Rage (Stormheart #2) by Cora Carmack
About the Book
Publisher: Tor Teen | Release Date: August 27, 2019 | Pages: 384
Genre: YA, Fantasy | Format: Paperback ARC | Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Duty or freedom.
Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves.
If Aurora knows anything, it’s that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan.
In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.
This feels like more than rage.
It feels like war.
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While this review is spoiler-free for Rage, tread lightly if you haven’t read Roar yet as this review has spoilers for the first book.
Anticipation is a tricky thing, friends. I loved Roar so much that I had incredibly high expectations for this sequel, and unfortunately, I was a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid sequel, one that I ultimately enjoyed and would recommend, but some elements of the story didn’t work well for me.
“I wanted to choose my own life, rather than having it chosen for me.”
Aurora is at a crossroads in this installment of the Stormheart series. In Roar, she was able to go on the adventure she always dreamed of and find the power needed to protect Pavan. She got to choose her destiny, but now that freedom has come to an end because duty calls. And now she has a lot of choices to make.
“Life happens how it happens, and you can either move with the maelstrom or die wallowing about the change in the winds.”
Miscommunication plays a big role in Rage, which is probably my least favorite plot device in the world. Remember at the end of Roar when she was about to tell Kiran the truth about her identity? I was really disappointed that it was dragged out until 24% into Rage, all the while putting her friends in danger for not knowing the truth. And then Kiran doesn’t take the truth very well (who could blame him) and spends a chunk of the book not communicating his feelings either. I was just a frustrated Kal at all the not communicating – but this is a big me thing.
“All of us are loners in some way. We don’t form attachments easily. But you were one of us. Nothing matters more in a crew than trust.”
Despite the hurt feelings when the truth gets out, this found family is still there with their typical banter and love for one another. Each character handles the news differently, and I appreciated that nuance.
I think the root of my annoyance was with what I perceived to be backward development for Aurora’s character. One of the things I loved the most about Roar is her bravery and fierce independence, but also her willingness to learn from those who are experts around her. The events of Rage test her in a lot of ways to prepare her for what she needs to do and how far she will go to protect Pavan. But she feels less sure, less open to the feedback of others. She almost feels like a completely different person to me. I know that the Aurora I loved was the adventurer and that as a revolutionary she might have some reservations, but she didn’t hold a spark of that independence.
While I spent the majority of the book annoyed with Aurora and Kiran, I absolutely loved Novaya and Jinx in this installment! I am glad that Nova got more page-time in this book and it was interesting to watch her not only stay loyal to Aurora despite the circumstances but also try to gain control over her magic. I loved how supportive of Aurora Jinx was as if the truth changed nothing for her, which was a nice foil to Kiran’s feelings of betrayal.
One of my favorite things about this series is the magical world Carmack created, and I love how it was expanded in Rage! Learning more about how the magic works, especially for non-Stormlings, was a fun exploration. I also enjoyed the flashbacks and how the histories all tied together at the end.
Ultimately this is a bridge from the person Aurora wants to be (Roar) to who she must become. Overall, I found this to be a read that I read pretty quickly, but the pacing was a little uneven. I struggled with the first half of the book, which could be largely a result of my frustration at Roar dragging out the secret longer than necessary. The last third of the book was fast-paced and I was on the edge of my seat – I cannot wait for the next book because I think it is set up quite well. I look forward to finding out the truth about the Stormlord (I have my theories!) and how the events of Rage will impact the battle.
Representation: lgbtqiap+ (f/f romance)
Content warnings: captivity, death, murder, torture
Many thanks to Tor Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. Quotations are from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon final publication.