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The Waking Land

(The Waking Land #1)

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  3,813 ratings  ·  881 reviews
Lady Elanna Valtai is fiercely devoted to the King who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder and must flee for her life.

Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep con
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 27th 2017 by Del Rey Books
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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 ·  3,813 ratings  ·  881 reviews

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Robin Hobb
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My resolve to avoid spoilers almost falters in the face of a book well worth talking about! Let's see. What can I say? Buy this book when it comes out. Read it, but write your name big in the front, because when you loan it out, it may not come back.

Also, I think this is the first time I've read a fantasy book that looks at Stockholm syndrome so well. Yes, GRRM does it in A Song of Ice and Fire with Theon Greyjoy. But I think that how Bates looks at it through her protagonist and the protagonist
May 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, fantasy, ya
I decided to read this book during finals period. You know the book is no good when you find yourself preferring to study instead of reading it.

I don't have much to say about The Waking Land. It had potential, lots of it. A girl with magical powers that can wake the land, returning to her homeland to lead a rebellion? As much as cliche this sounds, I actually enjoy these stuff. However, I ended up bored most of the time because this book dragged a lot. Now I know this is a debut and I shouldn't
destiny ♡ howling libraries
At five years old, Elanna Valtai is seized from her family at gunpoint and kidnapped by a powerful king who raises her as his own, in his palace, under one condition: her father is never to come and reclaim her. In her home land of Caeris, Elanna was loved and doted upon, warmly welcomed for her natural inclination to magic; in the royal city of Laon, however, despite the king's growing affections for her, she is subjected to prejudices for her darker skin, her Caerisian blood, and her family na ...more
Ben Alderson
Mar 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
I have so many thoughts..
I will put them in a video..
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Waking Land is a gorgeous new fantasy novel from debut author Callie Bates, and it was on my wishlist long before I had the opportunity to read it. There are just certain types of stories, while not entirely groundbreaking or new to the genre, that are just irresistible to me, and this is one of them. The book encompasses a lot of the elements I love, including a courageous heroine, an evocative magic system tied to th
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This book wasn’t a complete disaster. I thought the world was intriguing and although it started out quite confusing, with all the different lands, emperors, kings and pretend-kings, I've never been one to be put off by complicated fantasy and so happily started compiling a mental list of all the places and names. The magic system based on the natural world was fairly original if a little too simplistic for my taste. Unfortunately, that’s all the good stuff I can think to say about The Waking La ...more
Montzalee Wittmann
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Waking Land by Callie Bates is a book I was allowed to read from NetGalley and I am so glad indeed! This book is so rich in fantasy, world building, character depth, plot, and twists that I was totally enthralled in its wonders. Elanna has earth magic, more than anyone knows, in a time that magic is forbidden except in the far north where the land shifts and protects the people, the old ways, and the land itself. Elanna is forced/kidnapped from her family as a young child and is held by the ...more
Kelli Wilson
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 I randomly came upon this as a recommended read in Google books. I was very pleasantly surprised. A nice love story, that was given time to build, not instant. The story and the hard as hell path the heroine faces is stressful, but rewarding as a result. It's not a terribly new concept of plot. It's missing some additional depth from supporting characters. But there is potential for that to develop in the next book. Overall it's a decently done YA supernatural fantasy, that is generally/some ...more
Aug 11, 2017 added it
DNFing @ 7%.

I've been trying to read this book for a month or so, and I just really can't get into the way it's written.
Sherwood Smith
May 05, 2017 added it
Shelves: fantasy
An ambitious debut novel that I inhaled over two days, The Waking Land has a lot going for it: a passionate heroine, complicated politics, lots of magic, and some colorful characters.

