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The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal


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Book Review-Letters of Enchantment Duology by Rebecca Ross

In a market that is already saturated with young adult “romantasy” and fiction, it is hard for any one author or novel to stand out from the multitude. Rebecca Ross, with her Letters of Enchantment duology that consists of Divine Rivals and Ruthless Vows, does this effortlessly.
From the prologue, Ross welcomes her readers and immerses them into her world and into the minds of her characters. Ross’ world is reminiscent of early 1900s fashion and technology, interspersed with magical touches that make it immersive but not confusing. Readers who are new to fantasy will be just as absorbed as people who are more familiar with the genre.
Divine Rivals opens on an emotional scene in which our heroine, Iris, is bidding farewell to her brother who is enlisting in the war. Though I, as the reader, had no prior knowledge of them or their relationship, I could immediately feel all of Iris’ emotions washing over me as if they were my own.
And, as yet another testament to her writing prowess, Rebecca Ross successfully navigates something even more challenging. She writes from the perspective of writers. Alongside her own beautiful and intricate prose, she also crafts the voices of her two protagonists, Iris and Roman. Throughout the novel, as they write articles and letters to each other, they each grow into their unique styles of writing, until it feels like you, as the reader, are not looking at the work of one person, but of three people.
Ruthless Vows, as the sequel, does not disappoint either. It picks up seamlessly from where Divine Rivals left off and continues the story, feeling not like a separate book but as simply the next chapter of an evolving story.
This book has all the elements of The Shop Around a Corner and You’ve Got Mail. It has heartfelt letters, and the mystery of hidden identities, while also adding the uniqueness of a new fantasy world. For anyone who loves the 90s and early 2000s rom-coms, the ones with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, this book would be absolutely perfect. This book completely embraces these cliches but not in a way that seems repetitive or trite. Instead, it is as a love letter to those stories, that The Letters of Enchantment books carve out their own place alongside them.

The Goodreads summary of Divine Rivals is:

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.

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