New Release Review! ROAR by Cora Carmack (Stromheart #1)

Synopsis:

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:

I’m having a hard time rating this one, wavering between 3 and 3 1/2 stars. The world created here is interesting, but even after almost 400 pages of it there’s a whole lot I still don’t “get” about the storms, the stormhearts, the various people who fight/tame/control/call/are destroyed by them. Toward the end some things became more clear, but others? Still not. I’ll freely admit, though, that this could at least partially be me.

We see events from 5 different POVs, which felt like a bit much–especially when so many of the POV switches were so sudden. I found myself having to back up and re-read a sentence or two nearly every time, because it wasn’t immediately obvious that we were seeing a new person’s perspective, and that made the reading experience feel a bit choppy. Again, this could be me, but it made reading the book feel like more work than it had to be.

Aurora/Rora/Roar’s not one, but two instances of insta-love (no, it’s not really a love triangle as I’d originally feared, but might be later? Hard to say for sure) felt a bit silly, and so did her feeling of insta-betrayal from one of them (justified? Maybe. Probably. But honestly, the jury’s still out on that one, as far as I’m concerned–I have a feeling there’s more good in him than not…though yes, I could be totally wrong here. Actually, I’m not a huge fan of either of the love interests at this point, so…) I did like how she tried to take things into her own hands, but from the beginning I couldn’t help but feel that there had to be a better way to do it. Given what we learn toward the end, that feeling appears to be justified, so…

Gah. I just don’t know. Honestly right now the two things that are most likely to have me picking up the next book in the series are wanting to see what will happen with Nova (Rora’s childhood friend whose POV we didn’t see nearly enough of) and the fact that things got really interesting at the very end. It’s not a cliffhanger, per se, but it does leave you at a point where you want to find out more. So…we’ll see. A definite…probably.

Maybe?

Rating: 3 stars / C+?

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

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