, I realized that the details in the book were still pretty accurate, since the proper movement didn’t begin until around the 1870s for the UK, but before that, there were smaller, little protests from the middle to upper class. And the notes that Thier added helped sort out the confusion in my head.)

W R I T I N G

Witty. It has it’s personal flair – Robert Thier flair. And by god. I can’t believe it. He can actually write from a female perspective EXCELLENTLY. Generally I don’t like genders writing for the opposite gender mainly because the guys come out extra whiny, or not convincingly enough male. And the females become overly obsessed with shoes and dresses and all, mainly over over exaggerated female stereotypes. However, Thier doesn’t do that. He gives Lilly’s principles, values, morals, habits, likes and dislikes, and writes a very convincing female tomboy without sounding like a man writing a female. Loved it. (And while Lilly freaks out over her feelings for Mr Ambrose, she usually has her head on straight and focussed on the task.)

Also, written in first person, and definitely all through the book a very characteristic YA style. More colloquial than historical in terms of language BUT there is enough era sensitive language used for the book to feel like it is set during the time it is supposed to!

He doesn’t waste too much time on description, but thankfully there is enough detail to give a full picture.
But the best part, is that he interweaves plenty of wittiness to love, and I find it absolutely humorous. Although the review copy I received had a few spelling errors and (of which will probably be filtered out before it’s actually published), I found the writing style likeable. There’s a cliffhanger at the end of nearly every chapter (hence why I ended up staying up to the ridiculous hour of 4am simply because I wanted to finish this AND STILL COULDN’T; if I wasn’t so rational, I would have kept going until 9am and forgoed sleep, but unfortunately, my eyes were just inadequately falling asleep on me!)

OH BUT WARNING. As much as I love scenes where the guy shoves a girl up against a wall (whether to intimidate, make a point, or just be a brute – I usually don’t really like the last option), this does happen a little too often in Storm & Silence, and while it’s not annoying (okay maybe a little) since it is a pretty intense scene each time, even though it’s absolutely pure each time! it does become a little bit repetitive. I think I counted 4 scenes? But well, like I said, the scenes are intense, and so much sparkly, steamy, clean & pure chemistry sparking between Lilly and Mr Ambrose, and it’s usually when they’re arguing! (And also another warning, depending on how you like your historicals, this one borders a bit onto the types where there’s more physical touching (for now I can only think of the Her Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers and The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen as examples of such and less of the distant intense chemistry of Heyer’s historical romances.)

O V E R A L L

I really enjoyed this. I did. Reading it, I was somewhat reminded of Georgette Heyer’s regencies (yes I know, I say this often, but if you follow my reviews, then y’all know well enough how much I love her books, and how they’re like my ultimate historicals) with outrageous scenarios (well in Heyer’s novels, this doesn’t always happen but still), a headstrong, somewhat feisty female protagonist, and a swoony busy love interest. (Still, Silence and Storm cannot really be compared to Heyer, because Heyer is a gem from another century, and her uniqueness makes her Queen Overlord of Historical Regency Romances. But what Thier has in common is his ability to thread his own flair and style into his story.) Either I was really craving a romance like this at this moment, and this just came by a the right time, or this book really is as good as its ratings, whichever, I think this is a pretty good book and I would definitely suggest it!

You know after finishing the review, I feel like I didn’t put in enough cons….but there were some, it’s just that my enjoyment overrode any negative feelings I might have had about the cons! I suppose if I were to pick some cons, it would be that although Silence and Storm felt like a whole and complete novel, sometimes I felt like it could be revisited and edited a bit more, and yet…while I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, it sure as hell is an interesting story (the highlight, the slowly blooming romance of Lilly and Mr Ambrose).

So if anything above catches your eye, give this book a chance. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it, but I sure as did. So maybe you won’t like, but hopefully you will since I do and don’t know how I read through this YA historical romance all at once and wanted more. Sometimes I think, wow there was a lot of silliness happening but then my brain morphs and justifies the scenes with the seriousness of the situation!

