Sandstorm by Christopher Rowe is a stand alone story set deep in the deserts of Calimshan and follows the life of an earth genasi gladitoral slave Cephas as he is rescued from his chains, lead to freedom, then manipulated left right and center before discovering the truth about his past, and in the end, himself.
Overall, this was a very ‘meh’ book for me. I liked that it was all about the genasi and explored their society a bit more, even though the genasi race is heavily suppressed and in many cases even enslaved in the deserts of Calimshan. Learned something very interesting too. All genasi are born with one elemental soul: earth, wind, fire, water, and storm, but genasi can usually manifest more than one. And while it’s not uncommon for a genasi to have two souls, its even theorized that a genasi can manifest all five souls.
Cephas is one of those dual souled genasi. He was born with an earth soul but was able to manifest a wind soul, and for me it was kinda cheap how it happened. He’s being taught by a wind soul genasi on how to manifest a wind soul, and at first it’s all ‘mediate, clear your mind, hear the wind’. But then the two have sex…like…almost immediately…and it’s all *poof!* wind soul. Oh no, you didn’t need to meditate, concentrate and actually work to manifest your second soul, you just needed a good fuck. Ugh.
It was a little confusing to keep track of some of the players here as they tend to have very similar sounding names, and there were a lot of plot devises/rescues that felt just kind of tossed in to move the story along. And there’s this whole thing about a war between a djinn of the wind and an efreet of fire or something and it’s never really made clear what -if any- bearing it had on the story.
Overall I felt it was a lot of lost potential here. I would have like Cephas to be like the destined hero to end the war between the djinn and the efreet and be the one genasi to manifest all five souls or something. Just felt like a lot of info plugged into one book that might have been better spread out among at least 2.
Next up, second book in the Chosen of Nendawen trilogy: Hand of the Hunter is next.
Nendawen the Hunter has accepted Hweilan’s sacrifice and claimed her as one of his. Now she must learn to truly become a hunter so that she may take on the powers of Nendawen and avenge her family. But while Nendawen’s faithful forge the young woman into a brutal killer, the undead forces of Jagen Ghen have found a way into Nendawen’s sanctuary in the Feywild.