Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Roar by Cora Carmack

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.

Pavan and its neighboring countries are mauled by devastating storms day in and day out. A rare few have the magic to be able to contain the storms and steal the heart of the storms, to use to keep their lands safe. Aurora has been isolated for years from everyone outside of the Queen. After the death of her brother, she is the Pavan heir, but she has no powers to protect her country. Her mother devises to a plan and Aurora is betrothed to the second son of the neighboring country, someone who can use his magic to protect Pavan from the horrible storms. At first he is intimidating, but then she learns the truth of his actions. She follows him to a forbidden market and meets a crew of storm hunters who go out and protect the lands as well as trapping magic to be used to help people. She takes on the name Roar and stages her own kidnapping to run away with the hunters and learn about how they control storms. Without storm magic, she feels she can learn from them how to do it to protect her lands. 

But there is much, much more to Roar than meets the eye and when the storms start rolling by, Roar has an intense reaction to them. So a search begins to find out what is special about Roar and why she reacts the way she does. 

I loved this story! I had never heard of this author, and then I saw on a post on facebook from a book review page and thought it sounded good. I was excited when NetGalley posted it and couldn't wait to read it. This is a Young Adult book, but much more for older teens, as it does have some sexual scenes, much as the Throne of Glass series by Sarah Maas. I enjoyed Roar's character, and alternately wanted to smack Locke and hug him. The hunter crew of Duke, Bait, Jinx, Sly, and Ransom were all very interesting characters, though I am not a fan of Sly. I am interested to see where the storyline goes with her.

All in all I thought this was really a fantastic new young adult fantasy book. The cliffhanger, though. Gah!! Authors keep doing this to me!

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts June 2017

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax's floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father's side, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who's been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards' Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana's uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead--with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart-if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .

Tilla has always just wanted her father's approval and to become his heir. Instead, she is a bastard daughter who is treated fairly well, but not as well as his wife and legitimate daughters. However, on the day of a visit from the monarchy, Lyriana, the princess, goes beyond convention and sits herself at the bastards table. Wary of her, but sensing her innocence, a friendship grows. Tilla, Lyriana, Jax, Miles, and Zell sneak out at night to visit the beach, but while there they witness their parents kill Lyriana's Mage uncle, betraying the throne to start a war for freedom of their lands. Now wanted, they flee to find help from Lyriana's father in the capital. As they near freedom, a betrayal from one of their own stops them in their tracks and derails their plans.

That's all I got. LOL! This really was a great book. I was leary of the title, however I thoroughly enjoyed the story and am looking forward to a sequel!