P.s. have I mentioned somewhere, this is one of the first ebooks I don’t have a problem with reading on the kindle phone app? I usually don’t like ebooks because I always feel like I’m reading some kind of draft, but well, this time, it didn’t feel like that at all! (except for the typos of course.)

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“Legend”

Drawn by ~Pineapple-Snail

“Legend”

You broke my heart,

You crushed my trust,

You took what was mine,

And threw it into a fire,

Stamping on it,

Putting it out,

Like it didn’t matter.

I believed you when you said,

You are our saviour.

I believed you when you said,

You’ll help us.

I believed you when you said,

I’ll save you.

Trust,

I gave it, to you,

Love,

I gave it, without thinking,

Pain,

You gave it,

In volumes,

Waves at a time,

Torrents of blood,

And a stampede,

Greater than the destruction

Caused by the world shaking.

I hate you,

To the bone,

I hate you,

So much, I turn,

To hate you with a knife,

To cut.

But I won’t cut you,

Not you.

I will cut,

Not my heart

Though it is crushed,

Not my wrist,

From which my people’s life-

Blood flows.

I will turn,

And take my hair,

Long,

Beautiful,

The people’s symbol,

The symbol of my womanity.

I will grab it tight,

I will pull it to the side,

I will cut it,

Cut it,

With that knife used for meat,

Vegetables,

Carving wood.

I will cut my hair,

To save those

I love dearly,

And for my own sake.

I am a phoenix,

Burnt,

Destroyed,

Reborn again.

I will not be bound

I will not be “just a woman”

I will become “legend”

In place of you.

The picture above was drawn by my friend, as one of my beloved besties, I got to see the original sketch.  And I got inspired.  Result: the above poem.  She’s an awesome artist, and like me (when I draw) she was planning to add fire to the background, but changed her mind at the last moment because she was scared of destroying it.   In my head though, I see this image with blazing fire.

Like a diamond. ‘The diamond of truth’ Part One.

Felicity couldn’t move.  Her whole body was frozen like ice.  She felt like she was ice.  The king’s pretty little ice statue.  A statue that wasn’t even a statue.  She tried to wriggle her fingers.  Nothing.  She tried to wriggle her toes.  Nothing again.  Frustrated with her immobility, she tried one last time, and wriggled her nose.

It moved, she could move!  Her nose moved, with the freedom the rest of her body lacked.  She was ecstatic.  Her body tingled with pleasure as she wriggled her nose more.  She didn’t care if she looked like she was going crossed-eyed, not when the focal of her sight was the simple pleasure of watching her little nose wriggled.  Wriggle, wriggle, wriggle.  She could totally rap to this. Wriggle, wriggle, wriggle.  Wriggle.  Wriggle, wriggle, wriggle, wrrrigggle.  Haha!  No beastly king could best her if her nose wriggled!

“Stop that infernal wriggling!”  Fel squealed within her frozen form.  The sound muffled, reflected the height of the octave in which it sounded.

It was Gevird.  She scowled, again the sound was muffled by her annoying armour.  Stupid armour.  So she resorted to glaring at the menacing captain of the guard.  If it weren’t for her, he wouldn’t be the captain!

There was not a day in which she regretted her rash action.  She should have left him to die on the streets where the horses pooped and the carts trundled without any concern for their surroundings.   She didn’t have to help him off the cobbled ground into her safe house.  But she did.  She didn’t have to give him some food.  But she did.  She didn’t have to do anything because she had her own brothers and sisters to look after.  But she fricking did!

“What do you want?”  She said.  Though the question was muffled.

