Continuing to catch up with things, and very late here is my stop on the blog tour for ‘On the Wind of Quasars’ by T.A. Bruno organised by Storytellers on Tour. This is the second book in The Song of Kamaria series, and you can find my review of the first book ‘In the Orbit of Sirens’ here. It was a delight to return to this series.
I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE).
Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
The thrilling sequel to In the Orbit of Sirens
THE WORLD OF KAMARIA WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
In the aftermath of the brutal slaying of a sacred auk’nai deity, Cade and Nella Castus are taken from their home and brought deep into the wilderness. They must make their way back to civilization, traversing dangerous landscapes as they are pursued relentlessly by their captor—a winged abomination.
As Denton and Eliana search for their missing children, they uncover something that will change all life on Kamaria forever.
On the Wind of Quasars immediately gets bonus points for the fact that it includes a map (see above), but what also stood out for me and which was greatly appreciated was that there is a fantastic recap of the story so far at the beginning of the book. I’d read In the Orbit of Sirens earlier this year, but quite a lot occurs in that first book so it was incredibly helpful to have it summarised.
There is a time jump with this one, with the majority of the book occurring twenty-six years after the events of the first book (again why the recap was so useful), and I loved how this difference in time was handled. There are points of familiarity, both in the setting and with the return of familiar faces from the first book – complete with changes wrought by that time, with shifting jobs and locations, changing relationships. But, what I really enjoyed was the differences around those familiar aspects, both physical differences like Odysseus City losing its previously pristine state, and showing the wear and tear of a city over time, and the resulting knock-on effect to those living there, with crime and poverty adding new – less welcome – layers to the city. But, also the societal shifts that have occurred with the bringing together of the humans and Auk’nai, not just the adjustments, but also how that affects customs and traditions particularly with Auk’nai as they try to assimilate. It just adds a fantastic level of detail and does such a good job of not only establishing that this is a different time, but that events have continued to happen while we were away, and it’s great to see that built into the world.
This is further heightened by the fact that as with In the Orbit of Sirens, the worldbuilding and descriptions of the setting are so vivid and easy to visualise. Bruno has a real talent for painting his world in cinematic detail, and for populating it with fascinating flora and fauna – so that you just want to go exploring, and live and breath in Kamaria.
The characters were a driving force in the first book, and I was expecting the same here and I wasn’t disappointed, and I would even say that this is where we really see Bruno turn the dial to full throttle. As with the first book we have multiple POVs, and timelines, and familiar faces and new ones. Two of the new additions Cade and Nella, the grown-up children of Denton and Eliana stole the show for me from the moment that we met them, especially Nella. The theme of family and everything that entails was strong in this book, and Bruno captures the bonds between the two of them, as well as between them and the rest of their extended family beautifully, and it is great to see how it plays into their story.
Nella was fantastic on so many levels, and I admire how seamlessly Bruno introduced her deafness – and the use of Sol-Sign (sign language) and tech to assist, without ‘fixing’ anything that didn’t need to fix, and that she was such a rich, well-developed character beyond that. It also added an extra dimension of tension and threat, when she and Cade are in danger – and as much as I love the other characters and storylines, I would have loved just following them. The only new addition I wasn’t too sure about was Zephyr, but I think that was because we didn’t get to know her quite as well and it will be interesting to see what role she plays within the next book in the series.
As a whole though, I found the characters and their various storylines even more compelling in this book, which brought with it its own perils, as there are twists and turns, and gut-wrenching moments in this book, and because we’re so invested it hits hard. There was more than one moment in this book where I had to pause, just to process what was happening – but it was so good, and I love that emotional intensity. That Bruno also extends this to the ‘villains’ is even better, especially for those who are not willingly the bad guy – and there were some pretty raw points because of this, and some disturbing moments as you realise just how badly they are being used (I had shivers at one point) – and you’re so invested that it becomes a rollercoaster until you’re pointed at the true source of the problem.
On the Wind of Quasars sees more of Kamaria unfolding, and we get answers to some of the mysteries from the first book, while new ones open up, and there are plenty of threads unresolved to leave me champing at the bit for the next book. From the murder mystery that this book opens on, to familial ties, and the search for Cade and Nella when they are taken and the emotional fallout from that (honestly, as emotional as the moments with Denton and Eliana were during this time, they were some of my favourites), to learning more about the Auk’nai, this book is action-packed and that ending!
On the Wind of Quasars is a fantastic new instalment in The Song of Kamaria series. It maintained the cinematic nature of the first book, and the same compelling world-building and action, but it turned the dial up. Where this book really took off though was with the characters, they were a driving force in the first book, but I found them even more compelling this time around – from the characters we already knew to the new ones, and following their stories made it hard to put this one down, and has left me heavily invested for the next book in the series. This was a great read, and I would highly recommend On the Wind of Quasars and the series as a whole to anyone who loves character-driven stories, vivid world-building and stories that pull you in completely.
T. A. Bruno grew up in a suburb south of Chicago and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry. Since then, he has brought stories to life for over a decade as a previsualization artist. At home, he is the proud father of two boys and a husband to a wonderful wife. He released his debut novel, In the Orbit of Sirens, amid a global pandemic in 2020, and it has won multiple awards.
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.