Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack – and why I loved the romance in this book
This aside is about the romance in this book, and while I kept it major spoiler free, if you are sensitive to any sort of mild spoiler information, emotional progression etc. you may want to avoid reading!
Apparently there is a review going around that voices the opinion that the romance in this book is problematic and could be triggering to victims of domestic violence and rape. I actually find this to be baffling only because I felt so strongly the complete opposite. While I respect the reviewers opinion and right to have it, I am concerned with how some people are responding to it’s suggestions as fact. Many even lowering their own ratings because of it.
A book review is essentially a persuasive essay, including one point of view and only the evidence and facts necessary to support the writer’s opinion (including my own). I simply want to give voice to another reader’s experience here to consider.
The bottom line is, we all read a book and process I based on our own personal context. So I wanted to share my experience with the romance in this book being both a domestic violence and rape survivor.
Most of you know (and the evidence still exists in my Review of Roar) that I fangirled big time while reading this book. It became more to me than just a really kickass story though because I connected so emotionally to Roar and Locke and their relationship in general. Not only did it feel real (meaning flawed), but it felt natural in its progression, in it’s growth, and most of all in it’s beauty.
Locke is strong and supportive and he allows Roar to be her own person, he does not control her. (Let’s face it …. Roar is not going to be controlled! She’s so awesome yet flawed but totally kickass!) But he is not a doormat either. He fights her on things when he feels like he needs to. And Roar fights back. Because that is what people do.
One of the things I loved, was how much he respected her. There is a thin line between protecting those you love and controlling them. I felt like Carmack did an impeccable job not crossing that line at all. Sure, Locke makes some mistakes. Roar does too. But people make those. Without mistakes we have a world with flat unrealistic characters.
One of the worst relationships I have seen written lately in YA fantasy fiction is Rhys and Feyre in ACOWAR. Rhys watched Feyre do everything without an opinion of his own to such an extreme that he lost his identity completely. This is NOT healthy in a relationship, for one person to be so passive that they lose themselves in the other person is really damaging. Any relationship that does not have a give and a take, a push and a pull, is a controlling and unhealthy relationship weather passively or aggressively so.
A healthy relationship does not mean a relationship without issues. A relationship will never be perfect when it is between two humans who have their own opinions. Just as even the purest friendship will have it’s moments of strife. There will be times when these two people do not think 100% the same way. This is normal. A healthy relationship is one where two people compromise, or admit their mistakes and grow as individuals and as a couple.
I want to be very clear here, this relationship did not strike me as being an abusive or problematic relationship at all. I also want to reiterate that I am a survivor of domestic abuse and also of rape. So, I happen to be someone who is extremely sensitive to controlling behavior in people around me. I cannot speak for everyone, but I absolutely never felt triggered in any way. Quite the opposite actually. I felt empowered and emotionally connected because of how beautifully I thought Carmack crafted and melded this relationship into something with a mutual respect!
There are some moments of strife, some moments of hurt feelings, some moments when people put hands where they shouldn’t. But these are things that are not portrayed as positive moments, they are portrayed as mistakes more times than not. This book showed us a real relationship and this is one of the things I loved most.
Some people may not see the full depth of this story and that is ok. Some people may read this story and see things a different way and that is ok. Some people may see this story and connect to it positively like I did and that is ok. Some people may have any number of responses to and opinions about this book and that is ok too. This is what reading should be.
BUT … I do encourage everyone to make an effort to form their own opinions after reading the book. Do not let the suggestions of others sway your own experience and conviction either. Going into it a book a positive mindset and seeing how this story unfolds for you specifically is always your best option. I just hope someone who might have gotten something positive from this book like I did wasn’t discouraged. This book hit me really emotionally hard in an empowering way. Again, everyone draws from their own context differently.
I just wanted to remind everyone that one person’s opinion and experience with a book or a moment in a book does not and should not speak for everyone (including my own).
I STAND BY THIS STATEMENT FOR ME PERSONALLY:
This book is brilliant and beautiful with one of the most real and healthy romances I have read ❤