Of Fire and Storm is the second book in D.G. Swank’s Piper Lancaster series.
Spoiler Free Summary: Piper is still new to the who demon slaying business, but the threats are still increasing more greatly. A mysterious threat is targeting young people who inevitably commit suicide. Things take a turn for the worse when one victim turns out to be connected to Piper. Her powers are growing, but someone she loves is going to betray her.
Character: So this story is really closely patterned after Buffy. While I think the relationship is too close, I still like the feeling because I’m such a fan of Buffy. It would be unfair to call Piper a Buffy ripoff. Sure, she’s a blonde-haired demon slayer, but Piper has enough unique traits. I’ll even admit that I’m such a fan of Buffy that I’m probably forcing the thoughts. Piper is compassionate and driven. These traits make her easy to like. She’s a bit gullible if you ask me, but her sympathy and proactivity make her worth following.
Exposition: As the second book in a series, one has to expect some degree of exposition to help the readers along. However, this was pretty solid for me. I got the history when I needed it, and I got the story when I wanted it. I don’t feel like the story dragged down or went off the rails at any point.
Worldbuilding: It wasn’t bad, but that’s what upset me. This series has a lot of potential in terms of lore and depth, but it never came. As a series, it’s obvious a writer isn’t gong to throw everything out in book two, but I didn’t get nearly as much of the setting as I wanted. Does this really hurt the story? Only if you love deep worlds and complex saga histories. However, if one is just reading one story for the sake of the story, he probably doesn’t miss the scope the same way I do.
Dialogue: This is where the comparison to Buffy falls way short. The wit and snappy dialogue just isn’t there. I’m not saying it’s bad on it’s own, but I couldn’t help but make the comparisons I did, and when someone does that, that person has to be ready to accept comparison. The dialogue didn’t bring me down (even if some parts were just spoken exposition). It didn’t feel stilted at all.
Description: I probably could have used a bit more description. There was enough to get the movie theatre in my head going, but it was a pretty small theatre, and they didn’t have dBox effects. The character description was better than the scenic description by far. But some of the environments felt a bit thin.
Overall: Though it rigidly holds to the Buffy template I’m certain inspired it, it is still entertaining. It’s got a few surprises amid some of the more predictable aspects. It’s not bad if you’re a fan of the genre. It’s a fun read that gives fans of the genre somewhere to go if they need a fix. While heavily inspired (in my opinion) by the aforementioned TV show, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a cheap knock off. I think I enjoyed it as much as I did because of the blending of new aspects amid a familiar, well-loved story. If you miss Buffy, give this a read and see how you feel about it.
Thanks for reading