Book Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

Roar is the first book in the Stormheart series by Cora Carmack. It’s a young adult fantasy  romance.  The second book, Rage, is due to release on 8/27/2019. I found out about this book from some of my bookish friends Fiction No Chaser, Laughing Listener, Reader Voracious, and Read By Dev in one of our group chats and they convinced me I had to give it a read. I have a lot of trust in these ladies’ recommendations and ability to completely destroy my TBR.

29939048In 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 was hesitant at first about the premise of this book – the bad guys are STORMS. The magic system is a little bit confusing and vague at first so you kind of have to figure it out as you go along but the main character is also learning a lot as the story progresses so you’re on the journey together. I was surprised at how well the premise actually worked, Carmack was able to pull it off in a way that was believable, interesting and exciting, and not cheesy.  It starts off really simple, that Stormlings have magic and use that to fight off the magic sentient storms and then really develops into learning about the different types of storms and that things aren’t as simple as just magical Stormlings vs. everyone else.

The main character Aurora/Rora/Roar is very likable.  The downfall of so many young adult fantasy books are that the main character is whiney and hard to like.  Aurora is a princess but she does not act haughty and I love that she actually acknowledges to herself and others that she needs and wants to learn from others’ experience and expertise.  Instead of acting like a know-it-all or pretending she does to save face, she’s like “teach me everything!!” which is really refreshing.  Also you gotta respect a runaway bride; she’s willing to leave everything she knows behind to get what she wants AND for the longterm good of her kingdom.

At first it seems like a love triangle is being set up but this didn’t actually come to fruition in the story (yet??). There was also the sense of insta love starting with both love interests but I was glad that this also didn’t go the way I was thinking. Cassius is painted a bad guy and while he’s definitely shady and untrustworthy I thinkkk he’s not actually as bad we’re meant to think or as Aurora thinks. Locke is pretty great all around and he wears leather pants and unbuttoned linen shirts flowing in the wind, which is my ideal male uniform. Cassius is sexy, charming, and intimidating (and possibly evil??). Locke is also sexy, prickly, fun, and flirty and gives some very swoony speeches; he could be heading towards book boyfriend status!

The secondary characters are really great too, I loved her palace friend Nova and I can’t wait to see more of her. She seems like a force to be reckoned with in spite of her struggle with anxiety and has so much fierce potential for the next book. I hope she lights a certain prince on fire.

The storm hunters are a fun group and have banded together to create their own little family. I’m a sucker for this kind of ensemble and I hope we’ll get even more action and development from them in the next book. I loved the secret magic black market and I’d love to get more of this setting.  Roar is still getting to know this group even at the end of book one and she hasn’t been completely honest with them so I anticipate some drama between them all in the next book but I hope it’s not drug out.

The beginning of the book didn’t have me convinced right away but this really was a great story with a lot of fun and a very original premise. The world building is really interesting and we’re given a sneak peak into a mysterious big bad. I actually felt like I could have used more to the story and even higher stakes, confrontation, and world building but I realize that it is a series so we’ll see how book two develops the rest of it and in general it’s a good thing when a book leaves me wanting more. We’re left with that sense that a storm is coming, it’s brewing on the horizon but we don’t yet know how hard it’s going hit.

Recommend to fans of young adult fantasy, romance, stormy adventures, and a MC that doesn’t make you want to scream at her the whole time.

4 stars!


Have you read this book??
If so, what’d you think and are you looking forward to book 2?
And most importantly  – what’s your storm affinity??
I think mine would be Twister! 

 

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