Review: The Waking Land

The Waking Land (The Waking Land, #1)The Waking Land by Callie Bates

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This is my first book completed for 2020. 1 down… 149 books to go! This book took roughly 4 sittings to finish. Unfortunately, I was immensely disappointed in this story. The synopsis made me so hyped for this fantasy. While reading the first half, it reminded me of the beginning of Throne of Glass, with a few tweaks (like the main protag in THIS story didn’t hide her identity- she was loud and proud).

Meet the Gang!
Elanna: The long-lost princess from a foreign land, who was taken hostage by the rival king. Similar to The Cruel Prince, the stolen daughter was treated well, in a noble lifestyle, and considered the adopted heir of the King. She was well educated, and for some reason, completely believed the narrative of her enemies (as if she wouldn’t be more critical???). The rest of the novel, she becomes quite two-dimensional, with little-to-know growth (even though it’s the point of the story!).

Jahan: Love Interest #1. He is the Tall, Dark (skin-wise, of course, as we always have in YA/NA fantasy romance couples– the male is always dark in colour AND in spirit), and Handsome. He’s rebellious, but a bit of a flake. He just randomly disappears at important times, which made it hard for me to trust him. It never really indulged into where or why he kept disappearing, but I now know how he was able to disappear (it’s sub-par, I don’t care).

Finn: Love Interest #2 — only because he is The Betrothed. And boy, was that stale and dry. They had 0 chemistry whatsoever. Which is fine– that’s expected from an unknown betrothal. I’m disappointed because this had so much potential to be an issue or major point of conflict, inspiring character development from Elanna…. It was lacklustre by the end. It was not executed well at all.

Rhia: RHIA IS A BAD-ASS, ROCK-WORSHIPPING NORSE LADY WHO HAS NO FILTER WHATSOEVER. I loved Rhia! She would pull El up whenever she was making contradictions or just saying some Dumb B*tch observations. I want the story to focus more on Rhia.

The Butcher: The anti-hero. He was in love with El’s mum, but was rejected, so he defected to the rival kingdom. That’s it. That’s the tension. Nothing was explored.

Victorie: El’s best friend from the rival kingdom. Her dad is another noble. She follows El eventually, and she’s also boring (would you believe that!). She sparks interest with Finn.


The storyline follows: At age 5, a girl is offered to the rival king, after the rivals invade their temporary home in the rival land. For 14 years, she grows up as an unofficial daughter to the rival king. Then the king dies, and everybody points the finger to her. She flees. She finds out she’s got some magic that connects her to the land (and oh my god, is that boring. It’s not even cool magic, it’s the most plain exploration of having powers, ever). She meets handsome strangers, fights with feisty people (the Knolls, including Rhia), and reunites with her fambam. But everytime they settle down (once per chapter), the next morning she wakes up and more people have even fled in an ambiguous mission OR they were captured. So she spends a few pages following that up, and then rests or travels a bit more. She has some introspection about her loyalties to her family and her new friends, as well as the truth she was educated through from the rival kingdom.


The structure is in third person, with chapters roughly 5 pages (unusual, as most I enjoy are 10+ pages per chapter).


Nature and plants… for some symbolic value that I really don’t care about nor will deliberate on
Family ties and loyalty
Magic and enchantment


The ending is where the story finally nears the conflict that they have been edging towards in the entire novel. I was expecting a battle to occur in this book, but no, it must be in the sequel. Here is what happened to the characters: (view spoiler)


I won’t be reading the sequels, sorry. I did not enjoy the magic lore of nature in this world. It was extremely dull and I didn’t like the characters much. This may be better consumed via an audiobook, as I find descriptive stories more pleasant as I sit on my transit and listen to the pretty details.


Author: Cal's Reading Corner

HSIE teacher from Sydney, Australia.

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