Review of “The Coming Storm” by Valerie Douglas

First off, I don’t read a lot of fantasy. This is a work of epic fantasy. Does that disqualify me as a reviewer? I don’t think so. You might disagree. I know good writing, good plotting, and good characters when I see them, no matter what genre the writer might be writing in.

Because these things sometimes appear to weigh in the review (though never for me, in my own opinion), I’d like to say that I was NOT given a copy of this book. I had a copy which I’d bought a couple of years ago. I’d started it but hadn’t finished.  Nobody owes me anything, and no one has asked me to give a good review, only an honest one.

Okay, now that all those housekeeping bits are out of the way, what did I think? I enjoyed “The Coming Storm” quite a lot. Valerie always creates great characters (yes, I’ve read a number of her other books). A strong female generally centres the book – and this one is no exception. Ailith, the Heir of Riverford, is a very strong character, indeed. She faces tragedy, adversity, and obstacles of all sorts, and she triumphs. She grows, changes, discovers talents she never dreamed she could possess.

I don’t usually discuss plots very much in reviews. Let’s say there is a lot of action in this book, battles against all sorts of fantastical beasts. There is a terrible threat from the past that reaches into the present, taking the very souls of those it touches.

The cast of characters includes Elves, Humans, Dwarves, and Wizards. Each of these races is clearly differentiated with characteristics, lore, philosophy that differ from the others’. 

There’s also some foreshadowing of events which will take place in the next book, “Convocation of Kings.”

Valerie often writes in third-person omniscient point-of-view. This means that the narration can dip from the perspective of one character to another quickly. I have to say I don’t care for this POV. Why? I find it distracting and impersonal. The reader never gets deeply into any one character’s perspective before being taken to another’s. (Again, this is my opinion. That’s what a review is: opinion.) “The Coming Storm” is written in third-person omniscient.

One other slight negative. I am a bit of a grammar obsessive. Comma splices (joining two sentences with a comma instead of dividing them with a period) bother me a great deal more than they might bother you. There are quite a few comma splices in this book.

Do I recommend “The Coming Storm” – especially for fans of epic fantasy? Oh, yes. There is a sweep and grandeur in this book. Passion. Adventure. Danger. Thrills. Loss and triumph. Any negative things I have to say are minor and matter mostly only to grammar nuts like me.

Now here’s a link to the e-book at Amazon: The Coming Storm Go pick up a copy. If you like epic fantasy, I think you’ll enjoy this one immensely.

THE COMING STORM by Valerie Douglas



I have an excerpt from this terrific epic fantasy for you. There were supposed to be some nifty graphics, too, but – owing to my own ineptitude – I cannot make them work.  So I’m just going to put in the excerpt.

Then tomorrow, I’m going to write a review of the book. (You might, of course, make some pretty good deductions about whether or not the review will be favourable by the way I called “The Coming Storm” a terrific epic fantasy. Smile )


Colath couldn’t remember a time when he’d ever been so weary and if he was tired, what of the men, Iric and Mortan? They hadn’t the endurance of his folk. Both were thinner in only a few weeks, and there were dark hollows beneath their eyes and a dullness. Travel bread could sustain you but it wasn’t meant to replace real food and they hadn’t seen such in nearly a week. That had consisted of the one game they had scared up, a solitary rabbit that had somehow stayed hidden in these hills. Jalila had gotten it with one shot. The rabbit hadn’t been large.

Of other game, they saw only carcasses rotting in the sun. Boggins or boggarts loved entrails but not much else.

They had to get away from the borderlands and soon but that was becoming more difficult with each passing day. The line between the borderlands and the rest of the Kingdoms had blurred. Narrowly missing an encounter with a firbolg, they’d also avoided an ogre and several boggins. They’d spent a day or so upon a tor, looked down the slopes from the rocks at its crown to watch as a troop of boggarts passed below them. Thankfully, they hadn’t picked up on their scent or were so intent on their own quarrels they hadn’t noticed. Without warning, a trio of the boggarts had leaped upon another and torn it to shreds. When they were gone a salamander had crept out from the rocks at the base of the hill where it had been hiding and made a fine meal of what the other boggarts hadn’t finished.

Manticores, they learned, hunted in prides much like some desert cats. The one they’d first seen had likely been a solitary young male, if they held true to that comparison.

All were far out of their normal ranges and too many in number.

A firbolg come down from the high ranges you would see once or twice a year, perhaps, after a hard winter. Young boggins and boggarts weren’t uncommon and most often the reason for the Hunters. The smart ones learned their lesson and fled back to the borderlands screaming their frustration and defiance. Stupid ones died. Kobolds came once a season, maybe. Ogres and trolls once or so every few years. As for goblins, this wasn’t their territory so much as north and east but every few years a new leader would come along and gather them all up for a raid. It would take a small army of Hunters to rout them and send them running back to their own lands again, never without there being wounded on both sides. Thankfully, they’d seen no trolls yet, nor goblins. So few in number, he and his small party would never have stood a chance against them, not with men in their party.

They’d see enough and more than enough, both north and south. Time to go home, to return to Aerilann. It’s the how that’s difficult, he thought, as he brooded beneath the overhang and stared out into the night.

Somewhere not far enough away something screamed at the darkness.

They’d run across a trail of a number of orcs running before them.

Behind, of course and in both other directions, was more of the same.

The orcs, those monstrous, bear-like things with their oddly hinged jaws were more than his small party could face, particularly Iric and Mortan. Despite their protest, he and the two other elves had taken their watch this night. In the end, both men had to admit they were too weary to be useful. What tricks men used to stay alert had long since worn off. They were completely exhausted, and both now slept deeply.

