Hey readers! Get ready for a wild ride into the realm of divine clashes, romance, and war in "Divine Rivals."
This review spills the beans on gods, mortals, and an epic showdown amidst the chaos of conflict. Brace yourselves for a rollercoaster of magic, mystery, and the timeless battle between celestial forces.
"Divine Rivals" isn't just a book; it's a fantasy adventure with a romantic twist, set against the backdrop of war. Let's plunge into the heart of the action!
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Title: Divine Rivals
Author: Rebecca Ross (Bestselling Author)
Publication Date: April 4, 2023
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction
Series: Letters of Enchantment Book 1
Other Books in the Series: Ruthless Vows
Spice Level: Zero. There is one very mild fade-to-black scene
*Note: If you like epic quests, moral dilemmas, and love amidst chaos, then "Divine Rivals" by Rebecca Ross is the perfect novel for you. With its captivating blend of mythology, intrigue, and enemies-to-lovers trope, this young adult fantasy book promises a compelling and unforgettable read.
Iris Winnow, an eighteen-year-old aspiring journalist, grapples with familial challenges, including her mother's addiction and her brother's absence from the ongoing war among gods. In her quest to hold her family together, Iris competes for the prestigious columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.
As a means to cope with her worries, Iris pours her heart into letters addressed to her missing brother, slipping them beneath her wardrobe door. Unbeknownst to her, these heartfelt messages mysteriously find their way into the hands of Roman Kitt, a cold and handsome rival at the paper. To Iris's surprise, Roman anonymously responds to her letters, sparking a magical connection between them.
This newfound connection becomes a guiding force for Iris as she navigates the front lines of the divine battle. Beyond the challenges of her brother's fate and the destiny of mankind, Iris must also confront the complexities of love that transcend the mortal realm. "Divine Rivals" intricately weaves a narrative of intertwined destinies, forging connections amidst the celestial turmoil that unfolds in the war among gods.
Spoiler Free Review
surprisingly, in this particular book, I found the romantic relationship quite engaging. I normally prefer strong female leads, but I liked how the main character, Iris, was developed.
The male lead, Roman, was relatable because of his quirks, but I felt the romance could have been given more time to develop; it seemed a bit rushed to me. Despite that, I did enjoy Iris and Roman's characters, though I found the supporting characters, Attie and Marisol, even more compelling. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series!
A word of caution to those who have not read the book yet: this review contains spoilers. If you haven't read the book and want to experience it without prior knowledge, it's best to proceed cautiously. I'll be sharing my thoughts on plot developments and character arcs, so buckle up for a thorough review.
Centuries ago, a fierce conflict between 100 Underling and Skyward gods unfolded, leaving only five deities standing. Seizing the opportunity, humans united to cast these gods into a magical slumber beneath different sections of Cambria. Recently, the Underling god Dacre and Skyward god Enva awoke, sparking a war in the West.
Amid this chaos, Iris Winnow, an 18-year-old high school dropout and journalist at the Oath Gazette, faces personal struggles. Her brother, Forest, joined the war, leaving Iris financially strained. Iris aspires to outshine her work rival, Roman, for a promotion at the Oath Gazette. She communicates with her brother through letters, unaware that her mysterious pen pal, Carver, is Roman.
A tragic event leads Iris to become a war correspondent for the Inkridden Tribune, determined to find her missing or possibly deceased brother. She discovers a magical connection between her typewriter and Roman's, crafted to connect their grandmothers and a girl named Alouette. Stationed at Avalon Bluff, Iris befriends Attie and Marisol, bonding over daily dangers from Dacre's creatures.
As Iris develops feelings for Carver, Roman decides to confess his true identity. However, circumstances send them to the front lines before Iris can read his letter. In the trenches, Roman is injured, and Iris loses a precious locket. Upon returning, Iris learns of Roman's dual identity and feels betrayed.
Despite the revelation, Iris forgives Roman, and they decide to marry. However, their celebration is cut short by an evacuation warning. Iris chooses to stay, believing her brother will find her. As Dacre's forces close in, Iris marries Roman amid impending danger.
After a night of intimacy, Dacre's tear gas separates Iris and Roman. Forest secretly arrives and takes Iris away, leaving Roman in the underworld. Iris, grieving for Roman, returns to Oath with Forest, learning of his traumatic experiences.
Unaware of Roman's fate, Iris questions her brother's transformation. Roman, in Dacre's clutches, serves as his war correspondent.
Typically, I'm not overly into the romantic side of fantasy books. I prefer diving deep into the world or getting hooked on a compelling story. However, Divine Rivals brought a fresh perspective to the romance aspect, and here's my take.
Rebecca did a solid job with Iris, our main character. Unlike the usual tough-as-nails fantasy leads, Iris comes with some complexity, and I appreciated the added depth. Her journey from a high school dropout working at the Oath Gazette to a war correspondent grappling with family loss and personal ambition was compelling. The intricacies of Iris's life, particularly her unique connection through enchanted typewriters, added layers to her character that resonated beyond the typical fantasy heroines.
Roman's quirks added a nice touch of realism to his character. He felt like a genuine person rather than a standard fantasy guy. His struggles with societal expectations, and choosing between his dreams and his father's wishes, brought a relatable dimension to the story. However, the romance between Iris and Roman moved a bit too quickly for my liking. The plot, driven by mysterious correspondence and unexpected revelations, created a sense of urgency that overshadowed the gradual development I was hoping for.
While Iris and Roman held their own, the standout characters for me were Attie and Marisol. Their stories, intertwined with the daily challenges at Avalon Bluff, added an extra layer of interest to the narrative. Attie's camaraderie with Iris and Marisol's unwavering determination to create a perfect haven for her wife, Keegan, provided a refreshing dynamic. The secondary characters brought richness to the story, making it more than just a romance between Iris and Roman.
Now, let's talk about the fantasy world. It's there, but I wanted more exploration. The world-building felt a bit light, and I was hoping for more fantastical elements to make the setting more immersive. The concept of gods, magic-induced slumber, and the ongoing war between Underling god Dacre and Skyward god Enva set a promising stage. However, the focus on the romantic subplot at times took away the potential for a deeper dive into the intricacies of the fantasy realm.
Despite the rushed romance and the wish for a more fleshed-out fantasy world, I'm curious about the next book. I'm hoping it takes the opportunity to delve deeper into the fantasy elements, enriching the world and maybe slowing down on the romantic front. The plot's unpredictability and the unique characters, especially Attie and Marisol, have left me intrigued and eager to see how the story unfolds in the sequel.
Thanks for reading!