The Waking Land by Callie Bates - Book Review

Saturday, June 17, 2017

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. (Goodreads)


I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for a review.

My feelings about The Waking Land are a bit mixed. The first half of the book is mostly spent repeating the same stuff over and over again. I understand the need for world-building. It is a vital part of any story, especially one that is in a brand new world. However, the number of times the same history was repeated makes it feel like the author is assuming her readers are either incredibly stupid or have memory issues. My other issue with the world-building was how much useless information was also provided. We did not need to know the name of every servant or soldier. It felt like the spitting out of random names was being used, like much of the politics and history, as filler to stretch things out. These sections of the book dragged on and on and took quite a bit of enjoyment out of it.  I also found myself incredibly annoyed by Elanna, who was immature, whiny, and obnoxiously indecisive. What I found to be the most annoying about her was the "everything is all my responsibility" mentality. The best feature of this story is definitely the world in which everything happens. I found myself wanting to know more about the side characters, previous rulers, and magic. The second half of the book was more focused on action and with the exception of a few battle scenes, made it worth getting through the first half. I was surprised at how neatly everything was tied up at the end though. I was under the assumption this was going to be book one of a new series (because of the time spent on world-building) but it seems this is just a stand alone. Regardless of all the things that annoyed me, I think that would be a shame. I would love to read more stories set in this world.

Rating: 3/5
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