Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: Roar (Cora Carmack)

Roar (Stormheart, #1)
Title: Roar
Series: Stormheart, Book 1
Author: Cora Carmack
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Told: Third Person Multiple, Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (light sexuality, violence)
Format Read: ARC (BookHype)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

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.

*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Tor Teen!

In a Sentence: An engaging fantasy with an unfortunate love triangle and heavy sensuality but solid writing and unique magic.

I'm not much of a Romance fan, so when I heard Romance author Cora Carmack was foraying into fantasy I was a little wary. The premise was really intriguing though, and when the gorgeous cover released I was excited to give the beauty a try. As anticipated there was some heavy and rather detailed sensuality, but also solid writing, an interesting story, and unique (if a little convoluted) magic that made Roar an engaging read and left me impatiently awaiting the next book.

The Story & Setting: While it admittedly began somewhat coincidental and predictable and a bit of belief had to be suspended, the strong writing and good pacing kept me reading and the story was an exciting journey of magic and discovery. Without a map in the ARC the setting could be a little confusing at times, but for the most part it was a fun world to explore and a good backdrop for the story.

The Magic: Storm magic isn't uncommon in fantasies, so it can be difficult to come up with a unique twist. This book manages it though with stormhearts: physical manifestations of conquered storms that allow the conqueror to conjure the storm at will. But that's not all: siphoned bits of storm a la stormhunters are harnessed into energy, and the mystery behind the storms themselves proves an important part of the story's essence. With all the different categories of storms and the mystery itself the magic could be a little complicated at times, but overall it was different and very interesting.

The Characters & Romances: I found Rora (Aurora? Roar??) a bit hard to get a handle on - one minute she was strong and fierce, the next minute weak and sappy. But since she couldn't seem to get a handle on herself, I guess her personality confusion was simply part of her personality. At the least she made an interesting main character to follow, and I look forward to continuing her story in the next book. I also look forward to the expansion of servant girl Nova, whose personal story was left on a serious cliffhanger long before the book ended causing quite a lot of frustration for me as she was probably my favorite character. The rest of the eclectic hunter team made a merry band with great personalities that relieved some of the tension by adding sparks of humor, and it will be interesting to see what roles they take in the next book.

There are unfortunately two love interests (i.e. love triangle) for Rora in this story, and while I could've accepted one or the other, for two men to immediately and intensely be drawn to and become obsessively protective of the same girl within the first 80 pages was rather more than I could swallow. As for the men themselves, although they came from very different backgrounds, I found them to be similar in regrettable ways. Locke was WAY too overprotective, rough, and instalovey for my tastes, but at least he could be sweet to Rora and was there for her when she needed it. Cassius, the second in the triangle, was similarly protective, possessive, and even rougher, but he really didn't get enough book time for me to form much of an opinion other than that so I (warily) look forward to getting to know him better in the sequel.

The End: Unlike the rest of the well-paced book, the end was a rather rushed for me: a week or two of travel and major character growth was crammed into the last chapter, and it felt like we missed a lot - I wouldn't have minded that one chapter expanded into a whole second book. Then the story cut off not exactly on a cliffhanger but an "End of Part 1" kind of way, making it feel more as if I'm missing half the book than "To be continued." Unbalanced end aside though, I'm definitely interested in continuing the adventures of Rora and the entire cast, and eagerly await the next book.

Conclusion: An engaging read with strong writing and interesting magic that fantasy fans should not miss. Definitely recommend for older teens though who don't mind love triangles and rough, overprotective love interests. Can't wait to get my hands on the sequel!

Re-read?: Definitely

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles

No comments:

Post a Comment