Trust me, the exclamation point was needed in the title line there…!
Before we get into the review, let me just say that prior to reading this book I had not previously read a Cora Carmack novel. She has a few published (and popular) New Adult series and this was her first journey into YA fantasy. I have been excited about this book for months for many reasons… all of the sneak peeks, all of the street team work, the beautiful cover…it made for a perfect storm (see what I did there?) of being exactly what I wanted in a book. And it made me want to read her other works… but at the same time, because I am a die-hard fantasy fan, I wanted to see how her work stood up to my other favorite fantasy novels/series/writers without having experienced her other works.
Please also check out my book of the month page, featuring Roar, for links to all of the prior posts, including excerpts, the book trailer and many other tidbits that I have posted over the spring. Also a new excerpt for the blog tour can be found here as well!
Many, many thanks to the author, Inkslinger PR / Tor Teen for the readers copy of Roar. It was so worth the wait. And now on to the review.
“Challenge a tempest, survive it, and you become its master.” – The Tale of Lord Finneus Wolfram
Cora Carmack’s Roar is churning with intriguing danger and crackling electricity like the storms it seeks to conquer in its pages. The idea of a world so wrought with storms that they must be challenged to be defeated, and that there are humans capable of wielding their power has a great promise for action and magic. And that’s exactly what you get as this journey begins.
Aurora comes from a long line of Stormlings, who reign over lands as royalty and offer protection to its citizens. Rora, however, has no magic of her own and must marry a Stormling Prince from another land in order to preserve her family name. And if her secret, her familial shame of being born without magic is discovered before the marriage, all could be lost. A chance meeting changes Rora’s story, the very possibility for being the princess that her mother and people have always needed her to be. Can she challenge a storm to gain her own power?
“And what you said earlier, about feeling like you were in the wrong life? I’ve felt that too. Felt it right up until the moment I decided to stop trying to run from storms and hunt them instead. I know what it looks like when someone finds the life they were meant to have.”
This world immediately had me tangled into it’s effortless dialogue, beautiful world-building and strained relationships. The storms themselves are mesmerizing in their description, being nearly sentient in their ability to seek out and destroy. Having lived to long in an area that has unpredictable, and at times extreme, weather… I could feel and appreciate the temperament of the different storms meandering through the pages. And all the while, I still felt a greater connection of the tempests with the plot itself. Each incident leads you to dwell on the delicious suspicions that surround their magic and Aurora’s magic-less body. The aptly named Rage season exposes the readers to a gambit of emotions, from anger to despair, playfulness to wanting–it is a non-stop thrilling ride through the cities and wildlands of Caelira as Aurora seeks answers and confidence.
“Sometimes she was Aurora. Confident. Clever. Cultured. Sometimes she was Rora. Afraid. Alone. Ashamed. And more and more, she was Roar–bold, brash, and increasingly baffled by the situation in which she found herself.”
I particularly enjoyed the multiple POV in this book as more and more interesting characters were introduced, including a stunning villain who wields terrible power and yet we have to wonder what their true motivation is… is their ill-will justified in some odd way? And can anyone stop the oncoming destruction? I feel like everyone has a back story in this world, and it is welcome. The more Roar, the better.
I cannot wait to see how the rest of Carmack’s series unfolds! This first book in the left me wanting more and more. Her practiced hand at building romantic tension shined in the later chapters, reminiscent of some other recent popular YA/NA crossovers (but without heading into NA territory). Highly recommended read for those who love fantasy, adventure and romance. Eagerly waiting for the next chapter.
From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack comes her debut young adult fantasy, ROAR! Releasing June 13, 2017, ROAR takes readers on an adventure filled with charismatic characters in an enthralling world sure to keep them turning the pages. Order your copy today!
New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack’s young adult debut: Roar.
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.
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“You taught her?” Cassius asked.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
He surveyed Taven for several long moments. Then Cassius turned to Aurora and their eyes met. Anger clawed up her throat, and she struggled to keep her face blank. Better for him to believe he still had the upper hand.
“You taught her well,” Cassius said without looking away from Aurora, “but I’ll take it from here.”
Over Cassius’s shoulder Tavan met her gaze, eyebrow raised. She nodded; she had kept him away from his soldiers long enough, and she could not avoid the prince forever.
“You are full of surprises, Princess.”
She smiled, ignoring the bile threatening to rise in her throat. “As are you, Price Cassius. As are you.”
He circled behind her, and she felt the weight of his touch against one of the knives still sheathed near her shoulder. His breath fanned over her ear as he asked, “May I?”
Without waiting for an answer, he lifted the blade from her. “Good balanced weight,” he said. “I imagine it flies well.”
“Like a dream.”
His mouth was at her ear again—too close, too warm. “Show me.”
She stepped away like it burned. “I think I’m done for the day.”
“Come now, Aurora.” She flinched at his use of her name. Had he used it yesterday? She could not remember. But now it felt too familiar, far too intimate. “What will it take to get you to show me? How much of my pride shall I bargain away?” His hand touched the small of her back. “Or what shall I offer you in return?”
She spun, and before she realized what she was doing, she had the point of her knife beneath his chin. The courtyard went still around them, but Cassius only smiled wider in response. She was unnerved by the darkness that licked at the edge of her thoughts, of the voice inside whispering to push the knife a little harder, to show him she was not so easy to control. All she knew was that she had let fear rule her for too long, and now it was time she took the reigns.
“Do you trust me?” she asked, and slowly let the knife drift along his jaw.
His eyes narrowed. “Trust…is not one of my skills.”
“If we are to be married, if we are to someday rule, there is nothing so important as your ability to trust me, and I you.” He watched her warily. “You want something from me,” she continued, “but you’ll not get it unless I trust you.” She was talking about far more than knives, and from his long pause he seemed to know it.
“I’ll hand over my trust in this. What would you have me do?”
She led him to the largest target, the one with an outline of a person meant to test the thrower’s ability to hit a body’s weak spots. She pushed against his chest until he thumped back against the target. Then she snatched the knife from his hand and said, “Stay there.”
Cora Carmack’s ROAR – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
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BookWorm221 – Review & Excerpt
Milky Way of Books – Review & Excerpt
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Taylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Review & Excerpt
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Books, Dreams, Life – Excerpt
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Adventures in Writing – Excerpt
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Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
NovelKnight – Review
The Rest Is Still Unwritten – Review
What Is That Book About – Excerpt
Books Books Books – Review & Excerpt
Bookshelf Adventures – Review
Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions – Excerpt
Feeling Fictional – Review & Excerpt
Grownup Fangirl – Review
The Rest Is Still Unwritten – Excerpt
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My Fangirl Chronicles – Review & Excerpt
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Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Review & Excerpt
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PBC – Excerpt
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MrsLeif’s Two Fangs About It Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Reads & Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Swoony Boys Podcast – Review & Excerpt
Take Me Away To A Great Read – Review & Excerpt
Whatever You Can Still Betray – Excerpt
Beneath The Covers Blog – Review & Excerpt
Chapter Break – Review & Excerpt
I’m A Book Shark – Excerpt
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review & Excerpt
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Under the Covers Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt
G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt
Little Red’s Reviews – Excerpt
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About Cora Carmack:
Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Since she was a teenager, her favorite genre to read has been fantasy, and now she’s thrilled to bring her usual compelling characters and swoon-worthy romance into worlds of magic and intrigue with her debut YA fantasy, Roar. Her previous adult romance titles include the Losing It, Rusk University, and Muse series. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website www.coracarmack.com.