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The Waking Land (The Waking Land Series) by [Bates, Callie]
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The Waking Land (The Waking Land Series) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Kindle Edition, 29 Jun 2017
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Length: 400 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

'Jump on the wagon now, because I think Bates is an author well worth watching' Robin Hobb

It's been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father's rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she's come to love as a father.

Now 20, Elanna is about to be taken prisoner once again... but this time by her father's mysterious righthand man.

Her father wants to reignite his rebellion, this time using Elanna as figurehead. He will tell his followers she is the legendary Wildegarde reborn, a sorceress who could make the very earth tremble.

But what no one knows is that magic really does flow through Elanna's veins. Now she must decide which side she's on, and whether she'll use her powers for mercy... or revenge.

A bold and gorgeous fantasy featuring a brilliant heroine on the cusp of womanhood, The Waking Land is the first of a trilogy that will delight fans of The Red Queen, Six of Crows, and Court of Thorns and Roses.

~*~*~Wildegarde came bearing a flame in her heart and her hair crowned with the pale light of stars. Where she placed her feet, the earth trembled. Where she raised her hand, mountains moved.~*~*~

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2031 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (29 June 2017)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group (AU)
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,221 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
I received an ARC of this book for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

When I started to read this book, I have to admit I did find it a bit confusing and hard to get into. Fortunately, I'm glad to have kept at it because the story turned out better than I expected. I would classify this novel as new adult as opposed to young adult as there are adult situations within the book. Besides this, I feel that Callie Bates writes beautifully. I found the worldbuilding exceptionally intriguing, as well as the prose, flowed smoothly. The magic system in place was written gorgeously and I liked how the system was based on nature. The descriptions were very vivid and colourful. I also commend her for the complex history of the characters' world as well as the beliefs that they held. I felt that these details added richness to the overall plot. I also enjoyed how the world was built around the Rococo period from the descriptions of the clothes and setting. This point of reference helped to visualise the world from a distinctly French-inspired period angle.

In terms of the characters, Elanna was an engaging character and we see significant development her character as the story unravels. However, I couldn't really relate to her and I found many of her actions irritating. She is painted as a woman who is fierce and is on a journey of self discovery. But it seems that she is being constantly saved by others. In this regard, I feel the minor characters played a major role in adding dimension to the story as opposed to the MC. She does redeem herself towards the end of the novel, but by then, I had given up on endearing to her character. I just found the plot to be more enticing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.8 out of 5 stars 55 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful fantasy adventure 25 February 2017
By Orion - Published on
Amazon Vine Review ( What's this? )
Lady Elanna is a political hostage of the king. Her father has been accused, rightfully, of plotting treason years ago, and so Elanna grew up under tense conditions among hostile members of the king's court. Her only solace is the king loves her like a daughter. Then the king is murdered, and Elanna is blamed, and she must flee for her life. She flees right into the arms of her father's men, who want to take her home, to join their traitorous cause. She resists. She has unresolved issues, but she can't run away from her fate.

And so the adventure goes. Elanna faces danger and treachery all the time, and sometimes she is rescued, and sometimes she is the rescuer. She meets a prince, and a hero, and her father, and an evil butcher, and many other vivid characters. She discovers her magic, and tests it, and she is tested as well. She is forced to re-examine her loyalties, and learn the difference between being a traitor and a freedom fighter.

This is a very satisfying book, if you like fantasy adventure stories with a female protagonist.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Underdeveloped 30 June 2017
By Eastern Sunset Reader - Published on
My Review: Upon reading the synopsis this book sounded vaguely familiar but different enough that I wanted to give it a try. I have to say even with the interesting synopsis and beautifully detailed cover, the story itself fell rather short. I almost DNFed this book multiple times. The pacing is very slow, and not because it is building up to something either. We spend nearly 3/4 of the book following Elanna around as she waffles about who she wants to support, who she wants to be, what she believes or wants to do, all without knowing what exactly is going on. So basically she is in the dark, and so are we as the readers. We are always reading along the sidelines of the game changing events, always late to battles, hearing half whispered conversations, etc. until the very last battle so you aren't really invested in the outcome. The story also got lost with the romance, which should have stayed completely out of the picture because it came on sudden and then took over but with no real purpose in the long run. All in all this was really a long, slow read with no actual investment or excitement for the reader.

My Rating: This was really an unfortunate book, I so wanted to like it but it fell flat for me. Everything about it felt undeveloped and incomplete, the world building, the characters and the overall point of book. I can only give this one a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This author has an intense, splendid and grand imagination--and she successfully coveys it to us in words 9 March 2017
By I Do The Speed Limit - Published on
Amazon Vine Review ( What's this? )
Callie Bates has a magnificent, colorful and exacting imagination and she is able to put it all into words. Couple her ability with a leaning towards good will, good morals, and a love of the land, this story rises up to meet like-minded readers. It's all I could have hoped for and more.

