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Rivals: A Read to Remember

Finding+comfort+in+writing+letters%2C+Iris+finds+love+with+the+person+she+least+expects.+
PRISCILLA GO ’26
Finding comfort in writing letters, Iris finds love with the person she least expects.

As journalists, as readers, as fantasy-lovers, and as suckers for a good rivals-to-lovers romance, Divine Rivals was a read to be remembered.

This contemporary romantasy (romance and fantasy), released in April of last year, took the book world by a storm, and garnered over 300,000 readers. Not to mention, the release of this book alongside similar releases played an ingenious role in the rise of the Romantasy genre. Rebecca Ross’s novel also won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy of 2023.

Divine Rivals, the first book in the Letters of Enchantment series, is the story of two young journalists, in competition with each other for a columnist position at their local paper, The Oath Gazette. Iris, the female protagonist, has just bid farewell to her brother as he went off to fight in a war among Gods, and the only way for her to keep her drunkard mother alive and her family together is to get the highly demanded columnist position. Roman Kitt, her attractive and intelligent competitor, is just trying to make his family happy, but their extreme expectations and pressure have led him to a dark place.

When Iris attempts to write a letter to her brother with an old typewriter, it magically ends up in Roman’s closet. The two begin an exchange of letters, poetic and lyrical, that causes them to forge a connection so strong it leads them to the most powerful feeling of all—love. However, Iris is worried: she can’t get a hold of her brother, and she’s supposedly fallen in love with a man she’s never even met. So, she decides to go to the frontlines, under the guise of a war journalist. A true man in love, Roman follows, and the two embark on a journey that has readers on the edge of their seats.

Love on the battlefield, passionate rivals to lovers, a mutual longing, story of two folklorian Gods, all the while unveiling secrets of the atrocities committed in war.

The plot construction of this book was absolutely genius. There were many plot twists along the way, and the novel ended, as any first fantasy in a series does, with a gut wrenching cliff hanger. However, in her pursuit to write a romantasy and fit it in just two books, Ross fumbles a bit, and ends the book with a typical question mark. For some readers, this was just more enticement to await the arrival of the second book, but for others, it was enough to make them give up on the duology and imagine their own happy ending.

Furthermore, the story of the warring Gods is told through the letters exchanged between the rivals. Again, a controversial choice, as this was a good chunk of the novel and not mentioned in the summary at all; so, for some readers, it was pleasant and interesting lore, but for others, it was confusing and an unwanted distraction from the plot.

However, despite its small plotline controversies, Divine Rivals was saved by Ross’ beautiful writing style. Pensive and melodic, Ross kept her readers hooked by the aesthetic of it all. Love on the battlefield, passionate rivals to lovers, a mutual longing, story of two folklorian Gods, all the while unveiling secrets of the atrocities committed in war.

Overall, Ross’ lyrical writing style and riveting plot line along with a heart-wrenching love story attracted readers towards this novel and kept them intrigued through the book. If not triggered by typical fantastical romance novel endings, Divine Rivals serves as an unforgettable and lyrical paragon.

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About the Contributors
JIA SHAH '24
JIA SHAH '24, Copy Editor

Jia Shah is a senior at Edison High School and has been a part of the Eagle's Eye since her freshman year. Aside from writing the paper's book review column with her sister, she is also the copy editor for the Sports and Opinion sections. Jia loves to write poetry, and she won silver key in her sophomore year and gold key in her junior year for the Scholastic Arts and Writing awards. She's also the Editor-in-Chief of the Writer's Wings Literary Magazine and secretary for the Spanish National Honors Society. An avid reader, Jia tries to fill all her spare time up with reading a historical fiction, fantasy, or a thriller novel. She loves history and law, and hopes to pursue a career in international affairs, or human rights as a lawyer.

SIA SHAH ‘24
SIA SHAH ‘24, Copy Editor
Sia Shah is a Copy Editor for the Entertainment and People section. She has been a part of the newspaper since her freshman year. Aside from working for the newspaper, Sia is an editor for the literary magazine, an avid reader and lover of all things poetry and writing.
PRISCILLA GO ’26
PRISCILLA GO ’26, Staff Writer
Priscilla Go is currently a sophomore staff writer for the "Eagle's Eye." Outside of the "Eagle's Eye," she is a proud member of the marching band and indoor percussion, Chinese Culture Club, and STUCO. During her free time, she enjoys playing the piano and guitar, singing, reading, and drawing.
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