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  • ★★★-3.5

Review: Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross (Spoiler-Free)

~ Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review! ~ 3.5 stars

Time felt different in a letter.

This book is a love letter to so much. It follows Iris and Roman, two rival journalists assigned to write about the war between gods. But Iris writes more than just articles. At home, she writes letters to her brother on the front lines and never receives a response. That is, until one slides out from under her wardrobe. Only, the letter she receives in response is not from her brother, it's from a stranger, a stranger who has quite a way with words. Unbeknownst to Iris, this swoony stranger is none other than her arch-nemesis, Roman Kitt.

Throughout the course of the book we follow the turmoil of living in a war-torn land and what it means to report on that. But at the heart of this story is a romance. Iris must grapple with growing feelings for Roman and feelings for the boy who's writing her letters.

While I enjoyed the romance, I didn't find it strong enough to fully pull me through the story. I wished there was more plot, though the writing was exquisite.

The sight of him returning from his run—all vigor and fire, as if he had drunk from the sky, untamed and unburdened and alive.

Roman was charming and I especially loved how much he treasured Iris's writing. Even when they were "enemies" he read all her articles for "research" and "tactics" (right...).

Iris was the character I truly connected with. She had incredible drive, but also listened to her emotions. She was reflective and found solace in expressing her feelings through writing (wow, that doesn't sound familiar at all).

It was strange to her—how close she could be to people and yet how far away and lonely she felt. How the night made things feel more poignant and desperate.

The thing about this book that I truly loved most was how much better it made me feel about the book I'm writing. It showed me that there is a market for the YA historical fantasy genre and that a slower, emotional story is one that sells and people enjoy. I was also really inspired by Rebecca Ross's prose.

Divine Rivals is a touching story of joy and love found within a world of chaos and destruction. While I don't think I'll be picking up the sequel, many readers will absolutely need to after that ending!


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