Series Name: Letters of Enchantment, # 1

Review By Veronica

Divine Rivals is a beautifully written novel that captured my attention right from the first page, and didn’t let it go until the very last word.  

Favourite Quote:

Iris’s heart beat swift and hard within her chest. When Roman finally looked at her, time seemed to stall. His eyes were keen, as if he could see everything that dwelled in her—the light and the shadows, her threads of ambition and desire and joy and grief. Never had a man looked at her in that way before.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this book. I’ve read most of Rebecca’s other books, and they have all surprised and amazed me. Her storytelling abilities are masterful, and her writing is always clear and concise. I am happy to say that this book blew all my expectations away. I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what I want to say about it because it stunned me with how unique and rich this story is. 

Divine Rivals is this wonderful blend of romance, fantasy, and, I would even say, historical fiction. The world that Kitt and Iris live in is at war because of two gods warring against each other. This is a great book for bookworms looking to dip their toes into the fantasy genre. The fantasy elements in this story are present, but they’re not over the top and aren’t the story’s main focus. For those who love fantasy novels but want to read something a little different, this book will be right up your alley. Rebecca has created an interesting world that feels like our world but with this amazing fantasy twist. The reason why I stated that this book feels like a historical fiction novel is because there is this real-World War I feel to the war and home front aspects in this book. At the story’s beginning, everyone thinks the war will be over by Christmas (a sentiment British society had during WWI). The style of war is trench warfare, another similarity to the First World War. There is also this element of propaganda and censorship, which was also present during the war. I loved the historical connection woven throughout this book. It made the story feel so rich and real.

The story isn’t incredibly fast-paced like most fantasy novels would be. But the pacing is steady, and I loved the way the story unfolded on the pages. The story is told from Iris and Kitt’s POVs, and there is a wonderful mixture of first-person narrative and written letters that Kitt and Iris exchange. I really enjoyed the pen-pal relationship Iris and Kitt had. Iris doesn’t know that the person she has been sending letters to is her rival, Kitt. For his part, Kitt knows right away that Iris is this mysterious pen pal and fears if he tells her, she will stop writing to him. 

As readers, we get to follow Iris and Kitt, first as they compete for a position at the local newspaper, then we follow them to a village close to the war front, and finally, we follow them to the trenches. There is this real rivalries to lovers trope feel to their growing relationship. I loved these two together and apart. Their characters are real, raw, and have so much depth. I loved that sharp and witty banter between these two at the beginning of the book. That banter slowly changes to something deeper and more romantic as these two spend more and more time together. The romance in this book is so beautifully woven throughout. And be warned, this book ends on one emotional and gripping cliffhanger. I had to go out and grab the next book because I needed to know what was going to happen next. 

Everything in this book works well together. The world-building and lush history are really well thought out. Rebecca does a great job of slowly feeding her readers the background information they need to understand what is happening in this world. I loved the mythology around the warring gods and cannot wait to see how their roles in this story unfold. The secondary characters added so much heart and depth to the story. 

Divine Rivals is a riveting and emotional novel that is sure to sweep you off your feet.