The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Olivia Tierney
Reviewed by Olivia Tierney
Summary: A powerful and imaginative debut. Great high fantasy novel, with an exciting plot and character personalities that shine. It has a slow start but is a read worth pursuing.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 385 Date: June 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1473638723

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They need something to believe in, something beyond crowns and kingdoms. They need to believe in the old stories. In the power of the land.

It was fourteen years ago that Elanna's life changed completely. Fourteen years ago that her father's plans of revolution fell through, and at the tender age of five, King Antoine held a pistol to her head and took her hostage. Raised by the King, Elanna grows into adulthood suppressing her magic and resenting the parents she once loved. Now twenty, Elanna prepares for either study or marriage, until King Antoine dies and she's condemned to death for treason. On the run, Elanna encounters her father's men and finds herself moving from one imprisonment to another. Her father it seems, wants to carry out the revolution that failed fourteen years ago, he wants to unite the people in creating a fair kingdom and he wants Elanna to be the face of the rebellion. He wants her to be the Steward of the Land capable of powerful magic to make the very Earth move. Elanna must decide which side she'll align with and how she will shape her destiny. Can she deny her people the help they desperately need to build a new world?

Callie Bates' debut is quite a slow starter but once you get into it, it's worth the wait. The bestselling point of the novel is the plot and the pacing of the plot; it's extremely exciting and you can never guess where the characters' quest for rebellion will lead next. Another strong point of the book is the world-building, it's incredibly detailed and very well thought out with many references to the ancient history of the world, which were very interesting to read and will no doubt be further developed in future books. Moreover, Bates' writing flowed extremely well and was entertaining to read.

However, while most of the characters were strong with great humour sprinkled into their dialogue, I struggled to connect with the protagonist as much as I wanted to. She fell into certain clichés which were quite disappointing to read and did have me rolling my eyes. The romance also didn't feel right initially, but it did grow on me I'm pleased to say.

But once I got over these issues, I did really enjoy reading The Waking Land. The magic was fascinating and the plot really did keep you reading page after page in order to find out just what would happen to the main characters.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for the Bookbag to review!

In terms of further reading, The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury is a fantastic fantasy novel with exceptional world-building with a great strong heroine at its core. You might also enjoy Dark Mirror by M J Putney.

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Buy The Waking Land by Callie Bates at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Waking Land by Callie Bates at


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