Clashing Tempest (Men of Myth Book #3), Brandon Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Paranormal/Fantasy – Mermaids, Demons, Fae, Vampires, Contemporary Setting, Series
Length: 350 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
**THIS REVIEW IS BEST READ AFTER BOOKS #1 AND 2**
At the end of book #2, Rising Frenzy, Finn has been called to the Vampire Cathedral using nefarious means. Loved ones lives are in the balance and Finn has been shown the consequences of not obeying immediately when called. His sister, Cynthia, is also being held in Costa Rica, the Cathedral’s HQ, and Finn, Schwint and another sister, Caitlin, are all going to rescue her. Clashing Tempest picks right up where Rising Frenzy left off.
Before leaving for Costa Rica, Finn and Caitlin visit the nymphs, their spiritual guides, to ask them if they have any advice to give. Are they doing the right thing? It is not a good sign to Finn that Amalphia is the nymph to talk to them under the willow. Jordskote would usually be the one to guide Finn as her power and his are closest linked. She helped him when he was devastated over losing Brett and planted five Japanese white Irises under the willow, which still thrive and flower. But it is not Jordskote, and the whole speaking-in-rhymes and sad expressions only serve to make the volatile Caitlin even more volatile. A worried Finn even more nervous. Caitlin is in full battle mode and wants her sister back. Finn wants his sister back, too, and for his family to be left alone, but he has experienced a bit more than Caitlin and has an inkling of how difficult it is going to be.
When Finn and Caitlin arrive in Costa Rica, Schwint and a friend are waiting for them. Fairies can fly and Scwindt left a good day before to do some reconnaissance. On the way, Schwint noticed someone following him. That ‘someone’ is Newton a fellow fairy, or as Finn likes to call him Pewlet. Newton / Pewlet is an anti-disestablishment type. He lives for opportunities to take down the man. The Vampire Cathedral is about as big as it gets when it comes to the man. So Newton wants in.
It is decided that all four of them walking into the Vampire Cathedral is not going to do anyone any favours. With much gnashing of teeth by Caitlin, it is decided that she and Newton will stay behind and Schwint will accompany Finn to the Cathedral. Finn has a basic plan if things go pear-shaped at the initial meeting. Caitlin wants to help her sister but she seriously underestimates the power that is behind it all. Finn is justifiably fearful of what lies ahead. Being in tune with the earth helps when he sees the natural beauty of the jungle and the ethereal yet foreboding look of the Vampire Cathedral, but he is only there because his hand has been forced. He needs to find out what has brought him to the attention of the Vampire King, Gwala. Finn is a warlock, and while he has always seemed to have more power than the rest of his family, he does not understand why he is warranting all this attention. Schwint is kind and keeps Finn grounded as much as he can while they are wending their way through the forest to the Cathedral –
‘Every so often, Schwint would run his fingertips through my hair from where he drifted above me. More often, my hand would rise of its own accord and find the small of his back or his waiting fingers, wordlessly giving me reassurance and keeping me from diving full speed into the waves of terror that kept threatening to crash over me.’
When they finally meet with Gwala, Schwint offers to stay in place of Cynthia. But Gwala is having none of that, he will keep both Schwint and Cynthia as incentive for his new warlock. Gwala is one of the creepiest, most depraved, characters I’ve encountered and was a sociopath prior to his turning at fourteen. Now, he is an ancient immortal sociopath with much power. There is no particular explanation, initially, as to why Finn is sought, just that he is to replace the current warlock of the cathedral, Omar, and that he is considered to have much unharnessed power. As the book progresses you see why and also the tying in of all the characters and story arcs.
Meanwhile, under the sea, Brett has been asked to take part in a mission to find out what has happened to missing mers and why. The Queen of the Chromis suspects that there is more to it than just the random abduction of one of their young, Ventait, years ago. The tribe has never recovered from losing Ventait, and since they rarely mate and breed they cannot afford to lose a valuable part of who they are. Their young. Their future numbers. It is decided that Brett will go along because he is powerful, both mer and demon, and the demon part of Brett will be needed, not to mention he has legs and can walk on land. There is much secrecy surrounding the party that is dispatched to find out what lies behind Syleen’s concerns. Only Therin, Brett’s father, Wrell, the fierce Volitan, and Lelas, Brett’s best friend, are going to accompany Brett on the mission. Lelas is going because she would go anywhere Brett goes and Wrell has sworn an oath to protect Brett after he saved him in book #2.
As well as Finn and his story, and the mer, Sonia gets a POV as well. It is, once again, quite brutal. I will also say this, I am not good with cruelty. I do not like inhuman behaviour and Clashing Tempest has its fair share of cruelty. I found it jarring in places and some people I loved died. It is real and Brandon Witt doesn’t sugar-coat the paranormal aspects or their behaviours. The vampires are not sparkly and they don’t fall in love, they drink people and other supes to death, and look upon species as nothing more than a means to an end, livestock –
“Yes, my prized bull. You have been the best breeder I’ve had. Your offspring have been the purest of any we’ve had in centuries.”
I can’t discuss a lot of this third instalment, to do so would be to ruin the whole series. What I can say is that there is a further development of Brett and his father Therin’s connection, and Brett’s place in the Chromis. Lelas continues to make me love her. I adored Wrell throughout. Wrell…. Syleen looks good compared to the other mer tribe queens that they encounter on their mission.
Schwint is Schwint – funny at times but a bit more sombre here, as the mood requires. However, they do get to show passion on occasion as a means of escaping the constant fear and oppression they live under. Newton is interesting and Shane blew me out of the water in such a small amount of page space. Shane needs page time, lots of it. You know he has a painfully angst-y backstory just waiting to play out. But someone else needs some loving really, REALLY soon or I will explode.
Where I believe Submerging Inferno and Rising Frenzy belonged to Finn de Morisco, Clashing Tempest belongs to Brett Wright. Brett has developed so much as a character in all the right ways. Where he was originally angry, lost, selfish (although understandable) and a loose canon, here he becomes selfless and more controlled. His powers come to the fore. His character now more fully developed – much Brett love from this reader. I’ve always loved Finn but he got overtaken here. In a good way.
I have lived and breathed every moment of these first three books in the series, the Brett / Finn/ Schwint trilogy, and I am hoping there is more to come. The character development, the world-building, the attention to every detail is superb. Submerging Inferno, while a good book, is really a precursor of what is to come, as Rising Frenzy and Clashing Tempest are tremendous. Be patient, start at book #1, get the background, the relationship dynamic, and know it builds beautifully. I advise readers not to read the series out of order as it will be less impactful if you do. I have read a lot of paranormal and quite a few fantasy books over the years and I will say that the Men of Myth series is hands down one of the best paranormal / fantasy series I have ever had the pleasure of reading.