Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Book Review: Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Pages: 368
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: April 4, 2023
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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. 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.

Shadow and Bone meets Lore in Rebecca Ross's Divine Rivals, an epic enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel filled with hope and heartbreak, and the unparalleled power of love."

Iris Winnow is down on her luck. Her brother has enlisted to fight in the war and she hasn't heard from him as he is missing. Her mother lost her job due to her alcohol dependence, which left Iris to quit school early and venture out to find a job to survive. She is a talented writer so she gets a job at the Oath Gazette and while there she finds herself competing for a job as a regular columnist. It's very hard to separate her home life and work life as her home life is a mess and this spills over into work. She has to compete for the job against Roman Kitt, a wealthy and connected budding journalist who is the polar opposite of Iris. He has family money and his dad loves to interfere in his life by controlling his son and his opportunities. Iris misses her brother greatly and despite not knowing where he is, she writes him a heartfelt letter, and then doesn't drop it in the mail, but rather puts it in her wardrobe. Lo and behold the letter goes missing and a reply is in its place. Iris doesn't know this, but Roman is the one replying and these two form a beautiful correspondence where they share their thoughts and feelings. The letters change Iris's outlook and when she has the opportunity to leave town, she does and heads to the war front to investigate why there are so many missing soldiers as well as her brother's whereabouts. Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross is a strong start to a compelling YA fantasy series and while I had some issues with it; overall, it was a solid read.

Iris is a bit of an underdog in 
Divine Rivals. How could you not root for her? Her mother is a mess, her brother is missing at war, and it's up to her to save things. I enjoyed her job at the Oath Gazette; it felt very Lois Lane to me and Roman, although he has good intentions, has so many more opportunities than her given his familial connections and his meddling father. I really enjoyed their rivalry and the ensuing friendship. Roman's life at first glance may seem perfect, but he deals with a lot at home and he is even being pushed into an arranged marriage that he doesn't want. Their letter writing (even if she didn't know it was Roman writing back) only added to their connection and slowly feelings formed.

My only issue with 
Divine Rivals was the setting. I liked the historical feel to the story (there are typewriters, etc), but I didn't quite buy into the Gods piece. It felt a bit more historical than fantasy and not a full fledged fantasy novel. Who are the Gods? Do they mettle in mortal's lives? What time period is it? I didn't quite buy into that aspect of the story and due to that, the setting didn't feel entirely fleshed out to me. I recognize there's magic in the story as well (the wardrobe! the letters!), but it never was a big focus, so I wasn't quite sure if Divine Rivals knew what kind of book it wanted to be.

Nonetheless, Iris and Roman's story sucked me in and the last few chapters of 
Divine Rivals were captivating to the point that I will definitely have to pick up book two in the Letters of Enchantment series to find out what happens next.

Have you read 
Divine Rivals? Did you pick up the sequel yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. The underdeveloped setting is kind of strange, but I'm glad it didn't hamper your enjoyment too much!

    1. After I let go of my issues with the setting, it ended up being an enjoyable book for sure! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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