by Cora Carmack
I received this free physical finished copy in advance from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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 absolutely love the world and the magic that defines the world in this story. It’s gorgeous! It’s well-developed. It’s unique and layered, and it’s utilized as a way to express the variety of cultures that make up the world of Caelira. Who knew there could be such intricacy in storms.
This is not what I would consider to be a fast-paced story. The main plot really doesn’t kick up until about 1/3 of the way through the book and even from there it’s not speedy. Though, that’s not a bad thing. The story doesn’t focus on action and reveals so much as on the character development of Aurora and the other characters.
Okay. I gotta be honest with this one… I don’t like the choice to have the third person narrative follow multiple characters. Some obviously got more than others, but those who got only little snippets were… unnecessary, in my opinion. Yes, they offer insight. Yes, they help the development of the story. However, because the story is so character-focused, I would have much preferred to not have these extra sections. They just… distracted from Aurora and her journey.
Oo. That Ending
No spoilers, but I will say that I really like the way the book comes together at the end. I love the reveals and the way they start to trickle out in the last few chapters. They’re entertaining and realistic. They offer an enticement into the sequel (which I have no doubt there will be a sequel to this book!)