Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
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.
Roar has an interesting premise with a unique magic system, but is ultimately a disappointment because of its execution.
Roar is marketed as a Fantasy novel with a heavy amount of romance, so I couldn’t wait to dive into the story since I’ve enjoyed Carmack’s New Adult novels. Unfortunately, Carmack’s lack of experience writing fantasy is apparent in the flaws in the world building and magic system. Regrettably, the romance isn’t on par with her others novels either.
The problems I have with Roar start at the beginning of the novel. The reader is thrust into the story as Aurora is betrothed to a man she’s never met in order for her family to regain power…. or something. Her mother’s motives are confusing and barely explained, so the reader is left to make sense of the decisions being made with very little context or world building. If the story had begun a little earlier in the timeline, the reader would have had a more solid understanding of the characters’ motives and the world they live in since both are closely related.
The idea of having storms that are powerful and full of magic is an interesting one and coupled with the ability to defeat one and receive the heart of it is even more exciting. However, Carmack barely explains the mechanics behind it until the end and even then it’s lacking. It seemed as if Carmack had an idea of how the magic system would function within the story, but never plotted it out fully.
What frustrated me the most about Roar was Aurora as a main character. Everything about her is convenient and annoying. The reader finds out quickly that Aurora has a severe lack of knowledge when it comes to the world she has been living in her whole life. Despite this lack of knowledge, she has been training physically with knives etc. Aurora is a very naive young girl who has been living a secluded life, but can hold her own once she leaves the safety of the palace. It’s much too convenient for the subsequent plot and detracts authenticity from Aurora as a character.
I could suspend my disbelief of the world building, magic system flaws, and Aurora’s naiveté for some well-written romance in a Fantasy novel since it’s usually one or the other. Unfortunately, Carmack missed the mark on that as well. Aurora and Locke have absolutely no chemistry. Their scenes together feel contrived and the actions forced. There wasn’t a single moment I believed their emotions for each other were real. I found myself skimming through those scenes in hopes that the world building or magic system would improve.
Overall, Roar was an absolute disappointment. If you’re a fan of Fantasy stay far away from Roar as possible since it will only lead to frustration and disappointment.