“You are lightning made flesh. Colder than falling snow. Unstoppable as the desert sands riding the wind. You are Stormling, Aurora Pavan. Believe it.”
I bought Roar back in June when it was first released and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. The cover is lovely and it was nice to pick it up, look at it, and put it back down from time to time. I even opened it once and made it through the first chapter before I put it back down again. Why was I hesitant about reading it? The book has been billed as a fantasy romance and, well, romance just isn’t up my alley. Finally, last week I was feeling blue and thought a little romance might be just the pick me up I needed so I reached for this book and settled in on the couch with a steaming cup of tea.
I didn’t really have any expectations when I finally got a serious start reading this book. Do I love fantasy? Sure. Absolutely. But romance and I have a tenuous relationship and we keep a respectful distance from each other for the most part. However, this book got its claws in me.
We begin with the lovely Aurora. She is the only surviving heir in the ruling family in Pavan, a city plagued by terrible storms. There are some people, Stormlings, that possess the ability to control and dissipate these storms that can easily wipe out an entire city. Rumor has it that Aurora is one of the strongest of these Stormlings and will soon be called upon to protect her people. The only problem with that is the fact that Aurora possesses no magic. She and her mother have kept that lack of magic a secret in order to maintain their power in their kingdom.
To continue to hide that lack, and still keep their people safe, Aurora is to be married off to a magically strong prince from another city. His family’s magical heritage is strong and will be able to protect their city from the intensifying storms. But, that family has their own agenda and once Aurora discovers that they are not who they appear to be, she makes some choices that will change everything.
“But those words were my greatest hope when I was young. To find answers for the unanswerable, a path through the impossible.”
She embarks on an adventure with a group that goes out into the wilds to tame and capture these massively destructive storms even though they have no magic of their own. The princess wants to learn how to protect her city without the help of prince she was promised to.
Roar ended up being a wonderful story of adventure, love, and mental and physical strength. Roar (as Aurora becomes known out in the wild) is determined and will not let anything stand in the way of her learning to protect her city.
The magical elements in the story I felt were well developed and there was enough back story to it for those elements to make sense without becoming too heavy. I think we have all read at least one of those books with the dreaded info dump explaining the fantasy aspect that takes you out of the story. In Roar, it was carefully crafted throughout the story and you never got that dumped upon feeling.
Now, I genuinely thought the love story in this book was going to be off putting. It was made obvious early on who the love interest would be and that he is a brooding character who tries to stay out of emotional situations. Not much of a surprise, right? But, again, Carmack’s writing never made the love story the outright focus. So, while there were feelings developing, it was done in a way that kept things interesting. His brooding male thing made me want to kick him in the seat of his pants from time to time but overall I didn’t find the love story cumbersome. It played a part in Roar’s development but it never became the hyper focus of the plot. That is how romance should be done. It should help to further the plot and make sense for the characters involved, in their developing story, not just be a flippant add on.
This paragraph is a bit spoilery if you want to skip it. A complaint I’ve seen people about this book has been regarding the supposed love triangle. Many of the reviews I’ve seen pop up have mentioned it in a negative light. Let me tell you right here, right now, that I never saw the love triangle. Roar has already decided the prince she was engaged to is a manipulative prick and has lost her romantic feelings for him before she meets love interest #2. Sorry, I’ve forgotten his name and I’m not turning on the light to flip around in the book to find it. So, there is no triangle. Aurora, as the princess, has decided that the prince isn’t getting her love before she as Roar, the renegade storm hunter, meets the man she grows to love. That doesn’t sound like a love triangle to me. That sounds like a young woman making her own decisions.
“Perhaps death is all that waits for me across the great waters, but better to know death than to choose fear of the unknown.”
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and plan on reading the sequel, Rage (Stormheart #2), when it comes out.
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