(Harbinger, Book 1)
By: Jeff Wheeler
Narrated by: Kate Rudd
Series: The Harbinger Series, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
Release date: 06-19-18
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Genre: Epic, Fantasy, Historical
My Rating: 4.25 0f 5.0
From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Kingfountain Series comes the first novel in a bold and richly imagined world.
Theirs is a world of opposites. The privileged live in sky manors held aloft by a secretive magic known only as the Mysteries. Below, the earthbound poor are forced into factory work to maintain the engine of commerce. Only the wealthy can afford to learn the Mysteries, and they use their knowledge to further lock their hold on society.
Cettie Pratt is a waif doomed to the world below, until an admiral attempts to adopt her. But in her new home in the clouds, not everyone treats her as one of the family.
Sera Fitzempress is a princess born into power. She yearns to meet the orphan girl she has heard so much about, but her father deems the girl unworthy of his daughter’s curiosity.
Neither girl feels that she belongs. Each seeks to break free of imposed rules. Now, as Cettie dreams of living above and as Sera is drawn to the world below, they will follow the paths of their own choosing.
But both girls will be needed for the coming storm that threatens to overturn both their worlds.
©2018 Jeff Wheeler (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.
Cettie is one of the abandoned orphans in the below, earthbound world. This is the world forced to struggle and slave to help maintain a world where only the wealthy are allowed to learn the Mysteries of the world in the clouds. Cettie is plagued by nightmare dreams of an evil ghost whom she keeps at bay only by surrounding herself with the other orphaned children. One night Fitzroy, an admiral from the upper world, finds Cettie and the starving children. Fitzroy banishes the ghost and Cettie finds the courage to beg him to help her. He takes her to his home in the clouds while he takes steps to adopt her.
Sera is an only child born to a wealthy and powerful family. Her parents are more concerned with their power then embracing their child. And to protect her they have sheltered her and kept her away from children her own age. She is distracted during lessons, always dreaming of the world beyond her sight. Her father is frustrated by her lack of diligence and isolates her even more. Sara has heard rumors of the orphaned girl from the world below and envies her experiences in the world. She longs to meet Cettie but her father prohibits any contact.
Although Cettie suffers from those in the household with prejudiced views, she never gives up. Cettie helps Fitzroy make an extremely important scientific discovery. As this book draws to a close it is clear that this discovery is going to change things significantly for Cettie. Somehow Sera will be involved with the change as things progress in book two.
The world building is not so unusual in its extreme class systems, but it is extremely well developed with a great steampunk feel. The steampunk elements include airborne ships and experiments with elements from Fitzroy’s mines. The Mysteries are not fully disclosed but are hinted at as part of the history and power structure of the society. There is good action, tension, mystery and suspense. The characters are well developed and share common traits of curiosity about their world although they come from opposite perspectives. I loved Cettie’s courage and caring for others. I even have some sympathy for Sera too.
I read The Banished of Muirwood, book 1 in the Covenant of Muirwood, by Wheeler which also had good world building but seemed like I had missed elements from a prior series. Storm Glass seems to start a new world and it was easy to become engaged in the plotline. I am looking forward to listening to book 2, Mirror Gate, soon. I recommend this to those who enjoy rich fantasy with supernatural and magical mysteries.
Audio Notes: Kate Rudd is an excellent narrator. She gives the characters their appropriate voices and got me immersed in the world. I fully enjoyed the audio and will listen to the next book in the series.
Source: Audible title December 2018. This is part of my 2018 Audiobook Challenge.