- Page Count: 380
- Release Date: June 13, 2017
- My Rating: 4 stars
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.
I was SO into the beginning and still love the premise of this story, but I think I’ll be a bigger fan of the sequel. This book set up some awesome characters & ideas but then got sidetracked with a lot of Roar’s training and a romance I didn’t care much about. It’s still really well written and a totally fun world, though!!
Roar/Rora/Aurora is a bookish princess who’s been sheltered by her mother so nobody can find out she’s powerless. She’s supposed to be a Stormling (someone who can capture the hearts of storms), so she needs to marry one to protect her kingdom. At the start of the story she’s betrothed to Cassius, a Darkling-type Prince who’s trying to plot his own plots around his evil father’s plotting plots. That whole part of the story was super obvious from the beginning, so I wouldn’t go as far as to call the end of the book a “plot twist.” But I’m still excited to see how everything there will play out in the sequel!
Anyways, Roar decides to create her own future and runs off with a group of stormhunters who can do magic even though they aren’t royals who were born with it. More instalove ensues and then she finds out she might actually not be as powerless as she thought…
I could tell by reading the book description that this would probably be a lot of tropes. BUT that in itself isn’t a problem for me! I obviously keep reading YA fantasy books because I like the format and know what to expect. Princesses who are privileged enough to flee their super confining life will probably meet a hot guy + rebel group and change the fate of the kingdom together. Cliche moments can be fun when they’re like seeing an old friend in a new setting… I just need the tropes to work. And this story did… even the super special snowflake power thing was interesting enough.
I also thought the multiple POVs brought a lot to the story. Roar was a fine character, but was a bit hard to pin down since she’s still struggling to figure out who she is and claim her place in the world. She’s super shy, brave, bold, skittish, meek, ferocious, confident, and afraid all at the same time. And that’s understandable, but also kind of gave me whiplash. So I don’t have any actual opinion on her yet after the first book because she’s definitely still growing.
All of the manipulating, manhandling guys and their manly possessive instincts got annoying really fast… and the instalove romance with Locke pretty much just made me cringe. But I LOVED Cassius. So much. His character walked a fine line between being ridiculous/problematic or the greatest part of the book, but I rolled with everything and liked him a lot. He reminded me of Magnus Damora in a way with how they’re both torn between doing good or serving their crown/evil father. I will be thrilled if the next book drops the bland Locke and gets more of a focus on Cassius! (He also has total Darkling potential btw if that’s what you look for in a story).
So the first 1/3 was REALLY strong and totally grabbed me, but I lost some enthusiasm in the second half. A lot of this story started to feel like exposition. I think that’s where I often have issues with the start of a series: I still want something close to a complete plot arc in each book. Any actual threat or revelation was just tacked on at the end here. Plus, the Stormlord was randomly thrown in as more of an afterthought?
I still really liked the start to this series, though!! I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long for the sequel because this book set up such a neat world. The stuff with the Stormhearts really is unique. I’d recommend this one if you like reading a lot of YA fantasy!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC and finished copy.