She writes well and her characters are well-developed. Sometimes it seems that her imagination surpasses her writing and there are a few times when logic floundered. But those instances do not prevent the reader from flowing forward. Page-turning was effortless. Bates' words painted vivid pictures, easy to see in the mind's eye.

The publisher mentions that there are two more books coming from Callie Bates, but does not say if this is the beginning of a series or a stand alone. The ending is satisfactory enough that it could work either way.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the magic, the setting and the cover is absolutely gorgeous. 25 February 2017
By QueenKatieMae 👑 - Published on
Amazon Vine Review ( What's this? )
The book starts out with the very young Lady Elanna of Caeris taken hostage by the king of Eren. As a ward in his court she grows up learning the language and culture of Eren. She is close to the king and has no desire to return to her native country; instead she dreams of traveling overseas to study botany. The king’s daughter’s undisguised loathing of her complicates this seemingly happy life as the princess loudly mocks Elanna's “peasant” heritage that lives in the dirt and practices sorcery. Since their downfall two hundred years ago, the people of Caeris have been forbidden from practicing magic.

Is Elanna a witch? She is able to encourage plants to grow and has produced spectres from drops of blood but her “magic” is unreliable and not anywhere close to the powers of the ancient Caerisian sorceress, Wildegarde. Elanna has kept her abilities hidden from the court, and friends, for the past 14 years. When the king is poisoned, the princess immediately accuses Elanna of murder and witchcraft. She then finds herself in an ill-fated position: stay in Eren to face trial and certain death or escape back to Caeris with strangers willing to help her; back to the father she has grown to distrust and a country she does not remember.

The first quarter of the book is dedicated to introducing Elanna to the reader. She is independent and strong-willed with a keen devotion to the people of Eren and their king. To her, Caeris is an enemy country and her father a disgraced traitor. Returning to Caeris is abhorrent to her and she fights against the men who are bringing her back even trying to escape them. Among the group is a young man with gray eyes named Jahan. He saw Elanna produce a spectre, he knows about her power, and he has some secrets of his own.

Once in Caeris, Elanna learns many truths; about herself, the murdered king, the country she had forsaken, her family, and her power. This is where the book really enchanted me: Elanna’s magic grows more formidable; it’s ethereal and organic and uses the power of nature as its source. I love the way she can control her surroundings. The author’s writing is at it’s strongest with these scenes. Elanna grows closer to Jahan and I like them as a couple; it’s one of those insta-love relationships but the circumstances make it understandable and the author has added the element of distrust that makes it more complex. I love the mirror scenes.

It’s not easy for Elanna in Caeris. The stories she heard about her birthplace as a ward in Eren greatly contradict what she sees. Her father wants to use her power to fight her adopted country, a predicament for her as she feels she is still an Erenian. How can she fight her former countrymen? Jahan has disappeared and she’s not sure who to trust anymore.

The author sets this fantasy not in the usual YA medieval-type time frame but during the Romantic Era. The clothing, the weaponry, the transportation, the powdered wigs are indicative of this period setting and I liked the change. It reminded me of Naomi Novik’s novels. Judging from the names of the characters and the countries, it sounds like the author based Eren and its people on the French while Caeris is more Welsh. (please correct me if I’m wrong). There is a fantastic battle that is definitely inspired by Lord of The Rings and Elanna sports some kickass magical powers. But, she really didn't need to constantly remind the reader she is “warden of the land” and that she has “wedded the land.” It got a little old.

It’s a strong, engrossing start for this new series and the author ties up pretty much every loose thread by the end of the first book. There are moments of inconsistency involving Elanna and her feelings for her father, confusion as to what country is where (the map does not include the kingdom of Paladis, a major part of the political landscape), and I found myself mentally correcting and rewriting some of the sentences. There are a few reveals along the way and at the end that are surprising but not implausible.

I love the story, the magic, the people, and the beautiful book cover (it really is gorgeous and I kept staring at it.) Highly highly recommended and I cannot wait for the next book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my kind of fantasy 10 April 2017
By J. Wiles Parker - Published on
Amazon Vine Review ( What's this? )
While I can see where some readers will love this book, I am not one of them. The first person narration is a real hang-up here because readers are limited to what the narrator is willing and able to tell. For world-building purposes it doesn't help. What also doesn't help is that this comes off more as a fantastical romance at times than a straight up fantastical adventure. The main character is often preoccupied with romantic thoughts toward certain characters rather than advancing plot or creating the world. I left the book feeling frustrated that I never got a clear sense of any of it. On the plus side, though there are more books to come apparently, this one wraps up enough to be satisfactory. The Waking Land includes magic and adventure and romance and some amount of danger, but not so much I ever felt our narrator was truly imperiled. Then there was a slight twist that was, well, something out of an after school special or teen drama in my reading of it. Anyway, if you enjoy some heavy doses of romance with your fantasy and don't mind the first person narration, this book is worth looking into. It's just not entirely magical.

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