It was also a rocky read in places, though I wonder how much of the confusing opening is due to the heroine being nineteen years old, which is not an age for emotional logic much less rational logic. In that sense, Bates did a terrifically believable job, though (view spoiler)
Wren (fablesandwren)
ARC in exchange for an honest review

I was skeptical about this book when I read the synopsis. There’s a girl who has it all and then all of a sudden she doesn’t and then she has to lead the rebellion. To me, it kind of seems done, but I also kind of love a broken person rising above it all and becoming the reason the world changes. So I requested, I got, and... I didn’t love it.

Don’t get me wrong, it was unique in some of its concepts and it was written with beautiful lyrical words. But some of
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic, new-adult
* I received The Walking Land for an honest review *

Well, I finished it! I'm not going to lie the beginning and half the middle almost made me want to quit, but I'm extremely happy I didn't. The Walking Land proved to be a pretty awesome and interesting book.

So, I should start by saying this book is a cross between, young adult and new adult, so if you are under 16-17 I can't recommend The Walking Land. It has plenty of twists and turns, lots of trials and tribulations that could benefit a youn
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic nature centered magical adventure with interesting characters topped with action.
What a bang this author made with this her debut book. The details, abilities, personal and political drams so complex, so visually written. I hope her work only gets better from here.
Ellana was kidnapped when very young by a king that raised and treated her well, by him but she was never allowed to be who she was or see her family. The kings daughter, well she's not so kind toward his ward. Having been
Heidi The Reader
A fantasy novel about a young woman who was raised away from her home who is destined to become something greater than anyone ever imagined she could be.

There were shades of Irish mythology in this story with magic surrounding standing stones and a midnight ritual about "marrying the land".

Overall, I just felt like I had read this book before in some form or another. It stuck to so many forms — heroine who doesn't know her own strength, falls in love with a man who may help her or betray her, tr
Starry-Eyed Jen
ETA 9/21/18: Re-read so I can read the sequel, but now I think I'm gonna wait because I'm not quite ready yet. As in, my brain hurts and fantasy worlds don't help matters, even when they're being revisited. So, I'm going to wait until I can give it the proper attention it deserves since I loved the first one.


This stand-alone fantasy novel was utterly gorgeous in its telling and breathtaking in its brilliant use of magic to spark a revolution in a kingdom already besieged by pretenders and u
Sheila G
The full review can be viewed on my blog along with others at:

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

All plants are ordinary, until I touch them. All my life, I've had to hid what happens when I touch anything that comes from the earth--plants, stones, trees, soil, orchids.

Elanna Valtai, the daughter of a wealthy Caerisian family, doesn't know much of her homeland. She hasn't lived there for many years. Taken fro
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Fairly run of the mill fantasy about Elanna Valtai, a "chosen one" from the subjugated Kingdom of Caeris raised as a hostage in the conquering Kingdom of Eren. When the King of Eren is poisoned, Elanna is framed for his murder and she is forced to flee to the country of her birth where she is a stranger.

I found this book to be long and repetitive with not enough going on to justify its length. Fortunately it is a complete story, even though it's the first of a trilogy. I did appreciate the point
Elanna became a pawn in a game of political power tug-of-war when she was kidnapped by the king her father was leading a rebellion against. Growing up in the royal palace, actually being loved by the king tainted her view and her memories of the family she was stolen from. But Elanna is different than those around her, she has magic that she doesn’t understand and she must keep it hidden. When the king is murdered, she discovers who her true allies are when she is falsely accused and must run to ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a riveting debut! I love fantasy and this gives it to me on an enchanting plate!
Rich with edge of your seat vibrancy.. to find first love entangled with rebellion and repressed magic! It’s a relationship between nature, magic and humankind.
First in a trilogy and definitely Young Adult crossover elements

It's been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father's rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she's come to love as a father.

