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Book Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Stormheart #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: 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: Roar was a really good read with surprise turns and tense, action-packed scenes.

What’s cool about the world of Roar is that storms are sentient no matter the type of storm forms. On top of normal behaviors, these storms have a fantastical element to them (stormhearts) that can be extracted by storm magic (if the storm doesn’t kill the user first). It’s a next-level idea of humans vs nature.

Weather and magic is a polarizing and essential part of Roar. The magic given to humans is hereditary to Stormlings like Aurora’s (aka Rora) family. Both influence how people live and die, who has power and who doesn’t. So this creates an interesting predicament for someone like Rora – the new heir to Caelira’s throne who has had to hide for years her lack of magic that runs in her ancestry.

I like Rora’s character a lot. For a long time, she’s never felt good enough. She has worked tirelessly to excel in all other aspects of life to be enough. So I wasn’t too surprised when she ran away given the temptation of possibly acquiring the magic needed to protect the people of her kingdom. But goodness! does this choice have severe (to be fair, indirect) consequences.

Given that it’s not just storms threatening everyone – a mysterious figure known as the Stormlord slowly but destructively seeking revenge – perhaps Roar – bright, stubborn, capable Roar (her alias) – will be able to do what Rora couldn’t. Roar may still be naive of what life is really like for every-day people, but I love that she strongly takes that into consideration and considers what she can do to better people’s lives. I also like that she’s not afraid of hard work and doing what needs to be done despite difficulties and inexperience.

I was slightly worried about a possible awkward love triangle but right now I don’t think that will be the case (could change, though). I’m very invested in Roar and Locke’s growing relationship. It’s as chaotic as storms yet super sweet. I hope they end up together in the end.

This was a great start to a series. There was the right amount of character growth and conflict. I like the motley crew Roar spends most of the story with. I’m curious about where Cassius’s (her betrothed) and Nova (a servant and former friend of Rora’s) story-lines will lead next because those just stopped kind of/usually abruptly. By the end of book 1, I felt fully settled into the world Carmack had created. I’m eager to see what comes next in book 2, Rage.

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