Wrath of the Storm: Mark of the Thief, Book 3

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Wrath of the Storm:  Mark of the Thief, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Exciting fantasy finale has magic, action, and a kiss.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A few Latin words, most with context clues. Some Roman mythology. A few details about Julius Caesar's death with added mythology. Some cultural insights into ancient Rome, such as eating formal meals while reclining on sofas.

Positive Messages

It's not enough to be forgiven by others; you have to forgive yourself to be able to move on. With forgiveness comes love. Asks when punishment is enough and whether someone should be forgiven for past crimes. Fighting always makes things worse. Wealth can't provide anything that really matters; only love can do that.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nic is a strong model for compassion. He can't bring himself to kill the villain when he has a chance. He has several chances to save the day but won't do it when he knows it will harm someone. He doesn't want to rely on magic for everything, because it usually just causes more trouble. He tries to think of solutions that would work for everyone and do the least amount of harm. Aurelia is loyal and brave but isn't involved in much action. Crispus is also brave and loyal, and all three good guys make sacrifices for their loved ones. 

Violence

Nic is often in danger from fights with fantasy creatures such as a dragon or a god in animal form. Some fights with swords, knives, and arrows. Kicking, punching, and characters being thrown against walls. Buildings collapse in fights with fantasy creatures. A whipping is described without gore, but mention of bleeding wounds and pain. A gladiator fight mentions a deep wound in a leg and a man falling down, possibly dead. A long fall causes broken bones and pooling liquid. Villains threaten captives with knives to coerce the good guys into giving up. They also use verbal hostility to threaten and intimidate.

Sex

One deep kiss, which isn't described, but strong feelings of emotional connection are described briefly. A couple other quick kisses. Teens talk a little about being in love and what love is. Nic thinks about how Aurelia makes him feel.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wrath of the Storm is the third and last book in the Mark of the Thief fantasy series by the author of the Ascendance Trilogy. It picks up right where Book 2, Rise of the Wolf, left off. Reading the first two volumes isn't strictly needed because everything's pretty well explained, but it'll add dimension to a lot of the returning characters if you do. There's lots of peril and action, mostly from fights with fantasy creatures. Injuries and blood get mentioned but aren't described in detail. A whipping is described with a little detail and descriptions of pain but no gore. Nic thinks a lot about his feelings for Aurelia, and there's one deep kiss; it's not described, but feeling an intense emotional connection is described briefly. Wrath of the Storm is a good choice for magical fantasy fans, and the setting in ancient Rome makes it a good choice for readers who like historical fiction with a dose of fantasy.

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What's the story?

Everyone wants Nic to conjure the WRATH OF THE STORM now that he has the two magical amulets needed to do it. That's how he could make the magical Jupiter Stone and with it put an end once and for all to the Praetor Wars. But if the stone fell into the wrong hands, it would mean the fall of Rome and possibly all of civilization along with it. Oh, and making the Jupiter Stone will almost certainly cost him his life, too. Can Nic protect himself and his loved ones and save the empire?

Is it any good?

This last installment in the Mark of the Thief trilogy keeps the exciting action of the first two books going. Wrath of the Storm also adds a dash of romance as teens Nic, Crispus, and Aurelia learn to face their futures. Fans of magical fantasy will enjoy creatures such as a unicorn, a griffin, and a dragon. The setting in ancient Rome adds appeal for historical fiction fans, too. The pace is pretty evenly split between action sequences and talking strategy. Veteran fantasy fans may get impatient with some of the repetition, such as how many times Aurelia has to tell Nic she's not leaving him. But big kids and tweens will enjoy being caught up in this magical adventure in ancient Rome.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why fantasies such as Wrath of the Storm are often part of a series. Could Nic's story have been told in only one book? How might it be different if it were?

  • Nic says that he needs to forgive himself if he wants to be free of feeling guilty for the harm he's done. Everyone feels a little guilty sometimes. What does forgiving yourself mean? What things have you felt guilty about, and what made you feel better?

  • If you read the other books in the series, did you like this one as much? Did it end the way you thought it would?

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