Book Reviews

Audiobook Review: Divine Rivals

By Rebecca Ross

Narrated by: Alex Wingfield & Rebecca Norfolk

10 Hours, 50 Minutes

Release Date: April 4, 2023

The ancient gods are warring after centuries of peace.  In Oath, the war seems far away to most people and the citizens aren’t anxious to get involved.  Except for Iris Winnow, whose brother answered the call to support the goddess and left for war.  Months later, she’s received no word from him.  In an attempt to support her mother, Iris competes for the position of columnist in Oath’s leading newspaper.  It’s unfortunate her rival, the handsome but irksome Roman Kit, has no plans to back down.  In an attempt to reach out to her brother, she writes him letters that mysteriously disappear into her wardrobe.  To her astonishment, the letters are answered, but not by her brother.  Despite finding solace in her mysterious correspondent, when Iris has the opportunity to cover the war, she jumps at the chance to also look for her brother.  

Two stories happening on a macro and micro level.  The larger war between the gods and Iris’s personal battle to keep her family together and best Kit for the position at the paper.  Neither story line can happen in a vacuum and it doesn’t take long for them to collide.

I’m going to be completely honest that despite wanting to listen to this ARC audiobook, I gave in to a brief eye roll at the premise. How does an 18 year old get a job as a columnist?  Letters through a magic wardrobe?  Is this Narnia?

“Divine Rivals” interpreted by Wombo Dream

That mental scoff lasted for all of about 15 minutes once I started listening.  All my questions were answered not only completely, but also imaginatively.  I went in concerned I wouldn’t be able to relate since the MCs are quite a bit younger than my normal reading fare, and I expected high-school level problems. Not only was I disabused of that notion, I found myself teary eyed a few times.  The story is compelling, both the romantic rival story line for Kit and Iris, as well as Iris and her family, but also the larger mythology at play in this world. (A world that is fairly easy to place based on the narrators’ accents.)

This is not a particularly fast-paced book and the only reason I didn’t rate it higher was because I wanted it to wrap up in one book.  Alas, that was not to be (and frankly, on me since I’d forgotten the subtitle).  Granted, it ended on one heck of a cliffhanger and I’ll probably pick up book two, but I’m also suffering from series fatigue.  There’s only so many series I can keep up with.  However, this was my introduction to this author and her writing is seamless, so once I can squeeze it into my TBR pile, I’ll go back and see if she’s written a stand alone I can enjoy.

Final rating: A very solid 4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for providing the ARC audiobook.  I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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