Rain is an amazing Neshu fighter – but there is one problem. She is a girl, and girls aren’t allowed to fight for their kingdom. Only boys and men are allowed that privilege. Rain has lived with the knowledge that she is whole whereas her dear twin brother Storm, suffered from a fever they both had when they were just little children. Storm has never been the same. He seems stuck in a child like state, even though they are both now 17 years old. Their father is a master at teaching the style of fighting known as Neshu, but as much as he tries, Storm will never be the fighter that Rain has become.
Willow, Rain and Storm’s older sister, is eagerly waiting for her match for marriage. In their part of the kingdom, tradition dictates that the bride and groom don’t have any say in who they marry – only their parents – and they don’t even meet until a match has been made. But then word comes that the nomads are on the move and are threatening everything everyone holds dear, including their very lives. Every family must send a boy or man to help defend the lands of Ylanda. Their father says he will go with Storm to meet the demand of the kingdom. Rain knows though, that this will mean almost certain death for both her father and her brother. Storm can no way fight and be part of the army, and their father is older now and will try to protect Storm. Rain feels she has to do something.
Through her sister, Rain learns of a woman in the village who deals in dragon magic. Legend says that dragons once roamed the skies of Ylanda and even now, anything left from a dragon hold special power. Rain begins to have think she should run off to join the army and pretend to be Storm – a boy. Rain goes to the woman and asks for something that will help her from being discovered if she does go into the army. She knows if she is discovered, the penalty is death. She is hoping the powder she got from the woman that Rain takes each night will keep her secret safe. But the woman at the shop tells her she might to start having dreams about dragons.
Rain is able to make her way to the army, and she seems to be able to fool everyone. But as she takes the dragon powder, she does begin to dream of an ancient dragon, a dragon who begs Rain to set her free and help defeat the nomads. Rain has to decide if these visions and dreams are real, and if they are, can she make the ultimate sacrifice for her kingdom.
Stormrise by Jillian Boehme is a grand adventure story, with reimagined dragons, secrecy, and forbidden love. For anyone looking for a dragon tale, you are in luck!
Recommended for grades 8 and up.