Series: Stormheart #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release date: June 13th 2017
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.
“You are lightning made flesh.”
Roar is a cute YA Fantasy novel, with an intriguing premise and one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen! Told in multiple POVs, the story has a steady pace, cool world-building, and a good set of characters. There are lot of twists and some action, but despite its fantasy setting, the focus of the novel really is the romance.
Cora Carmack is a new author to me, but I can see why a lot of people like her work. In this book, her first YA Fantasy ever, her writing is engaging, the plot well-thought out and developed. In her own review of the book on Goodreads, she says her goal was to write a unique fantasy world with a compelling romance. To me, she succeeded only at the first part.
Okay, first things first. The premise for this story is super cool! The world-building in Roar is definitely what makes the novel. The concept of magical storms and stormhearts that hold magic is something I’ve never ever seen before, and I totally fell in love with it. It’s super interesting to read about them and learn how storm-hunting works, and Carmack really knows how to develop that aspect of the story.
The pace is steady and makes this a very fast read if you have an afternoon free. The world-building totally hooks you in and keeps things interesting as the plot progresses, especially with the way it holds the story together. But aside from that, the rest of the book kind of fell flat to me most of the time.
Roar is told in multiple POVs, as mentioned above. We have Roar’s POV as our protagonist, plus another three or four characters chiming in. I don’t know if this is a problem exclusively in the ARCs, but the shifts in POV happen from one paragraph to another, without any indication at all. It is abrupt and extremely confusing to follow, and it messes up the flow of the story.
In regard to characters, well… Roar is really reckless and privileged, which can be a bit hard to take at the beginning. But as she develops, she becomes rather self-aware and willing to own up to her mistakes. The other two important characters, the male love interests, are harder to like, as they’re controlling and domineering. For the rest of the side characters, they are fun to read about, but don’t get as much development as the other three.
Now, the big problem I had with this book: the instalove. It happens not only once, but twice. It smacks you in the face in the first two chapters, and then shows up again a little further along. I’m hesitant to call this a love triangle, but Roar very much has two love interests. Her connection with both guys happens pretty much instantly, making it for pretty unbelievable relationships. And since the focus of the book, for the most part, is the romance? It’s just hard to care about what’s going on.
Overall, Roar is a good and fun read for its world-building. Cora Carmack delivers a fantasy story that is unique and engrossing. YA Fantasy fans, especially those who like romance-focused stories, will definitely have a great time reading this!