The Continent (The Continent #1) by Keira Drake

 

The Continent (The Continent #1)
by Keira Drake
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Release Date: January 3rd 2017
Genre: Young Adult

Rate: Enjoyed it (4,5 stars)

Synopsis:
For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two “uncivilized” nations remain perpetually at war. Most citizens tour the Continent to see the spectacle and violence of battle—a thing long vanished in the Spire. For Vaela—a smart and talented apprentice cartographer—it is an opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.
But an idyllic aerial exploration is not to be had: the realities of war are made clear in a bloody battle seen from the heli-plane during the tour, leaving Vaela forever changed. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, she has no illusions about the true nature of the danger she faces. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.
The Continent, for me, was one of those YA books that you don’t know what to expect from it. I started reading it not really knowing what I was going to encounter, but I ended up loving it.
And what’s The Continent? Because that’s what all this book is about. Vaela has lived all her life in the Spire, a pacific and what you could call an utopian place where there’s peace, no hunger and everyone works in order to provide something to the society. But all that changes when Vaela’s parents gift her a trip to see The Continent, a dangerous place where two nations are constantly in war.
What I liked about this book is the not knowing what direction was going to take. I didn’t know what was going to happen or what to expect from the story. Some other books, by reading the synopsis, you have a clear idea what’s going to happen throughout the story, but I could have never imagined all the things I read in Keira Drake’s book.
About the main characters, Vaela and Noro, I liked that they were strong and powerful characters in their own individual selves. Vaela, for instance, came from a wealthy family, she has had everything since she was born, but when tragedy strikes and she finds herself in The Continent, alone, without food, friends or help you see how resilient she is. Which was a surprise, since I was hoping to find the typical “damsel in distress”. She was approachable and felt real all at the same time because she made mistakes and had to learn how to keep going from the moment she set foot in The Continent. Plus, her grief was also very real and you could see how it was not dismissed by the author at any moment.
On the other hand, Noro was the complete opposite. He knows grief and what it means to lose the people you love on a regular basis. He is a survivor as well as kind and gentle. I liked that he didn’t “help” Vaela all the time, but wanted to help her learn and see that she could also do it. But it was also super cute to see how deep down, no matter how hard he tried or how much he taught her, he couldn’t resist being preoccupied over her.
Their relationship was not an insta-love one, which put that extra likeness to the story. Noro did not made a move on Vaela until she had come to terms with her grief and with who she was now at The Continent. So you can say that it was a progressive one and their moments together are beautiful but yet brief for those of us who love the couple so much.
The story was a raw one. The main character, Vaela, was a wealthy, carefree cartographer at the Spire who heard about all the stories and battles going on at The Continent, who thought it was sad that it happened and had a lot of progressive thoughts that could lead to a solution. But at the same time was curious to see in first hand what was going on. Until she sees for herself that all those stories are awfully real and happening, that it was brutal and that death was everywhere for no reason at all and they, The Spire, were doing nothing to prevent it. Sound familiar, guys?
Why I am not giving the 5 stars to this book? Simply because I truly started loving it when Vaela was with the Aven’ei, when she made friends and started being the Vaela she truly was. That’s when the story really starts to escalate and go super fast from a reader’s point of view. Because you just want to know what is going to happen and who’s going to remain at the end of the story. And that’s how I know the second book is going to be a powerful one, too. I am just dying to start reading it and, of course, to see the cover for this title.
Full of friendship, love, war, grief, adventure, tragedy and deception, The Continent is one of those stories that will blow your mind and that you will need more of it when you are done.
Listen to my book playlist for The Continent
“…He said that itzatsune rarely marry, which is fine with him, because girls are – I quote him here – ‘always trying to kiss him,’ and he doesn’t have time for that sort of thing. And he insists that he shall be far more skilled than even you when he finally achieves the rank.”
Noro leans back, smirking. “Did he now?”
“Yes, he did. He’s quite sure if himself.”
“I will never give up hope,” I say, but wonder half a second if this is true.
She shrugs. “Hope for things that are possible, then. Hope for clear skies amidst the storms of summer, or for the safe return of our warriors from the battlefields at Sana-Zo and the Narrow Corner. Hope for a happy marriage and many sons, if that should please you. Never hope for peace, Vaela. Not here. Not on the Continent.”
“I can’t help it. After all, hope is not sustained by the likeliness of a thing, but by the desire for it, and it is my dearest wish that you and all your people would know the peace I have described.”
He smoothes a lock of hair away from my cheek, tucking it behind my ear. “I hope for you to live a long, happy life.”
“Nothing could prepare you for what is to come, Vaela. Nothing on this Earth.”
I’m Keira Drake—I write YA fiction, usually with sci-fi/fantasy elements. My debut novel, THE CONTINENT, will be published by Harlequin TEEN in January 2017, and I am represented by the incredible, illustrious Jim McCarthy at Dystel and Goderich Literary Management. I’m so looking forward to sharing my books with the world!