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Literature / The Storm Of M

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The Storm of M is an Urban Fantasy novel by Stevie Barry. Itís the second novel in The M Universe
Batten down the hatches

Six years after the fever, magic still spreads like wildfire. The Gifted have won tentative peace through sheer force of numbers, as more and more people wake up Gifted with each passing day.

The survivors of the Institute have settled down into communities of their own, with their families of bloody and choice. Most of them have retreated from the outside world, living either on a remote mountain in the North Cascades, or within the DMA.

Naturally, that canít last. Doctor von Rached is out for revenge, and along the way manages to release a creature even more dangerous than himself. A thousand years ago it almost drove magic almost to extinction, and in the end was only barely contained by luck and the few Gifted who survived.

Now everyoneóGifted and normal, friends and enemies, the living and the deadómust cooperate, or face the end of the world as they know it.

This novel provides examples of:

  • A Storm Is Coming: Duh. They're caused by an excessive use of magic: it discharges it itself in the weather because it has nowhere else to go.
  • Achey Scars: Lorna's shoulder and leg still give her shit even after six years.
  • Addictive Magic: Just how addictive varies by Gift, but one of the first things newly-trained Gifted are taught is how not to use them.
  • All Myths Are True: Well, a lot of them, anyway; so far as anyone in the DMA knows, only vampires have no actual basis in anything. Most have some root in fact, even if the stories themselves got twisted-up in the retelling.
  • Anti-Villain: Von Rached becomes one over the course of the six years between the destruction of the Institute and the beginning of the storms, though he's highly irritated about it. Personal growth was not in his plans, but itís happening whether he likes it or not.
  • Apocalypse How: The Obliteration, Class 1 on the scale (for the Gifted, not the normals.) The plague wiped out just about every single magical creature and most Gifted humans, but didn't affect the non-magical population.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The journals of those dying in the Obliteration.
  • The Atoner: Von Rached, at least where Lorna is concerned. The rest of the shit he did, not so much. Gerald also has shades of this, even though nobody blames him for taking a job in the Institute: he didn't know what he was signing on for, and once he'd gone there, he was as stuck as the inmates.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Von Rached wants to steal his children. Steal them he does, and immediately wishes he hadn't. Likewise Thorvald, who sought immortality, and had great cause to regret it once he did.
  • Big Bad: Thorvald. A mortal Gifted who sought immortality (and regretted finding it), who now seeks to conquer the world (and kill anything in his way).
  • Cane Fu: Lorna is not above hitting people with her walking-stick to get them out of her way.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Katje doesn't actually want to take over the DMA after Miranda dies, but she's the only one both willing and able to, and winds up stuck with the job.
  • Character Death: Von Rached kills Miranda.
  • Child by Rape: The twins, not that they know it. They're the result of Von Rached raping Lorna in the first book.
  • Creepy Twins: Mairead and Jerry can be adorable and unsettling in equal measure. They're cute little children who don't speak aloud, stare, and hardly ever blink. Fitting, given who their real father is.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: What Thorvald does to Aelis. He hacks her freaking heart out.
  • Dark Secret: Lorna has made damn sure almost nobody knows that her twins are the product of rape, because she refuses to tell anyone she was raped at all. Only Ratiri, Geezer, Katje, and Gerald know for certain, though a number of others quietly suspect. They figure that if she doesn't want to talk about it, it's not their place to force the issue.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Katje and Gerald name their baby daughter Miranda.
  • Do Not Like Shoes: Lorna and the twins. Lorna loves feeling the grass and the earth under her feet, and the twins took after her.
  • Elemental Powers: Saoirse's Gift is weather-manipulation; she's had to be trained in its use, so that she doesn't do things like randomly flood the kitchen with a miniature thunderstorm.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Von Rached, much to his annoyance. He canít handle the thought of even really distressing his children which is something of a problem, considering he kidnapped them.
  • Family of Choice: A running theme throughout the book. Family is what you make of it.
  • Fingore: Katje breaks two of Gerald's fingers while she's in labor.
  • Green Thumb: Pat's gift is chloropathy.
  • Handicapped Badass: Lorna is a downplayed example. The gunshot wounds she received in The Curse of M didn't heal properly (two weeks wandering around in the wilderness didn't help), leaving her with a permanent limp and mostly dependent on a walking-stick. The shoulder-wound doesn't really affect her strength, but it hurts like a bastard on cold damp days, or if she's been too active.
  • Has a Type: Julifer really has a thing for tall, assertive blonde women. Unfortunately for her, Miranda is oblivious, and Katje is married.
  • Height Angst: Unlike Lorna, Pat doesn't have this. He's only five foot four, but he doesn't mind it.
