This is the second book by Chris Wooding that I have had the pleasure to read; the first was Poison. I liked Poison a lot more than this book; but, like Poison, what really stand out in Storm Thief is the ending. This book could best be described as a kind of gothic Sci-Fi young adult novel.
In this book we spend most of our time with Rail and Moa who eke out a living serving as thieves in a ghetto in the city of Orokos. During one of their thieving raids they stumble along a mysterious artifact of enormous value. They decided to take it and run with it; hoping to make their fortune off of the proceedings. Beside this story is the parallel story of Vago; a golem made of muscle and metal whose path intertwines with that of Rail and Moa. Vago is a golem who doesn’t know his purpose or maker; yet he finds he is extremely adept as fending off the Revenants in the city of Orokos. Orokos itself is the most interesting part of the book. Orokos is a city plaugued by probability storms that can change reality at the drop of a hat; it is also plagued by Revenants, beings made of energy who are deadly to the human habitants of Orokos. The citizens of Orokos believe that it is the only place in the entire world, but Moa dreams that there must be some place else.
I did not like the characters or the storyline of this book as much as I liked Poison. The story itself is pretty dry, devoid of humor, and I thought the characters were bland and in general not all that likable. The plot of the book itself was also fairly typical; it was very much one of those humans trying to escape from isolation types of stories. Think City of Ember. The thing that really made this book interesting was the setting. Orokos is an interesting setting, the Revenants are an interesting enemy, and the probability storms are an amazing idea.
The book didn’t go above an okay (3 star) rating for me until the end. Towards the end (when you find out the story behind Orokos) is when the story really starts to make you think; what happens to a society that has too much order versus one that is steeped in chaos? The ideas presented in the end of the book made this book an above average read for me. I really wish that the characters and plot had been as engaging as they were in Poison. I still have the Haunting of Alaizabel Cray to read; and I have heard that this is an excellent book.
Although I didn’t think this book was wonderful, it didn’t diminish Chris Wooding as a creative author in my eyes.