Author: Rebecca Ross
Narrators: Alex Wingfield & Rebecca Norfolk
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 50 minutes
When two young rival journalists find love through a magical connection, they must face the depths of hell, in a war among gods, to seal their fate forever.
After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again. But eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow just wants to hold her family together. Her mother is suffering from addiction and her brother is missing from the front lines. Her best bet is to win the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.
To combat her worries, Iris writes letters to her brother and slips them beneath her wardrobe door, where they vanish―into the hands of Roman Kitt, her cold and handsome rival at the paper. When he anonymously writes Iris back, the two of them forge a connection that will follow Iris all the way to the front lines of battle: for her brother, the fate of mankind, and love.
Shadow and Bone meets Lore in this epic enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel filled with hope and heartbreak, and the unparalleled power of love.
Find It On: Goodreads / Amazon
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Divine Rivals is the first novel in the Letters of Enchantment series. Before even beginning to discuss the content, I do have to acknowledge that the series name is different than the title of this first novel. I love when series have a unique name as it gives the series a more complete feeling rather than novels just stacked on top of each other. This story is interesting as it is lighter on the fantasy and reads more like historical fiction with a fantasy twist. There is a war between the Gods (Dacre and Enva) compared to a world war, but the general feeling remains that same. One of our main characters, Iris Winnow’s, brother, Forest, goes off to fight for the goddess Enva, which leaves Iris behind to care for the family. She works as a journalist for a newspaper, the Oath Gazette. As a columnist position opens, she finds herself against her rival, Roman Kitt.
As Iris longs to reconnect with her brother, she uses her grandmother’s typewriter to write letters to him. Instead of her brother, the letters land in the hands of Roman and the two begin a magical anonymous pen pal relationship. Their story is told from dual POV, which I loved as it gave the reader both sides of the story for each character, plus they got to experience different settings. Iris is towards the warfront whereas Rowan is back home. Each has a different background and different motivations, yet they find ways to connect through their letters. Through the characters the reader experiences a lot of the emotions and aftermath that comes from war, and I loved that Ross did not shy away from making this part darker. It still remains appropriate for the YA audience, but it adds another layer that older audiences, like me, can appreciate. As for the relationship that develops between Roman and Iris, it was well done as I love the element of them connecting through letters. I do not go as far as calling this enemies to lovers as it is more rivals to lovers, but it is the closest trope to the details on the page.
The pacing itself is something that I expected based on the genre as it is remains fairly steady up until the last quarter or so where it speeds up to build up to a cliff hanger and entice the readers to want to pick up the next novel. Since I read a lot of the genre, I expected it, although I still would have preferred it to be spread out a little more. The part I was not expecting, however, is the smaller role of the divine in this story. I thought there would be more involvement and lore as it seems there is still a lot to learn about the gods and their world. I am hopeful that the second novel will dive more into this part of the story as I have a lot of questions that I want answered. While this was not the story I expected, it was a great war romance as I loved how Iris and Roman connected. Overall, this novel, like many of the genre, is structured to focus on enticing readers to try the sequel, but there was a lot to love about the writing and characters to make it worth it.
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Young Listeners for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**
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