A Magical First Book

The Waking Land - Callie Bates

3.5
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 raise in this kingdom she becomes part of their culture, absorbing their beliefs and customs. When a death/murder happens and she forced to face her old home and family the culture clash and old hurts scar everything for this young woman.
Faced with who she really is she explores her nature, her magic that she has always hidden. This is really a fantastic part of the book. She is part of the earth, part of the ancestors souls, connected to the world. Her magic is at the center of a political war, her power coveted. She resents and relishes this at the same time.
Why wasn't it a 5 star read for me:
The romance is slow and frustraiting at times. They would separate, come together talk or not talk, ignore or cling. While I loved the love interests it bordered on obsession one chapter to disappearing in the next. I didn't love the courtship process, it felt jerky and without a natural flow.
It dragged on a bit too long on several sections, the mountain lessons, the traveling, the rehashing on the same thoughts. It needed so trimming for this reader. For a first book this was was amazing, it is rare to hit it out of the park with #1. Bravo Ms. Bates