I hadn’t heard much of this book before I got my hands on it so I was somewhat in the dark. ‘The Waking Land’ is Callie Bates’ debut fantasy novel, lets see how it squares up shall we?
We follow Elanna, who as a five year old, was kidnapped by the king to force an end to her fathers revolution. Now 19 and having been raised as a daughter to the King, Elanna has placed her allegiance to him, however the past does not stay buried and Elanna ends up a powerful figure in the war for her birth country’s freedom. Along the way, we meet evil dukes, sorcerers and spirits alike as well as the earth – the most powerful player in the game yet.
I couldn’t gather any complete thoughts when it came to Elanna. I’ve decided I do like her (only a bit) but she has some extremely annoying qualities such as proposing marriage to someone she hasn’t even admitted to loving yet. I mean you do get the sense that she has feelings there but the era that they live in does not seem like the time where women would propose. Baffles me is all. She also has this tendency to flit back and forth between her loyalties and she’s always on the look out for a way to escape and leave everyone. For someone who has so much sympathy about the King dying and her botanist being held captive for it, you would think she would stick it out to the end to make sure things are righted instead of acting so selfish.
Finn was neutral to me. I found him the most REAL character in this book and the fact he was willing to try anything for the revolution (i.e. the marriage proposal and willing to be the King they all need) when it was clear he wasn’t in the frame of mind for any of it. I rate the men in this book a lot higher than the women. Purely because they were written better and thought out more fully. Speaking of Jahan, he sounds cute. But alas, he has a similar downfall to Elanna where feelings are concerned. Too much, so soon after meeting. Realistic J over here nearly retched when they mooned over each other. I have to say though, his back story is very interesting indeed. I would have liked to have learnt more about Jahan and his power.
The magic is possibly the only that saves it and even this has its flaws. I found Elanna’s magic really difficult to visualise apart from at the end where the trees walk and the spirits help. Everything before then I couldn’t accurately grasp. Either it’s the writing style or lack of appropriate adjectives. It could also be me but I found myself re-reading passages with magic in case I missed something and I would find that I didn’t. I really(!) struggled to understand the whole ‘wed the land’ thing. It’s significance wasn’t relayed well enough to me for it to have any impact.
The timeline of the book was speedy. Not necessarily a bad thing if that was the only ‘off’ thing about the book but it wasn’t, so it just magnified all the other issues I have with it. I felt like some scenes that were missed could’ve helped the flow of the story more and it might’ve deepened some of the characters *cough* Sophy *cough*.
In all honesty, I gobbled the book up but I genuinely don’t know how I feel about it. I probably won’t read it again, but I’m glad I did.
I received this as an ARC in the Illumicrate May subscription box.
You can get it here