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Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross: Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Published April 4th, 2023

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Historical

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross was a beautifully written, heartfelt romance set in a historical fantasy world in the midst of a war between gods.

With such gorgeously crafted prose, I would have expected the worldbuilding to be just as lush, however, that was unfortunately not the case. Maybe it’s my fault for coming into this book with such high expectations; it did win a Goodreads Choice Award after all. But while I did enjoy the story, and I can admit felt a twinge in my heart for Iris and Roman, Divine Rivals read more formulaic than I had anticipated given its hype.

I can completely see why others loved the characters and their romance so much. Their emotions leaped off the page and their chemistry was instantly apparent. Iris and Roman are meant to be, truly.

For me, however, I was so distracted looking for clues into the fantasy world their story took place in that I found myself a step disconnected from the main love story unfolding. I feel like this novel had so much potential to be amazing… and settled for being just good enough.

Look, this book did exactly what it promised. It gave its readers a rivals-to-lovers romance set in a historical fantasy world. It just didn’t give much else.

Have you read Divine Rivals?

What did you think of it?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

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