Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

Monday, June 26, 2017

Roar by Cora Carmack
Stormheart #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 380

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 is a one of several lands in a world assaulted by dangerous, destructive, sentient storms. Aurora is on the fast track to becoming the new ruler of Pavan. As the Queen of Pavan, it would be her job to protect her people from approaching storms. But she lacks the magic required to dispel storms and, in turn, keep her people safe. 

When she discovers another option for her future, one where she doesn't have to either lose her kingdom or marry a prince she doesn't love, she leaves Pavan. She travels with a group of storm hunters who have agreed to help her gain the magic she wasn't born with so that she can keep her kingdom.

What I liked about this book:

First of all, what really hooked me about this book was the premise. I thought the idea of storm magic was so unique and interesting! A world plagued by sentient, destructive storms is so cool! I also loved the idea of getting your affinities for certain storms by taking the heart of one. And then using your affinities to dispel those same types of storms in the future.

And the storms themselves are so interesting. They're written to read almost as if they were characters themselves. Learning about the different storms and what they do was cool. And seeing how the storm hunters gathered magic from the different storms using magic they, for the most part, weren't born with was also cool.

I liked Aurora as well. She is really dutiful, driven, and independent. She is ready to marry a powerful stormling prince from another kingdom to keep Pavan safe. She would rather marry for love, but it seems like she's ready to do what's best for Pavan until she finds another option for herself. She doesn't want to give up her kingdom and she doesn't want to belong to Cassius, the prince from Locke.

And when she goes out of the kingdom with the storm hunters, she is ready to do what she must to gain her own magic so she could go back and take her place as Queen of Pavan. She trains hard, she takes whatever is thrown at her without complaint if it will get her to her ultimate goal.

I just really liked her.

Another character I quite liked was Nova. She is one of the characters that has a few sections of the book from her perspective. She is a maid in the castle who used to be close friends with Aurora before she was forced to cut everyone off to keep her lack of magic a secret.

Nova is described as being dark skinned and really ends up getting the short end of the stick in this book. She covers for Aurora when she takes off with the storm hunters and ends up spending the rest of the book in a cell being questioned repeatedly by Cassius. I think she's super interesting with secrets of her own. I hope that things turn around for her in the next book.

What I didn't like about this book:

Okay, so here is the thing that I hated about this book...

The romance. And the romantic interests.

So, right before I picked this book up, I saw Aentee from Read at Midnight talking about the toxic masculinity and romanticized abuse that is prevalent in this book. I'm glad that I saw her tweets before I dove into this book so I could lower my expectations.

If you want to read her review, you can do so here!

The first guy we meet is Cassius. He is the dark and handsome second son of the king of Locke. He is also super sketchy. He has ulterior motives for becoming the King behind Aurora as Queen and they are likely bad news.

The second guy we meet is Locke. He is a part of a group of storm hunters that travel between cities gathering storm magic to sell in various black markets. He runs into Aurora in Pavan's black market after she follows Cassius there to figure out what he's up to.

Locke helps her hide out from Cassius and tries to help her in whatever other ways he thinks she needs before his group packs up and leave Pavan. But then Aurora decides she wants to join their group to gain storm magic. He protests strongly before finally giving in and agreeing to take her under his wing and do her training.

So both of these guys are super gross. When we get to see inside Cassius's head, he's thinking about how badly he wants to conquer Aurora and how he has to have her at any cost.

When we get to see inside Locke's head, he's grossly overprotective and kinda obsessed with her. He's always touching her without her consent even after she tells him that he shouldn't touch her without consent. It seems like he's constantly touching her. Stroking her spine or something else weird like that.

I felt like there was a lot of spine stroking in this book. And it just reads as weird and kind of creepy to me.

The romance in this book could be VASTLY improved by cutting out the boys' POVs all together. While their actions are definitely cringe-worthy at times, I found their thoughts and feelings towards Aurora to be the really ewie part.

And okay, possible spoiler, but at one point in the book, she's talking to Locke about how he is her first kiss and he basically says that her lips are his territory now and that he will protect his territory every second of everyday if he needs to...................

I feel like a requirement for YA literature should be to portray healthy relationships for teens to look up to. It shouldn't be construed as romantic for someone to touch you without consent even if you've asked them not to. It isn't sexy to be put into a situation that you're clearly uncomfortable with and trying to avoid. You're not a possession or something to be conquered. You're equals and you deserve to be respected and I feel like books for teens should portray that.

ANYHOODLES, those are my thoughts on Roar. Overall, I really enjoyed it. The magic and the storms were fantastic. The fact that you could still have magic even if you weren't born with it is neat. I wish the romance were different or just not there at all, but beyond that, I did really like this book. If you think storm magic and chasing down deadly storms sounds like your kind of party, this book could be for you.

However if you can't look past romanticized abuse, you might want to opt out of this one.

Have you read Roar? What did you think of it?


  1. Ah, I'm so glad to see this review! I've mainly see purely positive reviews about this book that have been feeling somewhat one-sided, so I like seeing your likes and dislikes for this one. I think this sounds super interesting - particularly the way you say the storms are described and used in the story. The whole romance aspect sounds like something that would really get on my nerves too, though! Great review! :)

    1. I had only seen positive reviews of this book too until I read Aentee's. I thought it was such an interesting book, I am really excited to continue the series, but I have two scenarios in my head that could make me like the romance, but neither of them is probably going to happen. Haha!

  2. This book had an interesting premise but it didn't work for me. A lot of the issues you (and Aentee) pointed out are ones I chalked up to Carmack starting her career writing romance novels (New Adult). A lot of it is still not okay but I think framed in that genre a lot of the issues here would get a pass.

    For instance, to bring up a book I hate with the heat of a thousand suns: No one cared about the unequal power dynamics and toxic relationship on A Court of Thorns and Roses until Maas spoon feeds readers a newer/better love interest in book two.

    1. I can see where that would be true with her starting out with NA romance. I definitely see what you mean about ACOTAR. I looooved that book when I read it, but it was shortly after I started blogging and I didn't really read critically yet. But looking back, yeah, I see it now.


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