ARC Review: Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on April 3, 2023 | 0 Comments

ARC Review: Divine Rivals by Rebecca RossDivine Rivals by Rebecca Ross
Series: Iris at the Front #1
Published by Wednesday Books (4.4.2023)
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, New Adult
Format: ARC, 368 pages
Source: YALLfest

4 Stars

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.

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. Shadow and Bone meets Lore in this epic enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel filled with hope and heartbreak, and the unparalleled power of love.

My thoughts

This book totally took me by surprise! I grabbed it at YALLfest because the cover and title were interesting and I knew Ross wrote YA fantasy, but I didn’t know much of anything about it. Then I found out it was Historical, and a romance. And I wasn’t so sure this would be a ‘me’ book.

Imagine my shock when it was! This book was so unique, I’ve never read anything else like it! It started a bit slow, and in the beginning I wasn’t really on board. I was intrigued by the gods aspect, but journalist/reporter in a newspaper office isn’t particularly my jam. And a lot of the beginning was just that, as Iris and Roman were being introduced. Then, Iris put her letter in the magical wardrobe and it disappeared (only for Roman to receive it), and from that point on I was hooked! View Spoiler »

Ya’ll know I’m a huge fan of enemies to lovers, and this one delivered. The romance takes nice and long to develop and has that slow burn that makes enemies to lovers awesome. I enjoyed the rivalry between Iris and Roman, and seeing them slowly warm to each other. I will say that I kinda wish Roman hadn’t had his own POV, because I’d have loved to see if I could have figured out on my own. (I’d like to think that I would have pegged it when he shared his name through the letters ;D) But, at the same time, it was interesting to know while Iris was in the dark. I kept yelling at Roman JUST TELL HER!! Because obviously you know it’s going to end badly when she does find out.

I’m not a war story fan at all, so I didn’t care much about those aspects; but I thought the concept of the gods at war and people enlisting in a specific god’s name was pretty cool. However, I’d loved to have seen so much more of it. It takes a back seat to the romance, which is the main focus of the novel. Despite ‘divine’ being in the book title, it’s only a very small part of the story. However, with that ending, I’m hoping we’ll see more of it in the sequel! Speaking of – THAT ENDING. Ummmmm I need the next book STAT!

Side note: This is marketed as YA, and while it does have crossover potential, the characters felt much older (like mid-late 20’s). I personally feel like it fits into NA better than YA, so that’s what I categorized it under.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 4/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
World-building: 4/5
Pace: 4/5
Feels: 3.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Jessi (Geo)

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