by Callie Bates
Published on June 27, 2017 by Del Rey
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
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I couldn’t get a hold of this book fast enough after reading the synopsis and perhaps that was a bit too much excitement because I ultimately found it to be a a less than average read.
The Waking Land follows in the steps of the epic fantasies before it, but with a young adult twist (and the cliches that come with it). I enjoyed a step back into the familiar territory of fictional worlds steeped in magic and rich histories. But all of these features are barely mentioned. Like I knew they existed but the world wasn’t explained enough to really give it the depth that it could have had.
I started out liking Elanna as a protagonist. Then she got on my nerves. Back and forth, she was quite indecisive to the point that it was annoying. I began losing interest in her successes and failures. Her attitude sucked and made me dislike her even more. And I’m not even going to mention the romance because I didn’t find it worthwhile. Insta-love and all that business.
As I said, the book isn’t stellar, and a lot of that comes from the plot. It moved a bit too sluggishly for my tastes and was fairly predictable at that. I don’t usually mind predictability in fantasy if the characters are interesting but, as I mentioned, I wasn’t a fan of the protagonist.
Now granted, I finished the book. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve read and honestly there was potential in the story but it was a bit too messy, a bit too cliched, for me to really enjoy it and rate it higher. At the end of the day, I didn’t even have enough to say about it for a full review. I don’t see myself reading further in the series down the road, but may give the author’s future work a chance.