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The Waking Land by Callie Bates
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The Waking Land (edition 2017)

by Callie Bates (Author)

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2112686,453 (3.56)6
"A young girl is kidnapped by the king to punish her father's rebellion against him. Years later, she returns home a fugitive, while grappling with a repressed magic that could, if mastered, make her the most powerful person in two kingdoms"--
Member:teachlz
Title:The Waking Land
Authors:Callie Bates (Author)
Info:Del Rey (2017), 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
It's hard to invoke memories of famous books like Lord of the Rings without making it feel like you ripped something off. But Bates does it flawlessly. The mountain people and Helm's Deep, the army of the ancestors... It was a joy to see that LotR had been an influence on Bates' writing, and that I wasn't likely the only one to see that! Just enough similarity to call on a memory, and different enough to feel like an entirely different concept. The plot isn't anything new, but it didn't need to be. The characters were fantastic and well-thought-out. With that, enough guesswork to make the specifics of the ending uncertain, and just the right amount of heartbreak, this was well worth the read. 4 stars. ( )
  KOrionFray | Oct 5, 2019 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this. I thought it was a well-written debut fantasy, with an interesting world/mythology. I liked the heroine. Elanna had understandable doubts throughout, but she was never overly wishy-washy. She took action, even if things didn't work out exactly as planned, at least she did SOMETHING.

I've seen criticism about insta-love, whiny characters, and repetitiveness, but IMO none of that was here. True, the romance between El and another character happens after a relatively short amount of time, but if you've read any other YA fantasy or any romance, the length of time before anything happens in this book is practically a lifetime in comparison to many other books out there! Personally, I liked this a lot more than several other of the extremely popular YA fantasy series out now.

Full disclosure: I received a free advanced reader's edition of this title from the publisher in a Book Riot giveaway. I liked this book so much, though, that I bought a final copy to support the author and I look forward to the rest of the planned trilogy. ( )
  DGRachel | Jun 14, 2019 |
Overall, I enjoyed this. I think perhaps it was too much packed into one book. The world the author built was well done, but there were too many characters and history to keep up with. The main character's evolution was a little muddled but the writing was good and I think the author has a lot of potential. ( )
  Jandrew74 | May 26, 2019 |
What a gorgeous book! I'm in love! Everything about this book was engaging and unique and kept me spellbound all the way through the story.
The story is about a girl, the Lady Elanna Valtai, who has been held hostage for 12 or so years to ensure her fathers loyalty to the crown. She was taken when she was five years old and has few memories of her parents and has been raised and educated with the royal children of the family. Therefore she has an incorrect education in the real history of her parents and countries history. She has been studying botany for some time as she has a gift for growing things. Lloyce, the kings heir to the throne hates Elanna, and when the king suddenly becomes ill by a poisoned mushroom that she was studying she becomes framed for his murder. Elanna loved the king like a father and would never had anything to do with his murder.
She also know that she has a bond with the secret circles of stones found throughout the country, when she puts a drop of her blood on the stone once a year she hears and sees things that most others cannot. Once she is safely brought back to her homeland she feels an immediate bond with the land itself and finds out that her magic (that was outlawed in her previous home) makes her the Caveadear, the waker of the lands. A position that has been vacant for nearly 200 years. As she grows to learn more about her family and people she becomes torn on her family that raised her and the one she was born to lead.
I am really looking forward to the next book in the series. ( )
  Verkruissen | Sep 27, 2018 |
Lady Elanna Valtai was kidnapped and held hostage to keep her father in check by the king. Raised in his court for most of her life, she is loyal to the royal family and calls her father and the rest of her own people from Caeris savages and backward thinking people. Elanna renounces her magic power and wants to become a botanist. When the king is killed with a poison mushroom, Elanna is automatically blamed and has to run or be executed with no trial. The only people who help her are those fighting for revolution to turn the corrupt monarchy to a just system. Elanna doesn't believe them until the evidence is right in her face and slowly starts to realize the lies she's been fed throughout her life. While she help the revolution or leave to find her own life somewhere else?

The Waking Land has an interesting premise and setup. I've read a lot of books lately that have two societies where one has conquered the other to oppress them and take away everything they held dear. This one is different in Elanna actually believing the awful things about her own heritage. Even though she is regularly mocked for her heritage, she tries to set herself apart and completely assimilate with the conquering society by rejecting her native language, her culture, and her father. This shows how people can be brainwashed against their own culture, through history lessons through the lens of the winner and bigoted treatment by everyone around them, and develop self hating behaviors that they justify to themselves. As the book goes on, Elanna finds out the truth through the lies she's been told and has to figure out a totally new world view to adapt.

Unfortunately, this is the only really interesting thing about this novel. Elanna turns out to be very wishy washy as the book goes on. One minutes she's totally commited to a revolution and the next she's right back to being selfish. This goes on for far too long. A similar thing happens when she continually refuses a person who says they can help her learn more about her powers. Why would she say no? She has no idea what she can do. The romance doesn't take time to develop and seems there because it's expected to be. Her powers are amorphous and having sex for the first time seems to make her more powerful for no defined reason. That particular scene where she "wed the land" was odd to say the least. The conclusion seems too easy after almost completely losing and everything is conveniently resolved at the end except for one person's death who could have easily been saved by his best friend. It's a weird detail to add just after the fact and makes that particular character seem like a sociopath.

The Waking Land starts out really well and then descends into Elanna making the same mistakes and going back and forth on several decisions. After a while, it grows frustrating and the book could have easily been a third shorter had all that flip flopping been taken out. Callie Bates has potential to be a good writer because her prose flows well, but there are so many things I don't like about the story and its mechanics. I'm only reading the second book because I already own it and may as well. ( )
  titania86 | Jun 24, 2018 |
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