Thursday, December 21, 2017

Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

(Stormheart #1)
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Hardcover, 380 pages, Tor Teen
Genres: YA, Fantasy

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

My Review

Alright, I have to start with how amazing the overall concept of this book is. I mean, the characters hunt, control, and manipulate storms! And the storms are alive! That’s so weird. In a good way. I bet a lot of people are kicking themselves for not thinking of the idea first.

While I did love this fantastical idea, I wasn’t always sure how the magic system actually functioned. I couldn’t quite understand what the difference was between Aurora’s family’s power and the power the storm hunters gain. Hopefully book two will sort that out though.

As for the characters themselves, Aurora was unique as a fantasy princess. She wasn’t fleeing her family because she didn’t want to marry a prince she’d never met before; instead, she wanted to grow her own power. That was a great concept. It’s one that should be in more YA stories: protagonists trying to find themselves before becoming attached to one love interest.

As for the love triangle that pops up, I have mixed feelings. We’re introduced to the Stormling prince Cassius first, so, naturally, I grew attached to him only for another male character, Locke, to be introduced. And, over time, he grew on me too. Cassius is the brooding prince to a dark kingdom, and Locke is the rebel good guy. I could be swayed either way, honestly. ;)

Despite my love of the magic system and the characters, the ending of this book threw me off. For some reason, the end of the book really just becomes an excuse for characters to make out. It seemed like these make out sessions were taking over entire chapters, and they were eerily similar to the preceding chapters’ smooching scenes. While I love a good romance, that was too much.

Also, the book just ended. There was no real climax or resolution. It just cut off. I assume Rage, the sequel, will fix this, but I’m still unhappy that things were left so unsatisfactory.

All in all, I’m still eagerly waiting to get my hands on book two. I’m also doubly excited to see what actions Aurora takes as her secrets are let loose.

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