The Waking Land by Callie Bates
Genres/Themes: YA/NA (Main Character is 19), Fantasy, Romance, Magic
*I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Lady Elanna Valtai is fiercely devoted to the King who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder and must flee for her life.
Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition powers that suddenly stir within her.
But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.
I was nervous about starting this book because I really wanted to like it, but I wasn’t sure I was going to. I started off AMAZING! I was hooked and I was so into it, kept thinking “Why did I wait to start this one?!” only to end the book going “….really?” So, I have mixed feelings.
I absolutely LOVED the beginning the story to about….50% and then my love started waning. Why? A few reasons:
1. Elanna who knows nothing about directing a war or about her home country ACTS LIKE SHE KNOWS EVERYTHING. Then continues to contradict herself until we have to guess that she has finally made up her mind. The flip-flopping I kinda understood because she feels conflicted by how she was raised and what she thinks she knows, but over 50% into the book we still deal with this.
2.The pacing!! When I started the book as far as I knew it was a standalone–which I was excited for (still seems to be a standalone), but everything was taking so long or events kept popping up, that I had no idea how the rebels would win or how the book would end…. I swear to you, it was one of the quickest endings ever. One jump to the end and a bit anti-climatic for my tastes.
3. ….insta-love/ almost love triangle. *sigh* I like Jahan, he was one of my favorite characters, but that instant attraction kinda put a damper on my spirits 😦 It made me dislike Elanna’s choices more and feel bitter for Finn, who I also liked and wanted more from.
4. There are a few events in the story that really irked me and I can’t get over them.
This isn’t a horrible book though, there are some great aspects to it.
I loved Elanna’s magic and how deep it went, although I’m still confused about it a little, as well as magic in general like Jahan’s magic.
The world-building is pretty good in some parts and it really brings you in. Honestly, I thought most of the writing was well done and the plot seemed thought out.
The adventure is interesting and there are exciting events to keep the reader entertained. A few plot twists which changed the story unexpectedly (until they ruined the plot twist?)
In the end, it is a decent book, one I might recommend others to try out, so I could see what they think. If this is more than a standalone, I probably won’t read the rest of the series, but if this author comes out with a different book or series, I would be happy to try their work again. 🙂