  • Hostile Weather: And how. One storm manages to devastate much of North America.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Miranda doesn't actually ignore Julifer's feelings for her, because she's not aware of them to begin with.
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: Saoirse, in a big, big way. Because she has Aspergers, and thus no real verbal filter, nobody bothers her about it.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Thorvald certainly thinks so, which is why he seeks it. When he's granted it, however, it comes with a nasty price. Namely, the fact that he's eternally suffering from the plague that was released by the being who granted him immortality.
  • Marriage Before Romance: More like Relationship Before Romance. Ratiri was pretending to be the twins' father, but he and Lorna didn't get married for over two yearsónot until they were sure what they had was real, and would last.
  • Mind Rape: A staple of Von Rached's, but Lorna also has to perform some on Jameson, who she leaves brain dead, and Thorvald, who made the mistake of trying to Mind Rape her first. She's not happy about it, because it's a serious abuse of telepathy.
  • My God, What Have I Done??: Von Rached meant to kill Miranda, but he didn't count on Lorna being in her head at the time. This puts Lorna in a temporary coma, and nearly kicks him into Villainous BSoD.
  • Mystical Plague: What caused the Obliteration in the first place. It killed off the magical creatures and nearly every Gifted human on the planet.
  • No Social Skills: Saoirse, whose verbal filter borders on nonexistent. Nobodyís quite sure how much of it is the Aspergerís and how much is her just being a Donovan, but everyone just lets her be.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Lorna's half-sister and daughter are both called Mairead. Sister-Mairead's husband and youngest son are both called Kevin. Jerry is also named after Gerald.
  • Parental Abandonment: Pat's ex abandoned him and Saoirse when the girl was two. Unusually for the trope, Pat doesn't blame her: she had an untreated mental illness.
  • Pocket Dimension: Von Rached found one after the fall of the Institute, which is why the DMA has never been able to find him.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Lorna's half-sister Mairead. Their mother was a teen mom when she had Mairead, and in no condition to take care of a baby.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Miranda, Geezer, later Katje. Von Rached is a somewhat interesting case: Ana knows he's a monster, but he treats her well enough, and she knows next to nothing about what goes on in the rest of the compound. She also owes him a very great deal.
  • Revenant Zombie: Aelis and Company, all of whom died of the plague in the Obliteration. Various characters refer to them as zombies, but theyíre more accurately described as revenants.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Thorvald, who got shut away in Void at the end of the plague. Though he gets out of the metaphorical can at the end of the book.
  • Second Love: Ratiri and Lorna, as both their significant others died before the first book.
  • The Silent Bob: Technically, the twins. They don't speak out loud, but they do communicate telepathically.
  • Spanner in the Works: Jameson becomes one for Von Rached, when he refuses to follow instructions and antagonizes the guards. He was supposed to get caught infiltrating the DMA. He wasn't supposed to get mind raped into a coma. As far as the potential repetition of history goes, Ratiri: in the Obliteration, Thorvald and Aelis were equivalent to Von Rached and Lorna, but Ratiri is unique to this time period, and Aelis means to use it.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Jamesonís general attitude. He comes to regret it, albeit briefly.
  • The Stoic: Katje manages to be this in public, when she takes over running the DMA after Miranda's death. In private? Not so much.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Lorna, the twins, her brother, and niece all look disturbingly similar. As Ratiri puts it, the Donovan gene game is a strong one. Utterly averted with Lorna and Pat's half-sister Mairead.
  • There Is No Kill Like Over Kill: Von Rached, although he doesn't do it on purpose. He wants to take out the DMA, but doesnít realize that expending a massive amount of magic will lead to it discharging in the weather.
  • Touch of Death: Ana's Gift, which kills just about instantaneously and has No Off Button. Fortunately it's a rare one.
  • The Unblinking: The twins inherited Von Rachedís seemingly apparent inability to blink more than once every five minutes.
  • Undead Children: Aelis's twins, who are revenants like their mother. They didn't die in the Obliteration, though: Thorvald killed them before he killed Aelis.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Even after six years, Von Rached is still in love with Lorna. He's not happy about it, either, because A.) she's totally out-of-reach, B.) she justifiably hates him, and C.) he still considers emotion to be weakness. And yet he can't kill it.
  • Walking Wasteland: Ana again, until Von Rached teaches her how to switch it off at will.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Gerald has a mild case of this. In the kind of situations they often find themselves in, empathy isn't a great deal of use, and the side-effects for him completely suck. Nevertheless, he sticks with his job.
  • World Tree: Where Thorvald finds the being that granted him his double-edged immortality.
  • Would Hurt a Child: A large, immediate difference between Thorvald and Von Rached. One of the latter's very few standards is not harming children.