A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn a little about Southern California, especially Death Valley. The author gives the winds traits that relate to real weather patterns. A big dust storm called a haboob is laughed at for its name but also explained as a weather event.
The struggle against evil intensifies in this sequel, revisiting the question of whether violence is ever the answer and what price it exacts from those who use it. More peaceful means of taking on the enemy, while often underestimated, frequently win over violence.
Positive Role Models
Uneasy in his role as future king, Vane often goes against authority figures who think they know what's best for him, but his own instincts are usually right. He struggles with his conscience and his peaceful nature when it's time to fight the enemy. Audra's ongoing guilt sometimes keeps her from sticking up for herself, but she's very brave and resourceful.
Violence & Scariness
Lurking in the background in Book 1, evil Raiden and his schemes are front and center in Let the Storm Break. He kidnaps, tortures, and kills dozens of the good sylphs, turning some of them into mindless, whirling killing machines that destroy a swath of Southern California and nearly tear apart the main characters, who endure stabbings, broken bones, and painful resetting of fractures. Audra sees Raiden crush a skull and tear one of his own soldiers apart to instill fear and obedience in his army. Audra suffers a near drowning, a kidnapping, and the fear of torture. Raiden gives Vane nightmares to keep him vulnerable and sleepless. Vane and Audra each think the other is dead at different times.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some passionate kisses, some sleeping in the same bed (Vane's mom insists the door stay open and one of them is above the covers) but nothing else beyond innuendo and talk about Audra's skimpy outfits. Jokes about the word "haboob" (a sandstorm) abound.
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Very infrequent, limited to "hell," "freaking," "dammit," and one "Holy. Freaking. Crap."
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Products & Purchases
Mentos gets a brief mention.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A couple mentions of drinking or drug use, but only in jest.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Let the Storm Break is the second in the Sky Fall fantasy-romance series about air elementals or sylphs. Although protagonists Vane and Audra already are said to be "bonded" for life, they don't do much more than kiss and sleep in the same bed -- with the door open and one of them above the covers. The struggle against evil intensifies in this sequel as Raiden, head of the Stormers who killed Vane's parents 10 years earlier, gets serious about finding Vane, killing and manipulating dozens of good sylphs to get to him. Mindlessly whirling killing machines take out parts of Southern California and seriously injure the main characters, who fear they will be captured and tortured. As in Book 1, Let the Storm Break offers much food for thought on violence. For example, are there times when it's necessary? How can violent acts change who you are?
Is It Any Good?
LET THE STORM BREAK follows the standard formula of romance-heavy fantasy trilogies. Love blossoms in Book 1: Let the Sky Fall brings Audra and Vane together in a kiss that's supposed to bond them for life. Then in Book 2 the doubts emerge, usually with a love-triangle twist (think teams Edward and Jacob). What if he/she doesn't really love me? Who is this other guy/chick and does he/she like the other person better? Can I compete with him/her? Enter hot and somewhat desperate-seeming Solana; Vane was supposed to bond with her and rule the kingdom. Let the Storm Break follows the formula pretty well, but Solana doesn't seem like much of a threat -- Vane's all about Audra, even if his mom likes Solana better. And the parts with the meddling mom add awkwardness and slow the story down. Shouldn't everyone be getting ready for battle while mom is fussing about Vane keeping his bedroom door open? It's time for Vane, future king of the sylphs, to move out of his human-adoptive parents' house.
In Let the Storm Break the big enemy -- Raiden -- finally shows up. It's pretty clear a win against him will be costly. Author Shannon Messenger doesn't fall into the sequel slow-down sinkhole here: The end battle feels pretty climactic. But it's easy to lose track of details in fast-paced scenes, where characters are situated in a battle, or even how on earth they could be having full conversations while flying through the gusty air. Still, readers who've fallen for Vane and Audra will breeze through this sequel and its twister of an ending and be ready for the next installment.
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