The Waking Land was a mixed bag for me. I wanted to like the main character Elanna, but there were too many times that I just wanted to slap her silly. I get that she was probably going through Stockholm Syndrome and confusion because she genuinely thought the k
Apr 06, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, ya-fantasy
This was an absolute dumpster fire. I can't believe this ever was published to be honest. The writing was so elementary and cheesey that I had to skim the rest of the book that I forced myself to read. The plot is equally cliche. A girl discovers her hidden power and is forced to lead a rebellion. But dont worry, there are two equally charming and handsome men she seems to fall for within seconds of meeting. I hated everything about this book, so do yourself a favor and skip it. ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First person telling of a hostage who seems to 'love' her captor. Elanna grows into an independent character with latent resentment towards her family and country.

The tale grows into a sprawling adventure of interesting characters and magic systems. Whilst this is book one, there is no cliff-hanger and the story arc closes.
Melissa Souza
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
**Thank you to Hachette Australia and Netgalley for sending me a ARC in return for an honest review.

4 stars!!!

When I started to read this book, I have to admit I did find it a bit confusing and hard to get into. Fortunately, I'm glad to have kept at it because the story turned out better than I expected. I would classify this novel as new adult as opposed to young adult as there are adult situations within the book. Besides this, I feel that Callie Bates writes beautifully. I found the worldbuil
Now this was FUN. :D The characters are fantastic, especially Elanna. She's scholarly, determined (to the point of being headstrong), and not afraid to stand up for herself. It's easy to understand why she's so conflicted about her situation, and her gradual shift in allegiance from Eren to Caeris as she learns the truth about both countries / peoples and to embrace her nature-centric powers. The worldbuilding is rich with history and lore, and while the idea of "earth magic" isn't new, it's pre ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.

Read this review and more at Book Geeks Uncompromised!

A big thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC!

Elanna Valtai was taken from her family as a young girl and held hostage by the king against her family’s good behavior. Growing up in the castle with the king, Elanna developed relationships with the people there and now as the country is thrown in turmoil must choose whether to support her homeland or the world that she grew up in.

Obviously I don’t want to go into spoile
Filled with magic, dueling lands, and a continent on the brink of battle, The Waking Land was a fantastic first installment in debut author Callie Bates' new trilogy.

Lady Elanna Valtai has spent the past 14 years living in the kingdom of Eren. Brutally taken from her home in the land of Caeris at the age of 5, she has since been raised by the King as a sort of adopted daughter. Tensions between the King's blood daughter and Elanna have always been high, but now that the King has been murdered,
Judy Lesley
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group Ballantine De Rey. Thank you.

When she was five years old Elanna had been kidnapped for political reasons and by the time this story takes place she is nineteen and has come to look upon her kidnapper as a father figure. That was a pretty important idea for the story which wasn't explored as much as I think it should have been. Now Elanna is involved in a political movement again, also against her will - at lea
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Waking Land had potential to be a captivating novel, and though I did enjoy reading parts of it, my interest waned in the last quarter. Despite a strong opening, I had some difficulty getting into it due to being written in first person present tense, but I did find Elanna's internal war with herself added some interesting dimension to the protagonist and mainly kept reading because of that.

However, it was a fairly standard, predictable story in the end, and I did not find the prose, charact
LORD this was boring. i was soooo close to DNF-ing it, and i kinda wish i did, because it did not improve. i strongly disliked the main character - she was so stuck up and annoying and made stupid decisions - and i also didn't like the side characters that much. i found that they kinda changed personalities and i literally felt nothing when one of the main characters died. i was barely skimming this book by the end, and i was just so confused throughout the book? probably because i was skimming ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Not quite 4 stars but I'll definitely read the next one. ...more
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Callie Bates is a writer, harpist and certified harp therapist, sometimes artist, and nature nerd. When she’s not creating, she’s hitting the trails or streets and exploring new places. Her debut fantasy novel, THE WAKING LAND, is forthcoming from Del Rey Books in 2017.

She is represented by Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates.

Other books in the series

The Waking Land (3 books)
  • The Memory of Fire (The Waking Land, #2)
  • The Soul of Power (The Waking Land, #3)

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