In the lush and magical tradition of Naomi Novik’s award-winning Uprooted comes this riveting debut from brilliant young writer Callie Bates—whose boundless imagination places her among the finest authors of fantasy fiction, including Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir.
Lady Elanna is fiercely devoted to the king who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder—and must flee for her life.
Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition—powers that suddenly stir within her.
But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.
Don’t miss any of Callie Bates’s magical Waking Land trilogy:
THE WAKING LAND • THE MEMORY OF FIRE • THE SOUL OF POWER
Praise for The Waking Land
“Callie Bates has written an exciting and involving first book, and she is clearly a writer of real talent.”—Terry Brooks
“A heartbreaking, enchanting, edge-of-the-seat read that held me captive from start to finish!”—Tamora Pierce
“The Waking Land is all about rising to challenges, and it succeeds wonderfully.”—Charlaine Harris
“A simmering tale of magic that builds to a raging inferno, and hits like a cross between Brandon Sanderson and Pierce Brown.”—Scott Sigler
“This superior novel blends passionate romance and sweeping magic. . . . Bates has a delicate, precise touch with human and superhuman relationships.”—Publishers Weekly
“A wonderfully stunning debut . . . Bates’ clear, captivating, imaginative storytelling and vivid, distinctive characters will cause readers to soak up every word.”—RT Book Reviews
This superior novel blends passionate romance and sweeping magic in the first-person, present-tense narrative of a young woman struggling with her destiny in a magical analogue of 13th-century Britain. Elanna was only five when King Antoine seized her as a hostage to stop her father from plotting revolt. She's 19 now, saturated with the attitudes of the royal court but still drawn to the ancient stone circles where the forbidden magic of her northern homeland lurks. Elanna has been taught to deny everything she is, or could be; she knows that she has a special kinship with plants and has the power to control them, but she has subsumed that into planning a career in botany. All this must change when the king is poisoned, she is accused of the murder, and she flees from smothering safety to the wild, free danger of her potential role as "steward of the land." Throughout, she is aided, tempted, and intoxicated by Lord Jahan, a conflicted sorcerer himself. Watching Elanna's gentle desires merge with the angry needs of her oppressed people is fascinating, and Bates has a delicate, precise touch with human and superhuman relationships.
The Walking Land
Excellent book, captures your interest from the first page to the last. Can’t wait for the second book in the series!
An epic story of ancient magic and rebellious revolution
First of all, can we look at this cover? How cool is this cover! And it’s entirely appropriate for this book. Like, I can’t think of any cooler cover for this book. It perfectly sums up the story and the character Elanna.
So, as far as I can tell this is a stand alone fantasy novel. It’s billed as YA, but it’s really more upper YA into NA due to one steamy scene. I hope this becomes a series though, because I was blown away. I’m just not sure what is left of the story to tell… but I’d still read it!
This world and magic system is so cool. Basically, El lives in a country where magic is outlawed. If someone is suspected of magic, the Witch Hunters are called, and it’s a death sentence. So El doesn’t tell anyone that plants come alive around her - one touch of her finger and she can make them grow. She has big plans of going off for further training to be a botanist. Of course, the king might have other plans, like an arranged marriage.
No worries about that whole arranged marriage by the king thing though, because the king is murdered. Oh, and El is one of the prime suspects. And aside from taking her away from her parents and homeland at five years old to become a political prisoner—due to her father leading a rebellion, she actually kind of liked the guy. So begins her tale. She goes through a lot of changes of heart in this book, starting with not wanting anything to do with her parents. Not wanting to accept her magic. Wanting things to stay the same for her in King Antoine’s court.
El’s journey is a long one. Like, this book could have been broken into like, at least a trilogy, but it wasn’t, and I’m glad the author chose to keep it as one book. It meant no wait time to finish this journey!
The magic in this book is so cool. The land is literally alive and that power lives inside Elanna. There’s a lot of talk of the ancestors and ancient magics and so on. I loved it.
The romance? I don’t know if I was just in the mood for this kind of romance or what, but I immediately fell under Jahan’s charms. His personality was just so… charming! And he’s got secrets of his own. He was very easy going and had a nice sense of humor.
This review does this book no justice. Seriously, none. I can’t even describe all the feels. I can say this though, I did not want to put this book down. Most times I have my specific reading times and I stick to them. With this book? That went out the window. I read and read, and then I read some more. Until I’d devoured this entire thing in 3 days time—which is pretty quick for me for a book this long.
So, long story short: fans of YA fantasy tales with really cool and unique magic systems and a swoon worthy love interest will enjoy this story.