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I first read this [ebook] a year and a half ago (original review below) and recalled enjoying it so grabbed the audio when it was offered. Narrator Elizabeth Evans' clear, deliberately-paced narration is excellent for noise-distraction listening (such as in the car) but speed can be boosted a bit in quiet environments with no loss of enjoyment. Her excellent vocal range provides distinctive voices for each of the characters, bringing them to life.
Set in the desert country of Idara which is ruled by the Queen of Summer, a fairy, "Of Sand and Storm" continues the Fairy Queen saga. But were you to just pick up this book you could enjoy a gripping tale of fear and struggle for freedom. There is a dark subtext which can be brought forth into ongoing issues of slavery and sex in war-torn regions of the world (and even in the underbelly of the "first world"), but let that simmer in the background while you enjoy a first rate story. [Despite the issues involved, there is NO explicit sex so this is a safe read for YA.]
Once you've enjoyed this novel, you can always go back to the beginning to learn Storm's story.
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I liked this story so much more than Of Ice and Snow! I think I connected with the characters better in this story. I definitely liked the little throwbacks to the end of OIaS, but I didn't feel like I was missing a major part of the story for not having read any of the other books in the series. I am hoping to pick up and read those books though as I'm interested in seeing what other characters and adventures Amber has up her sleeve! This book does cover some tough topics like slavery, conquering royalty, and the sex slave industry. It felt very emotionally raw. And makes for good discussion. I especially liked the ending. It felt justified and well deserved. Such a moving story full of fun characters.