Roar (Stormheart #1)
By: Cora Carmack
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
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.
Good god, I loved this book.
The magic is unique and original (if maybe a little confusing) and Aurora is a delight (as are many of the other characters). We are exposed to multiple points of view that give depth to the characters, both good and bad, and allow the reader to keep tabs on what is happening not only in the castle in Pavan, but also in the wider world of Caelira.
While Aurora spends most of the book gaining confidence and coming to terms with her lack of power, the people she is surrounded with are just as equally fleshed out and dynamic. Locke grows on you, from the prickly man you first meet to a love interest you can support. The reader gets a chance to learn the other stormchasers stories, and while we delve into their pasts we are kept up to date on Aurora’s allies, and enemies, who remained in the castle.
And Cassius, you right possessive bastard. He, like all children, wants his parents approval, and to be the favorite. However, this is combined with the unfortunate trait of his that he will use anyone to get what he wants. He is introduced as a love interest for Aurora, and she is willing to see him that way and make her arranged marriage work. However, she quickly learns his duplicitous nature and works to undermine him.
I have very few complaints when it comes to Roar. Mainly, exactly how the magic system works, how much of what is believed about it is made up in favor of those in power, and my confusion over why I don’t have the sequel in my sweaty fangirl hands yet. Complaints aside, this is a compulsively readable and addictive book that wraps up nicely, but with enough secrets and tension to make me want the sequel yesterday.
Aurora’s muscles twitched involuntarily as she stood outside the throne room, as if her body might decide to run without her mind’s consent. Two of her guard, Taven and Merrin, waited a few steps behind her. They followed her inside, and an eerie silence took hold after the heavy doors closed.
Moments later Cassius Locke melted out of the shadows, looking more like a villain than a prince—dressed all in black with dark hair and eyes to match. At twenty, he was a mere two years older than she. But the prince before her seemed bigger, older…much more a man than she had expected. He reminded her of those thunderstorms that stalled on the horizon—growing bigger and darker as they churned in on themselves.
Their gazes met, and she held his stare, shoulders square and back. Sweat dripped down her spine beneath the elaborate costume, and a headache knocked at her temples from the weight of the headdress, but she did not let it show. His eyes dropped, perusing her form. Rora’s heart thumped a little faster. The longer he looked at her, the more uncomfortable she became. And she hated herself for it. For letting him get to her.
If her mother had taught her anything, it was that no one could make you feel small unless you allowed it. So she took a deep breath and let herself believe she was the fierce and powerful girl everyone thought she was. And she stared right back.
Maybe Rora didn’t have magic, but Cassius didn’t know that. She had spent her whole life preparing to be queen, and she’d be damned if she spared an instant of worry for what he thought of her. She evaluated him in return and spitefully hoped it made him uncomfortable. Starting with his neatly combed midnight hair, she assessed his looks—strong brows, straight nose, pointed chin. His face was almost too symmetrical, as if crafted by an architect. Rora frowned and swept her gaze down to his broad chest and large shoulders.
Instead of making him uncomfortable, she began to feel uneasy with her perusal. He was too attractive. Far more handsome than any of the local young men she might have chosen. But that beauty was tempered by an air of brutality—a hardness in his eyes and the precise, sharp movements of a man who was deadly and wanted everyone to know it.
He stood a handspan taller than she, a rarity for Rora’s tall form. When she finally looked back at his face, he was quirking an eyebrow, one corner of his mouth lifted in a smirk.
“Don’t stop on my account. Please, look your fill. See what you’re getting, Princess.”
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.
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