The Waking Land by Callie Bates

The Waking Land
By Callie Bates
Available 6/27/17
Publisher: Del Rey Books
ISBN: 9780425284025
Pages: 389
Genre: Fantasy


Lady Elanna Valtai 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.


I want to note that I chose not to label this as YA for this review. There is one scene in particular that I feel pushes that boundary. 

Lady Elanna has spent the last 14 years being raised by her captor, King Antoine. During that time she has come to accept him as a father and embrace their way of life. But when the King passes under mysterious circumstances Elanna soon discovers that she is the prime suspect. A decision to flee will bring her face to face with a home and family she no longer knows. As she returns to the land of her childhood, a magic she has kept buried is beginning to awaken. Now that a battle is about to begin El must decide whether she will embrace her truth and fight for the land or uphold her allegiance to the home she was raised in?

The Waking Land is an aspiring debut novel that brings many promising attributes to the forefront. With a distinct magic system and ambitious plot, there is a lot of expectation. While I was able to find a strong admiration for what Bates was attempting to accomplish, it ultimately failed to deliver a fully engaging experience.

I found my connection with the characters to be impeded by my general dislike for the majority of them. However, I did manage to muster a decent amount of appreciation for Elanna as an individual. She was flawed and somewhat infuriating at times, but I felt this lent a lot of credibility to her. She exhibits many signs of Stockholm syndrome, as she has come to care for her kidnapper, the King. The life he has provided her is all she has known. I found her emotions to have been adequately divided between confusion, grief and anger. Overall, she is well-developed but something was missing. The supporting characters fell short of the mark. There is a lack of depth and many unanswered questions. I found El’s biological parents to be exasperating for reasons I cannot reveal.

While the world that Bates has constructed does coincide well with the magic system and El’s use of the land, I found that there was still a large portion that felt unexplored. There are gaps in the supplied history and a few stones left unturned. The magic is noteworthy being reminiscent of an elementalist, but never fully explored. The dialect was also an issue of note. The setting was presented as historical and beautifully described through details of garments and homes (I was imagining late 1800s), yet the language felt too modern. I would find myself settling in only to be yanked back out by an odd comment or choice of words. Everything felt rushed. This is not to discredit the fact that it was more original. I just wanted to know more and there wasn’t more.

The writing is disjointed at times, but when Bates gets into a rhythm it really flows, creating an easy read. There is a lot of good to be found within The Waking Land but just not enough time dedicated to each aspect which left me torn. I would be inclined to read more from Bates, as I believe her writing can and will evolve into something great if she continues.  I would recommend this to someone who is looking for an introduction to fantasy.

*I would like to thank Del Rey for this ARC. The above review is my own, unbiased opinion.

Purchase Links:

Amazon US  Amazon UK  Book Depository

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Goodreads Monday ~ Bad Romance

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and add your own links!

My (Not So) Random Pick

29102896.jpgBad Romance
By Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
ISBN13: 9781627797726
Pages: 368
Genre: YA Contemporary


Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Okay, so I am very aware this is not a typical read for me, but I am trying to expand this year. Lilly at Lair of Books is fantastic for featuring diverse reads and she reviewed this yesterday. I could not shake the desire to pick this up after reading her review. Check it out here.

Have you read this? what are your thoughts on the synopsis?

Happy Monday!

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Sunday Sum-Up


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer that I am linking my Sunday Sum-Ups with. Stop by and say hello!

This past week has been one of little complaints. I have had the house to myself for the majority of the time and it has been quite. I have been working, cooking, reading and catching up on a few shows. While, I am struggling with my son being away, it has been an opportunity to allow myself some rest and take some “me time”.

Mini Review

A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories
By Ray Bradbury
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN13: 9780060785697
Genre: Science Fiction/Short Stories


With his disarmingly simple style and complex imagination, Ray Bradbury has seized the minds of American readers for decades.This collection showcases thirty-two of Bradbury’s most famous tales in which he lays bare the depths of the human soul. The thrilling title story, A Sound of Thunder, tells of a hunter sent on safari — sixty million years in the past. But all it takes is one wrong step in the prehistoric jungle to stamp out the life of a delicate and harmless butterfly — and possibly something else much closer to home …

My thoughts:

For this review I am looking solely at the story A Sound of Thunder. Aptly titled, this short work embraces the finer and more familiar elements of science fiction: time travel and the butterfly effect. It is hard to really divulge or explore the events contained within to any real degree due to the brevity of the tale, but it manages to present the age-old “small actions have larger consequences” in an entertaining  but somewhat haunting manner. A brief thought to consider though, as I usually discover when reading older sci-fi, it helps to keep in mind exactly how dated the collection is. What might tempt us to label it as overdone or cliché, certainly was not always so. If you like Bradbury, I would recommend this collection. I am enjoying my time picking through it.


Mapping the Interior


Long Black Veil

This was a great week for me in terms of books. I highly recommend Long Black Veil and the novella Mapping the Interior to all.


I am still reading The Waking Land by Callie Bates and Shadow (Wendy Darling #3) by Colleen Oakes. I added another title via audio to accompany me during those times I cannot read.

By Marissa Meyer
Narrated by Rebecca Soler
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ISBN13: 9781427267948


Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


  • Goodreads Monday featured The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende.
  • My 2nd You Choose, I Read selection is The Princess and the Goblin.
  • I am hosting a Belated Birthday Bash to celebrate BVT turning 1. You can enter to win a $15 Teavana e-Gift Card and $15 to spend on a book of you choice. There is still time to enter.

I have a few items on the “to do” list today and seem to have a small cold (which is insane in this 90º+ heat) so I am going wrap for now. Happy reading and have a wonderful week ahead!

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
― Ray Bradbury


Danielle ❤

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