The Waking Land

Featured
 
3.7
 
5.0 (1)
2476 1
The Waking Land
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
13+
Release Date
June 27, 2017
ISBN
978-0425284025
Buy This Book
      

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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Magic, battles, and a love story too!
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
THE WAKING LAND by Callie Bates begins with five-year-old Elanna Valtai being taken hostage because it has been discovered that her father, Ruadan (the Duke of Caeris) is behind an attempted insurrection against King Antoine of Eren. King Antoine has promised to keep Elanna safe as his ward as long as Ruadan doesn’t leave Caeris and doesn’t cause any more trouble.

Elanna—El—is now nineteen. She has spent fourteen years pushing memories of her family and her homeland away, focusing on her love of botany and the few friends that she has made in Eren. King Antoine has been true to his word, and he has treated El as well as he treats his own daughter, Loyce. The young women don’t like each other at all though, and Loyce and her friends go out of their way to try to make El unhappy at every opportunity.

There’s WAY too much to fit into a short synopsis of this book, so suffice to say that the real action in THE WAKING LAND starts when King Antoine is murdered and El is considered one of the main suspects. As she runs away from Eren and those accusations, she ends up heading toward Caeris and the life she was meant to live as the daughter of a duke and the key to returning the land to its past glory. Unfortunately, El remains conflicted. Her time as a hostage wasn’t difficult, and she was taught a slanted and negative view of the country of her birth. She’s not originally sympathetic to the rebellion that continued to boil while she was under King Antoine’s care, and she’s angry that her parents left her (seemingly) without any trouble at all and never bothered to try to get her back.

THE WAKING LAND tells a story that is typical for the fantasy genre, drawing from the history and mythologies of the United Kingdom for its plot. Elanna is a standard fantasy protagonist: she continually doubts herself and the magical abilities that she knows she has but can’t figure out how to nurture—particularly since anyone suspected of “witchcraft” is persecuted. There are so many characters in THE WAKING LAND that it’s often hard to keep up, and the secondary characters don’t get much time to develop as the action sweeps them along at a brisk pace. That’s unfortunate; many of those characters have interesting stories of their own that it would be great to follow. There’s also the standard love story as Jahan, a young man with secrets and magical abilities of his own, engages, intrigues, and bewilders El.

And the cover of the book… if I were to buy a book based only on its cover, I would have paid full price for this one and bought it for all of my friends and family too. It’s gorgeous.

THE WAKING LAND concludes neatly, so it works as a stand-alone novel. However, with so many potential stories lingering in those secondary characters, I hope we’ll have a chance to revisit Caeris soon. I’ll welcome the chance to read Callie Bates’s future novels. Although the world she has created doesn’t feel fully formed, and the characters need a bit more flesh, her story pulled me along. I’m definitely interested to see where the story of Caeris and its people will go next.

My thanks to NetGalley and the pubisher for a copy of the e-book in exchange for my honest review.
Good Points
Sets the scene for future books

Good pacing
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (1)
Characters 
 
5.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (1)
Already have an account? or Create an account
wonderful
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
“The Waking Land” is an enthralling YA fantasy that follows Elanna Valtai. The prologue shows us Elanna’s nightmares over the life-changing event that altered the course of her life. Elanna was only 5 years old when the Ereni king came to her house and attacked her family, holding a gun to her head and threatening her parents. He took her captive and treated her somewhat like a daughter, indoctrinating her into the Ereni way of life. Elanna is Caerisian and the other young courtiers won’t let her forget it. Caerisians are seen as backwards, ignorant, and pagan. Caeris and Eren used to be the same land but the people were divided long ago, and after a bloody war, Eren captured Caeris and exploited its riches. Caeris was ruled by three- the mountain lords, the elected king, and the steward of the land with a balance of power and strong respect/reverence for nature.

Magic has been outlawed across the empire- not just in Eren/Caeris, and magicians are tortured and killed. Elanna not only tries to hide that she is from Caeris but also that she carries magic. She desperately wants to fit in, so much so that it appears she may have Stockholm Syndrome, believing all the lies that have been fed to her over the last fourteen years and hating Caeris, her family, and her people. Early in the book, the king who had taken her captive is poisoned and dies, leaving her not only uncertain about her future but a victim of the king’s daughter and new queen Loyce, who has always hated her, and her sadistic lover, Denis. Loyce and Denis accuse Elanna of murder and witchcraft (although they do not know that she has any power). Luckily, some of her father’s people have come to save her and escort her away to Caeris. Elanna resists them at every step, seeking any other option, as she has been raised to hate Caeris. We slowly watch her transform to understand the lies that have been told to her and appreciate the truth of the events that led to her capture.