Alic gestured a warning and Colath tensed.

They’d had many nights like these, startled into alertness by some sign or strange noise. Once they’d had to kill a basilisk looking for a temporary den. Alic had been caught and frozen, to his shame, before the glare in those eyes.

That was the basilisk’s magic, their method for capturing their prey.

No shame to him, though, as basilisks here were as common as salamanders – that is, not common at all. They were southeastern creatures.

Then Colath caught the scent of what alarmed Alic, a faint stinging in his nostrils. A boggart or boggarts, and near. He nudged Jalila gently. She rolled over, instantly aware and awake.

The two men were so deeply asleep they dared not nudge them to consciousness for fear they would cry out. As cruel as it was, it was still much better to press a hand over their mouths and frighten them awake than it was to risk an outcry. He nodded to Jalila to wake Iric, while he went to Mortan.

Mortan bucked beneath his hand, but then his eyes opened enough to see Colath’s face in the dim glow cast by elf-light. Abruptly, he subsided, but he looked more alert than he had in several days, the little bit of sleep and fright charging him with energy. It wouldn’t last, Colath knew, beyond a few hours. He hoped it would be enough.

Tapping his sword, he drew it, so the two men could see it. Nodding, they drew their own.

With a quick gesture, he sent Jalila and her bow to the back of the tumble of rocks that arched around them. Sheltered there beneath the overhang, she had a good defensive position from which to shoot and to guard the horses. Although Elves could and did run for miles, the men couldn’t, and Colath didn’t want to think of any of them afoot in this country.

Alic stood with Iric on one side of the entry, he and Mortan at the other.

They waited.

There was little else to do. Boggarts were dark-skinned and stealthy. To venture out was to risk themselves foolishly.

A tumble of wood stood where the rocks ended, but Colath hesitated to light it.

Once lit, it would be a beacon for any other creatures that prowled the night. He hadn’t lit it earlier for fear the smell of smoke would draw more than the fire would repel. Most of these creatures hated and feared fire, but they also seemed to know that where there was fire there were men and Elves. He hadn’t wanted to invite attention.

If the boggart or boggarts attacked, they might have no choice, depending on how it went. It was unlikely to go well or unnoticed. Typically, boggarts screamed when they attacked, an unnerving shriek that was intended to shatter the nerves of their prey if  it were unwary enough to be caught off guard. That shriek alone would often send prey flying from cover. Colath hoped he wouldn’t hear it. If he did, they were in serious trouble. While not as thick-skinned as the manticore, their skin was thick enough to keep an arrow from driving too deeply if the shot was off a hair. The swords of men could glance off if their aim wasn’t true. For that Elven steel worked better. Add long arms, sharp claws and wicked teeth and you had a formidable opponent even for Elves.

If it came to a real fight, they would have to run, at night, as dangerous as that was. There was no choice. The sounds of battle would carry. Like the salamander they’d watched, there would be those who would be drawn to the noise for a chance at the offal.

Orcs didn’t see well at night, unlike boggarts. With any luck they wouldn’t stir and the party might get past them.

An unearthly shriek rang out.

Instinct warned him.



The Coming Storm, By Valerie Douglas

Spanning an epic series of books, ‘The Coming Storm’ by Valerie Douglas takes you to the heart of a conflict between magic users, and those without magic, good and evil, love and loss.

Join Ailith and Elon as they have to choose between love, duty, and everything they’ve battled for.

Elon of Aerilann, Elven advisor to the High King of Men, helped negotiate the treaty between Elves, Dwarves and men. He suddenly finds that fragile truce threatened from without by an unknown enemy and from within by old hatreds and prejudice. With the aid of his true-friend Colath, the wizard Jareth and the Elven archer Jalila, he goes in search of the source of the threat.
Ailith, the Heir to Riverford, fights her own silent battle. Her father has changed, but her quest to discover what changed him puts her life and very soul in danger and leaves her only one direction in which to turn. Elon.
To preserve the alliance, though, Elon will have to choose between his honor, his duty and everything for which he fought.

Amazon | Goodreads

A Conocation of Kings (The Coming Storm, #2) 
Not Magic Enough (The Coming Storm, #3)  (novella will be 99¢ during the blast)
Setting Boundaries (The Coming Storm, #4)  (novella will be 99¢ during the blast)

review quotes

Read more reviews on Amazon


Valerie Douglas is a prolific writer and a genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans. A fan of authors of almost every genre from Isaac Asimov to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, she writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance. Who knows what will pop up down the road!

Valerie Douglas is a prolific writer and a genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans. A fan of authors of almost every genre from Isaac Asimov to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, she writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance. Who knows what will pop up down the road!

Happily married, she’s companion to two dogs, four cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper who delights in tormenting the cats from his tank.

You can find more information at Valerie Douglas Books, or at Alexandria Publishing Group.

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And to celebrate her book blast, Valerie’s lowered the price of The Coming Storm on a Countdown Deal.  Head on over to the page and see what it’s set and and grab your copy at the lowest price you can!  Her novellas Not Magic EnoughSetting Boundaries have also been priced at $0.99 for the duration of this project.

And in January….

In January, Valerie is visiting blogs, talking books and sharing her experience.  As author of more than 20 books, she’s got a lot to say about indie publishing and would love to visit with you.

If you’d like to join in you can sign up here or fill the form out below

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