cover image The Hurricane Wars

The Hurricane Wars

Thea Guanzon. Harper Voyager, $30 (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-327727-4

Two powerful royals are entangled in a war in Guanzon’s trope-heavy, Southeast Asian–inflected romantasy debut. Orphaned Talasyn of Sardovia harbors a deadly secret: she’s one of the last remaining Lightweavers, capable of wielding magic that can combat the brutal Night Empire’s own shadow magic. When the Night Empire attacks and its alluring Prince Alaric Ossinast corners Talasyn, she must expose her powers to escape. Sardovia’s leadership sends her to the Nenavar Dominion to amplify her powers, and, upon arrival, she discovers that she’s the lost heir to Nenavar’s Dragon Throne, making her an unwilling but vital player in diplomatic relations—especially after her grandmother, the matriarch, strikes a treaty with the Night Empire betrothing her to Alaric. After the expansive worldbuilding of the opening, the back half of the novel is devoted to Talasyn and Alaric’s dynamic, which draws clear inspiration from Star Wars’ Rey and Kylo Ren. Guanzon relies on flowery descriptions to convey the characters’ chemistry (“Orange blossoms and the creamy floral note of promise jasmines wafted from her hair, tempered by cool green attar of lotus and the barest hint of cinnamon bark. Alaric’s mouth watered”), occasionally leaning into cliché. The result doesn’t bring anything new to the tropes it deploys, but it will scratch the itch for fantasy readers seeking slow-burning, enemies-to-lovers romance. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (Oct.)