Review – Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas

Title Vivatera (Vivatera #1)

Author Candace J. Thomas

Description from Amazon

The king of Southwick has fallen, and his six daughters have disappeared into hiding, each protecting a magical element that will keep the balance within the world of Parbraven. But when one of the hidden girls is captured by an evil set to obtain them all, the fate of the magical world shifts. The solution rests on a simple farm girl named Naomi, who knows nothing of this world, nor of the awaking magic stirring inside her.

Naomi Bucklingdown has no idea of the importance of her survival; her only clue is a mark on her neck – An interweaving star. In a fast moment Naomi’s life changes forever when she discovers a young woman with the same unusual mark on her neck, but before she can reach her she is kidnapped; spirited away by a mysterious stranger, Reynolds Fairborne. Reynolds alone knows the secret of Naomi’s identity. Only he knows the danger she would face if she were ever discovered, for the Kingdom of Parbraven is poisoned by magic and the only hope for survival lies in a secret only Naomi has. This is where her journey of discovery begins and her true identity is about to be revealed.

Initial Thoughts

I applied for this book in my early days navigating NetGalley. I was applying for everything and not getting approved for much. Once I started getting reviews in for the few titles I was approved for, I started getting more and more approvals that I couldn’t keep up. Vivatera was one of those titles that just fell through the cracks. I’m trying to clean up all the pending items I have so I wanted to start with this one.

Some Things I Liked

  • POVs – I liked the different POVs in this story. Zander, Naomi, and Teren all make for interesting main characters. I also like that they all figure out different elements of the plot at different times.
  • Teren Lockwood – AKA The Darkling-esque maybe-villain I needed. I can’t tell if I like Teren or don’t like him and I LOVE THAT. I love a mysterious maybe-villain. It keeps the story mysterious.

Some Things I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • The beginning – this story really just drops you into a world with very little explanation. I was very confused initially and had a difficult time following the story.
  • Ages – we don’t really get anyone’s ages except for Reynolds and Zander. Where do our other characters fit in? Once again, it made for confusion and muddiness in the plot. I couldn’t tell if Reynolds was a love interest for Naomi or if he was too old for her. Similarly, Teren seems like he might be a bit of a Darkling-esque love interest, but again, I have no idea how old either of them is supposed to be. I have to assume they’re all pretty close in age.

Series Value

As I mentioned above, this book had a super rocky start. There was definitely a reason I didn’t read it right when I got it. The story was incredibly confusing and it reads like it’s a sequel of a book that I haven’t read. By the end of the book, however, I think I started to grasp the storyline. I would read the other books in the series, but not right away. I think the plot is interesting and the world building is different. But, this is definitely not a binge-series for me.

Final Thoughts

I tried to read this as an e-book back in March but just couldn’t get into the story. I was able to finish it as an audiobook but it was a rough start (again). Overall, the story picked up and I can see myself continuing with it. However, I could also see myself never picking this series up again.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand – if you liked the elemental magic and multiple POVs used in Vivatera give this series by Claire Legrand a try.
  • The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter – if you liked the world building, magic system, and big relationship reveals in this story, give this series by Gena Showalter a try.
  • The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross – again, if you liked the big reveals about who is pretending to be who, try this series by Rebecca Ross. There is also a similar element of a knight-like character who protects the main characters in both books.

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