Series: Air Awakens, #1
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: August 27th, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Other Books By Author: Debut
“I want a place you hardly dare to even whisper. I want the bravery to not only read, but to do. I want a man, not a library boy. A man who is tall and witty and knows more about the world than you would ever dare dream.”
A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…
The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.
Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.
Okay, let me start off clear- while this book wasn’t the best I’ve ever read, it was pretty damn good for a debut. Overall, there were a few smaller details that could’ve been fixed, but I thought this series was off to a great start.
Let’s start at the beginning: immediately, there’s this airy, almost whimsical feel, with the library, tower, ‘windwalker’, etc. The first chapter was somewhat slow but bearable, though the ‘phantom’ notes started to get tiresome at a certain point. This all changed when Aldrik came in- I couldn’t help but love his character. Vhalla and Aldrik had a slow relationship, so no insta-love or countless paragraphs detailing pointless phrases (his hair was beautiful, his abs shone in the starlight (forgive me…I’m bad at examples)). I rooted for Aldrik and craved chapters where they met- all their conversations seemed natural, and every reaction/interaction didn’t seem forced. This aspect of the book was done stunningly well.
By the end of this book, I had a few main thoughts: Though the worldbuilding was off to a great start, I would have liked some more details on geography, history, magic, and the royalty- it is incredibly easy to mix up those from the East, South, and West. Specific place names would be amazing and memorable (I’m sure Elise Kova could come up with great names; Aldrik and Vhalla are magnificent names).
Also, I had an issue with the whole ‘windwalker’ thing: Everyone was so easy to accept Vhalla as a windwalker (had I been there, I would think, ‘First windwalker in generations? HA. As if.‘, and surely there should be more information on them? (It’s not as if Vhalla is the FIRST ever windwalker in history).
The whole love triangle was an issue for me as well. Although Aldrik and Vhalla’s relationship was going slow and realistically, which I love, the love triangle between Aldrik, Sameem, and Vhalla was completely unnecessary (is any love triangle necessary?) It started to get tiresome at some point, and all it made me think was: I hate Sameem’s guts, especially after the chapter where Vhalla reveals her magic. (Because an accepting, true friend would totally just storm off like that without trying to understand.)
The characters were well sorted out- Vhalla was a real character, and her dilemmas and wants were understandable. She didn’t strike me as a ‘Mary Sue’ (FanFiction term: a female character who is ravishingly beautiful, knows every fact of the universe, has all the male characters moon over her- is essentially perfect). Vhalla has ordinary looks, and although she isn’t the God of Knowledge in all areas, she is quite clever. From the start, I never really liked Sameem or Roan- the book didn’t describe their relationship enough for me to get to know Roan, and Sameem was an ass after Vhala revealed her windwalker capabilities. Aldrik was pretty cool, as I mentioned earlier, and I also liked Prince Baldair- I almost mistook him for an antagonist at first, but he really isn’t all that bad, and he kind of reminds me of Prince Arthur in BBC’s Merlin.
Overall, I felt this book was short and sweet- Air Awakens struck me as a very light book, similar to Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The plot wasn’t too heavy and the novel ended at the right place, without being a run-on or the feeling of, say, two books smashed into one cover.
I will definitely pick up Fire Falling with some high expectations, hoping the plot will thicken and new characters will come into play- here in Air Awakens we mainly have Vhalla, Aldrik, Larel, Fritz, and Baldair. Although pleasant, Larel and Fritz weren’t exactly relatable characters I could root for, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have really cared if they were to face an unfortunate situation. Some of the characters felt distant, and someone unique and interesting would undoubtedly give this book a little nudge.
Lastly, I can’t help but be impressed about the cover! It’s honestly a beautiful work of art, and if you see the covers for the rest of the series, Vhalla looks absolutely badass and Aldrik a ravishing, regal prince. The cover artist, Merilliza Chan, also has a website with a few other of her works, so you might want to search it up to see it as well.