From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack comes her debut young adult fantasy, ROAR! Now available, ROAR takes readers on an adventure filled with charismatic characters in an enthralling world sure to keep them turning the pages. Grab your copy today!
About ROAR (Stormheart #1):
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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*ARC received in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are my own and in no way biased.*
Roar, is the story about Aurora “Rora” / “Roar” Pavan who is set to take the throne from her mother, but is not exactly qualified to do so. For generations, the Pavans have been Stormlings, protecting their city from storms with their magic and then reaping it. But, Rora doesn’t have that magic. And no one but her mother and her know about it. Not even her betrothed. It’s a well kept secret and Rora’s life revolved around keeping it. But, then, she meets a group of Storm Hunters who weren’t born with magic, like Aurora, but know how to gain it still. So, of course, she accompanies them on various quests to attain magic of her own,
What I absolutely love about this story is the world building and the fantasy and magic that surrounds it. It is absolutely fascinating and completely incredible. I love how all the elements have significance and the way that Carmack has written the world is tasteful and intriguing. It is this world building that has prevented me from giving the story a 2 star rating because it just that good. It is so well thought out and just generally so amazing. I love everything about it.
And then, there’s the plot. The plot is so intriguing and layered. Twists and turns at every unexpected moment had me hooked into this story and I couldn’t put it down even if I wanted to. It was amazing to read as the plot unfolded, as it grew and so many new things came to light. Amazingly written.
The main issue that I have in this story is the characters and the romance. Rora, though fierce and independent, comes off as whiny in many parts. And then, there’s the habit of loosing her breath over any man who provides her with an ounce of attention. I don’t like that about her at all. I mean, I get that she hasn’t had much of human interaction in the eighteen years of her life, but she is so naive. She trusts any man who says something nice about her. That is not the way a princess should behave, especially when she is about to take the crown. And, then, she didn’t tell her mother when she ran off with the Storm Hunters in search of magic. Her mother was so desperate for a miracle, she would have agreed to let Rora go without any objections, but Rora still didn’t tell her about it, leaving behind, a palace in uproar over their missing princess. That is just plain stupid.
Then, there’s Locke. When he meets Rora, he insists that she reminds him of his sister who he lost when he was young. But, then, he ends up falling for her. What is with that? I mean, either she reminds you strongly of your sister or you have romantic feelings for her. Their whole first encounter, Locke was comparing Rora to his sister once in every few minutes and then he ends up falling for her, which I don’t like. And, then, he’s this domineering, overpowering, overprotective guy who thinks that Rora needs to be protected from everything and then he basically starts controlling her life. Rora even matches her own self worth with what he might think of her which is so wrong on so many levels.
So, yeah, the characters and romance were very off putting for me, but the plot and world building are amazingly well thought out. So, there’s that. It was kind of disappointing, especially because the blurb was so good and I had been anticipating this one for a few months now. However, it is a decent read if you overlook the character flaws so, I would recommend it if you’re a fantasy fan, basically for the sheer genius in world building.
“This life is not glamorous,” Duke told her. “We travel constantly. We sleep on the ground most nights. When we’re not in danger from storms, we’re in danger in cities where we are considered criminals. This life is not for the faint of heart.”
“There are things I do not know, things I will have to learn. But I am capable. I am familiar with sacrifice. I know what it is to make hard choices.”
“Tell me you’re not considering this,” Locke said to Duke.
The old man was silent for a long moment, both Locke and Roar looking to him for support. Duke rubbed at his mustache, a habit of his when he was thinking deeply. “Let’s think about this, Locke. She’s smart. And determined.”
“She’s a child.”
Roar’s shoulders hunched in Locke’s peripheral vision, and he swallowed back the guilt. He could apologize later. For now, it was imperative that he won this argument.
“You were a child when I brought you into the fold,” Duke said. “She’s a young woman with a good head on her shoulders. And if this is what she wants, I’m inclined to at least hear her out.”
Just like that, Roar’s shoulders straightened, and Locke turned to watch a devastating smile bloom across her mouth. His weakness when it came to her only made him more cross.
“What skills do you have?” he snapped at Roar.
“Yes, skills. What can you do? Or do you just plan to tag along for the ride?”
A flush spread over her cheeks, and her voice was tentative when she answered, “I’m good on a horse. Very good.”
Where in the world would she have learned to ride? He quickly hardened his expression. “Horses are fine for travel, but they don’t do well in storms. They, unlike you, have good survival instincts.”
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Locke could have sworn he felt an updraft—the first sign that bad weather could occur—and he knew that this time he had pushed too far.
Roar marched toward him, spearing a finger into his chest and said, “I can read and write. I can speak Taraanese, Finlaghi, and Odilarian. I can read maps. I know enough about grassland vegetation and wildlife to survive without a market to buy food and drink. I’m good with knives and a bow. I learn quickly, and I’m not afraid of hard work. And I’ve spent my entire life reading as much about storms as I could get my hands on.” For a moment, her voice cracked under the weight of her anger, but she took a huffing breath and continued: “I’m good with numbers. It’s been a while, but I think I can probably still draw the constellations from memory, which should make me decent at navigation. I can—“
“Enough.” Locke’s voice came out in a deep rasp. He captured her long, delicate finger in his fist before she could continue poking him. He felt short of breath at the sight of her—livid and lovely. “Enough.”
The old Locke might have kept arguing, and Roar would have met him toe-to-toe. But if becoming a storm hunter had taught him anything, it was that fighting head-on wasn’t always the way to win. Sometimes strategy was required. He met Duke’s eyes over her shoulder, and if he had thought Roar looked smug before, she had nothing on his mentor. The man raised his eyebrows in a challenge and asked, “You?”
He hated the idea of bringing someone into this dangerous life, but if it was going to happen regardless, he sure as hell wouldn’t hand her safety over to anyone else, not even Ransom. And at the very least, it would give him the opportunity to change her mind. He gritted his teeth and nodded his acceptance.
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.