Elanna also begins to understand that her magic is unique and special, tying her to the land as the steward (a position currently held by her father) also called the Caveadear. The story begins to take some twists and turns as we learn more about why her family was threatened and she taken captive when she was five years old, as well as the history of Eren, Caeris, and the powers at play in the laws and nature. This is not a short book and the pace is surprisingly perfect with how we watch Elanna grow and learn. The content seems to fit a whole trilogy of books, and I liked that it was all in one novel rather than divided as has been the trends these days. It does take longer to read than others, but I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it- the explanations and content were really right on target.

The romance is also really strong; although there is an instant attraction, we see the relationship grow and develop, and I really enjoyed the couple who emerges. While on this topic, I would mention that there is explicit sex (one scene) in the book. That, along with the violence and bloodshed of war, would make this book more appropriate for older young adult or new adult readers. There is emotional and physical torture as well as violent deaths that may not be appropriate for younger readers.

There are several really fantastically developed and strong characters, including some really great stand-out females, like Elanna, Victoire (who I wish we got to hear even more about), and Rhia. This is a really fantastic book, and I really hope to see more in this series, as I am not yet ready to let these characters go. Perfect for fans of “The Girl of Fire and Thorns” series, this was an engaging and thought-provoking coming-of-age story set in a beautifully-developed fantasy world. I look forward to seeing more from this talented author!

Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Grant Beagan: The Finder's Code
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He’s just an ordinary teenager who likes astronomy, video games,...
Fisher- Price Fun in the Jungle: Explore, Touch, and Feel
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Children will love exploring the different textures in this playful...
Glitter Globes: The Night Before Christmas
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
On the night before Christmas, all over the house, not...
Belinda Fellgate: HellCat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A contemporary teen fantasy about an inept 14-year-old girl who...
Breathless
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Jennifer Niven, the #1 New York Times bestselling author...
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer...
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A broken world. An overwhelming evil. ...
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other....
Sword of the Seven Sins
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eva Marteinn never wanted to be a killer. Raised...
Things That Should Stay Buried
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Some destinies are written in the stars. Others must...
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda goes to Italy...
Horrid
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of You Must Not Miss comes...

Latest Member Reviews

Breathless
 
4.0
"BREATHLESS is a book about change, secrets, and the aftermath. Claudine (Claude) is about to graduate high school, and she..."
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
"SKYHUNTER is an enthralling and lush YA fantasy. Lu really paints the story with her words, and this new novel..."
The Library of Lost Things
 
5.0
"I wasn't sure what to expect with The Library of Lost Things, but I know I didn't anticipate a book..."
Goddess in the Machine (Goddess in the Machine, #1)
 
5.0
"Andra, a teenager from the 2160s, is put into cryogenic stasis fulling expecting to wake up on another planet one..."
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
"KINGDOM OF ICE AND BONE picks up where the first book left off. Lira and Reyker are separated and each..."
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
"HOW IT ALL BLEW UP is an absolutely riveting coming-out story. Amir Azadi is an Iranian American who has always..."
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
"A vividly descriptive Middle-Grade work with an ecological focus--enriched by elements of music, friendship, and atypical neurology. When her..."
The Shadow Mission (The Athena Protocol, #2)
 
4.3
"THE SHADOW MISSION is an even better sequel to THE ATHENA PROTOCOL with lots of action and spy-related danger. In..."
Horrid
 
4.3
"HORRID is an intensely creepy story that follows Jane and her mother, Ruth. Jane's father has just died and after..."
Color Outside the Lines
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: The stories vary in genre, time period, and the makeup of the couples, but many of them..."
I'll Be the One (I'll Be the One #1)
 
5.0
"WHAT I LOVED: Haneul "Skye" Shin is talented, fat, and contrary to the max. Her mom tells Skye she..."
Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)
 
5.0
"LEGENDBORN is absolutely thrilling YA fantasy that captivated me from the start. Bree gained early entrance into UNC-Chapel Hill and..."