The Waking Land by Callie Bates
With a 19 year old protagonist, I can see this book being shelved in the young adult section and that worries me.
I was anticipating this book with much enthusiasm and the promise to myself that I would get the review out ahead of time. I want to help authors be successful in their work, and I enjoy being able to spread the word when they have a strong piece of literature being published. Instead I ended up with a story that I've had to brew over the review for awhile so it was balanced.
My very high hopes were destroyed with just one scene in this story. The story and the magic are easily a possible future or very distant past somewhere on the British isles. There are standing stones and princes from across the sea. There are clans that wear body paint and run into battle with cheers.
I love stories that make an homage to the lore of Britain, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. They are great stories that are very familiar to me and have a lot of room for imagination. The botany flavor to the fantasy was even a very nice touch that made this book stand apart.
Then we get to the story itself, the writing and the principles. We will ignore the fact the protagonist is a little weakly written and could use some development help. We will ignore the fact that the Elanna and Jahan fall in love at first sight giving young girls the impression that that is ever real or that simple.
We will not, however, ignore the fact that this story was ruined in one atrocious scene where Elanna weds the land. This was a completely unnecessary undertaking for a novel that could quite potentially be housed on the young adult shelves. This sex scene added nothing to the story and the way the characters handled the situation afterwards was even more atrocious. Shame on the editors for allowing it past the cutting room floor.
My four stars for the novel went to a 2 and never recommend this story to anyone in one swoop of the pen. Check back in two weeks for my thoughts on Charlie Holmberg's The Fifth Doll, which I'm a quarter through and already enjoying very much, for a better recommendation on what to read when you don't want to rot your mind.