Maas chronicles Chaol and Nesryn’s activities during Empire of Storms (2016).
Chaol (a rare white character in this book) and Nesryn venture to the Southern Continent on a mission with two objectives. One is to make an alliance with the powerful khagan, the other to see if the famed healers of Antica’s Torre Cesme can use their magic to repair his spine. The progressive khaganate, a multicultural empire modeled after Mongolia, is lavishly and lovingly explored during the first half of the book. Nesryn enjoys it as well, taking pleasure in not being a racial other, as she is Adarlan; her father was from the Southern Continent, and her family names are analogous to Arabic). Nesryn, from whose third-person perspective much of the story is told, comes into her own here, apart from Chaol. A complicated political situation involving five potential heirs to the khaganate means Chaol must tread carefully to secure support. Meanwhile, Chaol’s assigned healer, brown-skinned Yrene (also a point-of-view character), is from the Northern Continent and has a major grudge against Adarlan. Chaol and Yrene must work on emotional wounds as well as physical—readers who stick around till the end of this long tome will find a subversion of the typical fantasy disability narrative. Meanwhile, romances bloom, and the Valg threat looms closer, leading to major revelations.
A compelling story of hard-fought growth and redemption, with yet more to come in at least one more future volume. (Fantasy. 14-adult)