Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

(Stormheart #1)
Cora Carmack
Release: June 13, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
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.

Roar was one of my most anticipated books of the year so I was really excited when my hold came in at the library. And the things I thought I would like about it did not disappoint. I love the storm magic, though it went in a direction I did not expect. I liked the fact that the author explained the history of the magic and the evolution of people's beliefs. And I was shipping Roar and Locke almost right from the beginning.

But I had some major issues with the story. First of all there's no real villain. Aurora believes she was betrayed by the prince but she doesn't really have enough evidence to support that claim. And because we see his point of view as well, we know he's trying to do the right thing in a bad situation. And there's the Stormlord, who isn't introduced until more than halfway through the book. He's certainly a villain to some people, but not in Aurora's story.

Then again, maybe Aurora is really the villain. When she runs away with the storm hunters, everything goes wrong for her friends, her mother, and her people. But she's not aware of any of that. The fact that she didn't anticipate or care about any of the problems she caused, especially when you consider that it all goes back to her assumptions about the prince, makes her much harder to like.

I think in the end, the problem is that the book tries to do too much. I would have been happy to focus on Aurora discovering her magic and developing her relationship with Locke in book one and dealing with the events in Pavan in book two. If Aurora's friend Nova's point of view had been saved for later (so that the readers discovered what went wrong at the same time as Aurora did) I think that would have been more effective. Including some of that here not only makes Aurora less likable, it means that Roar doesn't stand alone well.


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