ROAR (STORMHEART SERIES, #1)
BY: Cora Carmack
RELEASE DATE: June 13th 2017 by Tor Teen
ACQUIRED BY: ARC copy by Cora Carmack given at Apollycon Convention
GENRES: Young Adult / YA • High Fantasy • Paranormal • Romance • Action • Suspense • Courts & Crowns
RATING: 5 STARS
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.
I needed a defibrillator because my heart stopped while reading this book. Captivating. Alluring. Layered. Dynamic. Polished. Cora pulled out all the stops to deliver a masterful high fantasy novel. Her world she built enveloped me with its depth and richness. Cora wrapped the reader up in her highly developed mythology, characters and storyline. The novel was so moving that my heart was pulled frommy chest and now rests within her mighty pen. I must say, I had a small panic attack knowing that I was reading an ARC, which meant it would be THAT MUCH LONGER till I had resolution with book two's release.
I've always loved Cora's books. This was a vivid departure from her normal writing style but it was brilliant. You know that I find it rare for an author to have a solid range.... first to third person, contemporary to fantasy. Cora has become a standard of all around perfection for all authors to aspire to. Third person has never been the most personal point of view in my opinion, but Cora sucked me into the characters just like with her first person writing skills.
The writing was so polished, so tight. Cora's air tight (haha... get that..) mythology was bewitching. She really held the right balance of information and disseminating that throughout the book. Cora never gave away too much or too little. Her world building was on point. Some authors leave you wondering with questions about the kind of era or type of dress, but Cora filled in all the blanks, but still gave the reader room to imagine.
Aurora (Rora/Roar) was a fabulous Main Character. I love that she had faults and fears that reflected in her actions and interactions. Rora was real, tangible and organic. As you all know, my number one criteria in reviewing a book is character development. ( I sound like I'm beating a dead horse about that...) Roar had it in SPADES. It felt like watching plants spring and open up in those fast forward videos you see. It was that visceral.
As a weather geek, I loved the idea of being able to control storms, to use magic to do so is the icing on the cake. The idea of carrying the heart of the storm around in your pocket, or jewelry... brilliant. However, Cora adds even more dimension to the idea that will shock and delight the reader.
Romance writing has always been a balancing act. Many lean too much one way or the other and end up face planting. Cora's books have always been perfectly centered. Roar is no exception. The relationship is organic and tangible. Not to mention as delectable as chocolate fudge cake and as hot as my homemade chili. (Hubby likes spicy food best when they make him sweat... masochist...)
I loved getting to know Aurora. She was like a sweet onion.... you kept peeling back layer after layer. Better yet... she was like Baklava. Sweet, yet had some bite... yet fragile at the same time. Aurora encapsulated everything you'd want in a heroine. She was not perfect, yet she had a core strength that was uncovered throughout the book.
I can imagine the struggles she went through, covering up what she thought was a defect. Hiding because people wouldn't have accepted her for who she was, not who they wanted her to be. This book is truly a journey in many ways for her. Aurora learns much about herself and grows into her own skin. It was an amazing journey and one you will DEFINITELY want to take with her.
I can't stress enough how much I loved this book. Absolute perfection wrapped up in a GORGEOUS cover. A must read.