Book Review: DIVINE RIVALS by Rebecca Ross

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5 stars
Series: first book in duology

Blurb:

Book cover for DIVINE RIVALS: title in gold below two people holding letters on purple

NO GOD, NO CREATURE, NO WAR CAN COME BETWEEN THEM

After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again

All eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow wants to do is hold her family together. With a brother on the frontline forced to fight on behalf of the Gods now missing from the frontline and a mother drowning her sorrows, Iris’s best bet is winning the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.

But when Iris’s letters to her brother fall into the wrong hands – that of the handsome but cold Roman Kitt, her rival at the paper – an unlikely magical connection forms.

Expelled into the middle of a mystical war, magical typewriters in tow, can their bond withstand the fight for the fate of mankind and, most importantly, love?

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

DIVINE RIVALS is a book I’ve been wanting to read since it was announced (it’s a Rebecca Ross book, after all) and the premise of two correspondents in the midst of a WW1-esque war writing to each other sounded so good. It absolutely lived up to my hopes and I galloped through it in an afternoon.

This is so different to other fantasy books that I’ve read of late. It’s more modern than most secondary world fantasies, but still retains that historical feel. It’s also not about the gods, though they and the mythology is woven within (and I suspect will be a bigger part of the second book.) It feels like a book on the cusp of fantasy and historical fiction (despite being in a different world), a story about connection and war at first hand.

While there is a war between gods raging in the book, the immortal/magical parts of the war are very much in the background. Instead, this is a story about humans in war, the suffering and misery and push to survive. There are trench scenes and hospital scenes. It ends up being a nice balance – magical background to help the typewriters fit in, but with the focus on the humans, which grounds it and ensures their stories aren’t lost by a struggle between gods.

The book is mostly told from Iris’ perspective, though Roman has several scenes. I really liked getting a glimpse into his mind to understand what he likes about her, making it a two-sided attraction. I also found it fun that he knew who she was but she didn’t, on the letter writing side. It gave a fun dynamic to the letters. There are, as you’d hope, lots of letters in the book too, as well as articles the pair write. They’re also written in type writer font, which was nice.

The ending has made me need the next book now! Definitely one to immediately binge once it comes out!


Read my reviews of other books by Rebecca Ross:

Young Adult:

The Queen’s Rising:

Standalones:

Adult:

The Elements of Cadence:

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