Hello everyone! I hope the weekend was good to you 😉
So this one comes a bit late (I did read it about a week ago) but I still managed to post it on schedule so I’m super happy XD
I hope you guys like it ❤
This review is completely spoiler-free.
- Title: Roar (Stormheart #1)
- Author: Cora Carmack
- Publisher: Tor Teen
- Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
- Page Count: 380
Storms have both people and rulers cowering at their feet. They destroy everything in their wake and can only be controlled by Stormling families, gifted in storm magic and devoted to the protection of their kingdom. Sadly, heir Aurora Pavan has yet to show her own gifts and that puts her kingdom in jeopardy. Her only choice is to marry prince Cassius Locke… Or is it?
I wanted this book so bad from the moment I first lay eyes on it. It was love at first sight: the cover, the synopsis… I wanted it right there and then! So, of course, I devoured it as soon as I got my hands on it.
The world building. The magic system. It was amazingly cool and so well thought-out. There was even a certain lingo going on that was all kinds of cute.
The slow but sure emotional development of the heroine. Aurora starts insecure and sheltered (and, some might even say, stupid and annoying) but when she is basically thrown to the wolves to fend for herself, she reveals to have this inner strength and resolve that automatically gained my respect and made me change my mind about her. She started standing up for herself and fighting back, even when it felt hopeless. To say she messes up royally is an overstatement, but it felt real. It felt like someone who’s made of flesh and bone, has feelings and aspirations, and wants to survive and find happiness. It’s refreshing to get a character who goes through phases and shows some actual growth.
The various POVs. I always love to get different perspectives, especially when it comes to fantasy settings. I just think it explains so much better what’s going on and gives you a break from being inside a single character’s mind (which, let’s face it, can get tiring pretty fast). They were all quite distinctive and allowed me to slowly piece everything together.
We get tons of love for the side characters. Really, I was expecting this book to be all about Aurora and her journey and the romance and whatnot, but the author really made sure to make the side characters relevant and intriguing. I always wanted to find out more about them and loved how much interaction there was between them and Aurora. It never felt like they were simply there to fill a role; they had voices of their own, mysterious pasts, desires and fears. True, they could have been developed even more but it was still pretty darn satisfying.
The plot twists. Man, this book had a lot of them. And I’m not just talking about massive ones but also tiny ones that seemed just as powerful in turning things around and shaping your outlook on certain aspects of the story. Thought you had it all figured out? Well, not so fast!
There are tons of action and adventure to keep the reader entertained and interested. It was just one of the best parts of the book and one I got so excited about it’s ridiculous. I’m so glad it was such a big one, too. There are many moments of rest, as well, but those were never boring to me. They either allowed me to bond with the characters (especially the side characters) or figure something out about the plot. Overall, I think it was a healthy balance.
The political intrigue. It was there and it was not forgotten, although it was easy to forget about it when it was taking place far away from the main action. The twists and turns were, for the most part, unexpected and quite clever, bringing a new flavor to an otherwise simplistic storyline.
The romance, while it felt super weird in the beginning, eventually won me over and made me all gooey inside. It was just really adorable! But more on it in “The Bitter” section.
The writing was definitely not great, especially in the beginning where we get a bit of an info dump (and the worst scenes in the entire book). Also, it felt like very immature writing at times. So, if you feel discouraged, definitely keep reading because it gets better.
The instalove and love triangle (sort of). Yes, they exist in this book. Yes, it was a bit annoying. I just can’t do the whole “she looked at him, he looked at her, sparks flew, hearts soared” thing (not an actual quote from the book). And I certainly don’t want three pages dedicated to it, even though it’s actually bit more complex than that. I just want to get on with the story.
The overly done physical descriptions. You know those books where we are given an enormous amount of physical detail about the characters (especially those we KNOW will be love interests)? Yeah, this book has that, too. Which drove me crazy. I like to be kept in the dark when it comes to characters’ descriptions, so I can form an image in my mind. But even so, I don’t mind when those descriptions are provided, so long as they’re not exhaustive and sound like they come from a really bad romance novel. I can take hair, eyes and overall physique. But I don’t exactly require a muscle/tendon study. Just, ugh.
Plus, I know I have bad memory, but I can definitely remember what a character looks like from reading it once. I don’t need to have it shoved down my throat five more times in the span of the story, for no reason at all.
There’s also two (kind of) problematic relationships in this. One is definitely abusive (both physically and emotionally) and manipulative. I wanted to rip his eyes out and shake her for letting him treat her that way, no matter how much access I had to his POV. But I quite adored the other one and how the relationship developed overtime. True, it felt super weird in the beginning. I just didn’t know why exactly, but there was just something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It felt a bit exhausting and suffocating, to be honest. Not on purpose or in a vile way, though. Just unintentionally.
I think a certain detail was able to justify his perhaps sometimes excessive (although not abusive) behavior and I could understand it. Just like I could understand the other character’s own behavior, as well. Even though – and let me stress this – abuse is NEVER justifiable. Also, it’s not like she accepted everything that was thrown her way without putting her foot down and stating her conditions (sometimes successfully, sometimes not). She didn’t, and she was definitely not a victim in my book.
If you’re interested in knowing the details (and spoilers), please head over to my bud Frankie Lovely’s essay. She explains it so much better than I ever could (even if I don’t agree 100% with everything in it). And while you’re at it, give the girl a follow because she’s awesome! 🙂
I loved Roar, despite its many issues. I pretty much devoured it and couldn’t wait to get back to it every chance I got. The beginning was definitely weak and almost made me put the book down. It was truly awful. But you know me, I don’t DNF that easily, so I just kept going. Which ended up being a great decision!
There is a lot going on in Roar: great (main and side) character development, an amazing magic system, great world building, plot twists, political intrigue, action scenes and tons of stuff to keep the reader engrossed throughout. There are drier spells, of course, but I very much enjoyed those as I thought they always added something relevant to the plot and helped me bond with the characters.
The romance might definitely not appeal to everyone. In the end, I thought it was quite sweet and adorable (although not without faults) but I know many will not feel the same way. There is also instalove and hints of a love triangle, so beware.
Bottom line: Roar is one of those books I know are not perfect but don’t really care. I’m not even sorry.
I definitely recommend it to fans of YA fantasy and fellow storm chasers!
Story & Plot:
Writing & Style:
Thank you so much for reading and until next time!