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Review: Rage - Cora Carmack

Rage
Rage by Cora Carmack
Series: Stormheart #2
My rating: {★★★★☆}

YA Fantasy
Published August 27th 2019 by Tor Teen

Source: Review copy via Edelweiss
Princess or adventurer.

Duty or freedom.

Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves.

If Aurora knows anything, it's that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan.

In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.

This feels like more than rage.

It feels like war.
**I voluntarily read and reviewed a review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

3.5 stars

I read Roar a couple of years ago with my squad, and while I had some issues with it, the fantasy world that Carmack created had managed to captivate me and I was already immediately interested in reading the sequel.

The magic system is unique and engaging with Stormlings and storm magic, elemental magic and storm hearts. In this book, we delve deeper into all the magics and a little less into the adventurous action which is probably the biggest downfall of the book for me.

Second books can always be a little tricky as every series reader and author knows. Not only does the author have a lot more time constraints (who knows how long that first book took to come into being? But we're all WAAAIIITTTTIINNNGGG on that second book so it needs to happen faster!), there's also the part where the world building needs to still happen (without becoming monotonous) and the inevitable moving of all the pieces into place for the next act. In short, there's expectations to be met, there's characters who need to keep growing and not become boring or stale and there's plots that need to intensify in order to keep the audience 'glued to their seats'.

There's also criticism for the first book that needs to be should be might have to be taken into account if possible.

In my opinion, Carmack handled all of the above fairly well, and even though the action took somewhat of a backseat, the resolution of the main romance and the building of the secondary characters was more than satisfying.

Roar/Rora/Aurora had some great character growth in this book and while I enjoyed her passion and dedication to her people in the first book, I definitely enjoyed her as an actual character a whole lot more in this installment. She went from a petulant little girl who couldn't own up to her own mistakes in the first book to someone I might actually come to admire here.

Locke/Kiran had the most improvement on a character to me and while his improvements weren't all about actual character growth (it seemed more like a lot of remodeling after some fairly harsh criticism in book one, my own included) I really appreciated the efforts that Carmack took to make his character more likable. I have no idea if Cora does read our reviews or if an editor took note or if it's a happy coincidence! But I'll take it, whatever it was and say a big THANK-YOU. It's awful not being able to ship the main romance. While the new and improved Kiran went a long way to removing that sour taste from my mouth that was left over from book one, I wasn't completely converted but I truly do appreciate the changes.

The Stormlord, the big bad... We didn't even meet him in book one and yet I was intrigued as to this absolutely cruel and evil character. In Rage we begin to learn more about the character and his motivations and I appreciate that Carmack is taking the time to flesh out her villain and make him multi-faceted.

Cassius Locke, that mysterious and morally very-dark-grey prince and one of the most complex characters since Roar; I am interested to see where his character arc will take him in the third book because *ahem* (view spoiler)

Not only are the major characters built upon, but the supporting cast is also fleshed out even more, especially Jinx and Nova and even Duke and Sly and the Queen herself. We also meet some new and compelling characters like Zephyr and I definitely enjoyed learning more about the 'Original Magics'.

The world building, the diversity and the clear development of both the characters and the writing itself is keeping me hooked on this series. I can't wait to find out more about the next book.

Roar (Stormheart #1)

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