Reviews

Roar – Cora Carmack

roar-by-cora-carmack

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.

I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4 Stars

Today, I am starting my review with an apology. I need to apologize to Cora Carmack for ever believing that Roar would be anything short of amazing.

I have been a fan of Cora Carmack’s for years. Her New Adult Romance series has been a great source of comfort and enjoyment. The entire series so far has been light, sweet, and charming. When I heard that she would be writing a YA Fantasy book, I was thrilled – YA Fantasy is my favorite genre. But I’ll also be brutally honest (would you read my reviews if I was anything but?), I didn’t know how successful the book would be. Writing a Fantasy novel presents a whole new set of challenges, challenges that I desperately hoped she could take on, but secretly worried she couldn’t. I can’t tell you how elated I am that Carmack proved me wrong. 

Now, I know they say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but COME ON! Look at that cover! It is beyond stunning. Before even starting Roar, the cover gave me a visual of what to expect from Aurora. It was nice to have that image of her going into the novel. 

The premise of the book is definitely a new one – in a land where storms have hearts and the ability to destroy, Aurora, next in line for the throne, struggles to plan her future knowing she has no magic to offer her people. When her mom arranges a marriage between her and Cassius, a neighboring kingdom’s prince, Aurora runs away to escape her betrothal and joins a group of storm hunters in the hope that they can help her find a way to wield magic and protect her people.

Aurora as a main character was a contradiction. At the start of the book she was naive as a result of her sheltered lifestyle. However as the book progressed, she was fierce, timid, argumentative, and even docile. These contradictions really added depth to her character and made her a more relatable lead. She, like all young adults, was struggling to find herself in the midst of all of these life changes. And fortunately, though she didn’t shed her naive behavior entirely, she was certainly a more aware person by the end of the book.

A few early reviews I’ve read have pegged Locke, the male lead as overly-controlling. I’m honestly not sure what book they were reading because I didn’t find him to be too controlling at all. His relationship with Aurora actually reminded me of the dynamic between Rose and Dimitri in the Vampire Academy series. As the person tasked with instructing Aurora, Locke had to be stern and set rules. It’s what is expected of a teacher. Sure, he was protective, but I didn’t find him to be overly protective as some reviewers did.

The only part of the book that frustrated me was the end. There was a lot of build up to what I had hoped would be a pretty epic show-down, and then the book just ended. I’m used to cliff-hangers, the genre is definitely full of them, but there is usually some sort of battle at the end of the book BEFORE the cliffhanger.

My TakeawayThough I had doubts, I have to admit, Roar is easily Cora Carmack’s best work to date. The ending wasn’t my favorite, but I did really enjoy the romance, action and overall premise. I can’t wait for Stormheart 2!

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