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Literature / Hope and Red

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Hope and Red is the first book in the fantasy trilogy The Empire of Storms by Jon Skovron. The second book, Bane and Shadow, was released in February 2017.

From childhood, Bleak Hope trains as a Vinchen warrior, learning to be still and patient when necessary, pursue vengeance with honor, and wield a legendary sword to devastating effect. Her sole purpose is to avenge her village, which was massacred by the emperor's biomancers: magician-scientists who can change nature at will.

Red, an accomplished thief and the son of a celebrated artist, thrives in the criminal underworld of New Laven. He hasn't given much thought to the world outside his neighborhood of Paradise Circle, but the biomancers have turned their thoughts to his neighborhood. Now his home and everyone in it is in danger, and a woman named Bleak Hope has just come into town.


This work contains examples of:

  • Amputation Stops Spread: Hope with her own hand when the biomancer that killed her family touches it, and starts decaying, in order to prevent it for spreading through all her body.
  • Badass Creed: The Vinchen code qualifies.
    "Vengeance is one of the most sacred duties of a warrior. It may be swift or slow, but it must be done with honor."
  • Badass Longcoat: Red thinks his longcoat is one of these: "deer leather, finely tanned, and soft as velvet." Nettles disagrees.
  • Better as Friends: Red and Nettles eventually decide this.
  • Bury Your Gays: Finner is the only named gay person and is found to have been mutilated and dead in book two. Bonus mentioning that he was clearly tortured before his death and one of his wounds was leaking semen.
  • Celibate Hero: Vinchen warriors swear a vow of chastity. Hope has avoided romance so far, but hasn't actually taken the oath yet.
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  • Cool Sword: Hope's sword, the Song of Sorrows. The humming sound the blade makes when it moves through the air is said to be the loss it feels at every death.
  • The Determinator: Bleak Hope will avenge her village, no matter what it costs her.
  • Disposable Vagrant: How the biomancers view the population of Paradise Circle.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Most of the sailors Hope encounters believe that having a maiden on board is bad luck.
  • Dressed to Plunder: Sadie the Pirate Queen knows that dressing the part is important.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Red's birth name is Rixidenteron. He normally hides this.
  • Fantastic Drug: Coral spice. Red's mother was an addict, which is why his irises are red.
  • Indy Ploy: Red operates this way more often than might be strictly optimal.
    Hope: You do have some kind of plan, right?
    Red: Pfft, plans are for amateurs.
    Hope: Actually, I'm fairly certain they're the mark of a professional.
  • Knight Templar: The biomancers believe that their atrocities are justified because they're serving the Empire.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The author has described this series as his "swashbuckling kung fu gangster pirate romance trilogy."
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Most people in Paradise Circle choose a nickname (or have it chosen for them), and that's the name that "sticks."
  • Shipper on Deck: Sadie and Old Yammy both notice Hope and Red's chemistry before they do.
  • Take Me Instead: Red for Hope and Brigga Lin to the council of biomancers.
  • Tranquil Fury: Red's reaction when he learns that Deadface Drem has allied with the biomancers.
    Red: If you can prove to me that Drem has sold out all of Paradise Circle to the biomancers, I promise you, I will raise an army in the Circle to match yours. Together we will knock down Drem's door. And biomancers or no, I will kill that traitor myself.
  • Transformation Horror: Brigga Lin's transformation into a woman is gruesome, but ends up working out.
  • Vice City: All the south of New Laven.

Alternative Title(s): The Empire Of Storms