He cocked his head.  They were in the King’s statue room where he put his punished subjects.  All around Fel were the people she had grown up with, known or admired from afar, maybe even despised from afar.  Each and every one of them had been put here because they had done the King a wrong.  It was a blasted room.  There was no music; you’d think the King would at least treat his prisoners to some privileges.  But no.  The King was no kindly warden when it came to his frozen subjects.  No, the King was cruel and unforgiving.  Anyway, he didn’t think his prisoners would live.  But their eyes, and noses (as she learned), were not covered by the magical prison, so she could still live.  The others could not.  Some were pardoned, but most were frozen for eternity.   It wasn’t that she was immune to the magical ice, but because of who she was.  If Gevird hadn’t betrayed her, then she wouldn’t be here.  But he had.  And she was.

Too bad her presence would be missed soon enough.  She was exceedingly patient for a person where patience was generally considered wanting.  But when the moment was worth it, Fel had all the patience in the world.  And right now.  She wanted Gevrid to know just how patient she could be.

Now that her nose was capable of free movement she knew the rest of her body would slow respond within its shell.

All the while Gevrid stood there.  Why couldn’t he just go away?

As he watched her he slowly lost his sharp demeanour.  All the hard edges which had been there a moment ago and bled together to leave behind a softer solider.  What Fel meant, was a softer, liar of a solider.  But whatever right?  She was stuck and he was not.

Fel could feel the diamond in her boot.  It was too big to unmissed but her little spell certainly drew her captives, and the King’s most trusted me to assume there was nothing in her boot.  It was a shame really, since it was so big, it was obvious.  But Fel had always been more capable than the King and his men put together.

They laughed as the King’s magic washed over her.  But she was the one having the last laugh.  She had stood exactly still.  She didn’t need to run.  She wanted the King’s ice on her.  So far she was his biggest traitor, but so what?  That was all part of the plan.  He’d put her here to die and therefore, forgotten.  But Fel wasn’t going to die, nor was she going to be forgotten.

She could already hear the voices in the diamond.  Dallas and her girls were coming.  As she watched Gevrid watching her she smirked.  Her skin already heating like the fire in a dragon’s breast.  Gevrid was wrong.  He couldn’t stop her.  Not even his last words to her when he took out would save him now.

The water filled her shoes, drenched her skirt and sizzled in the small space between the ice and her.  Like the ice, this fire was no ordinary fire.  It burned with a heart of magic.  Fel had always been more powerful than her father.  Too bad his ego was bigger than his brain.

“Sorry Gevrid,” she said as the ice turned to water pooling around her feet leaving her skin dry.  “But the King is not going to keep me now.”

The shock was evident.  And Fel knew better than to miss the opportunity to run.  But as much as she despised Gevrid for tricking her, she would not let him suffer for something that was not his fault.  Because well, Fel knew, he was just the King’s man.

She called the diamond to her hand, the magic that swirled within familiarly warm.  She cupped the diamond, big for its kind, but small in her fist and pressed it to his forehead, pushing him down.  The energy ripped from her soul, ripping her close to pieces as she called on the magic of the world to transform the stoic guard.

Dallas burst from above her head just as she finished up.  Dallas caught her and drew her away to the litter they’d brought for the getaway.

Neither of the two women looked back at the kneeling soldier, his face expressionless, but handsomely carved.  Amongst the ice statues, he was nearly indistinguishable.

But he was diamond, not ice.

Snow White.

Her prince lay on the ice bed.  She approached; the only thought she had was that she had to save him.  Her hands combed his hair gently as she bowed, bestowing a sweet kiss on his lips.  The witch was wrong.  She could save him.

“Wake,” she said entwining their hands.  “Happy ever after, right?”

Not love, right?

“You ass!”  She threw the plates aiming for his forehead.  But he ducked.  “You pig! Get Out! GET OUT!”

He left.  Inside she slumped down, exhausted.  She didn’t care how far he’d gone.  No ass was allowed to cheat on her and get away with it.  That wasn’t love, right?  So why was she empty?

Trapped.

She freaked.  The windows were closed.  The smoke billowed around her and she coughed.  She tapped against the windows, looking for a weak spot in the dense glass.

She grabbed the emergency fire hydrant.  She looked once at it, said a prayer, then pulled back closing her eyes.

It flew, sending glass smashing around her.