Title: Air Awakens
Series: Air Awakens #1
Author: Elise Kova
No. of Pages: 377
Published: August 27, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Young Adult
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B & N
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. ― Publisher
WHAT I LIKED
Air Awakens started off strong and with one of my favorite tropes! That being, the interwoven delicacies of a tragic hero who has the potential for heroism but never quite fulfills that promise because they become a victim of tragedy ― and let me just say that the tragedy surrounding our protagonist is no meager fatal flaw, it is heartrending! I was gripped and moved not simply because of all the adversity that befalls poor, Vhalla, but because hers is the type of character arc that reminds us of our human frailty and inability to defeat evil forces despite our good morals ― and this is by far what made the overarching story line so affecting and oh so good.
It behooves me to say that only one character managed to truly win me over and it was not our protagonist, Vhalla Yarl ― which is surprising in view of how much I thoroughly enjoyed the tragedy surrounding her character arc, but I’ll get to more of this in a minute. The character I want to place the focus on now is Prince Aldrik who, in truth, is the best character in Air Awakens thus far! Driven by an unknown agenda, his character arc really gave the story a lot of depth and a sort of mysterious intrigue. Too, Prince Aldrik is the quiet strength behind Air Awakens and I found myself wishing that Vhalla matched his depth.
THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMMM. . .
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the tragic hero trope, sadly, Vhalla was not a character that quite grew on me in fact, I was rather vexed with many of her attributes; her main and foremost hamartia being her apologetic and self-deprecating expressions and demeanor; ugh! Granted, I understand that life has been unfair and reasonably brutal for Vhalla, but to heap the blame for everything in the world for the sake of “modesty” and “humility” ― not to mention, the continual self-abasement ― was a bit too much to swallow and really grated on the nerves. As a result, Vhalla came across as a sort of doormat and not a prominent protagonist.
Essentially speaking, character development is the very core of Air Awakens as it decides to dedicate more than 90% of its storyline on a romantic plotline between not 2, not 3, but 4 characters! Yes, you read that correctly, a “love square” is what Air Awakens serves its audience. Even less appealing are the unnatural ways the characters interact with each other and how their personalities consisted of a few exaggerated traits. View Spoiler »There’s the childhood friend who is eerily encroaching; the heartthrob prince who forces his inappropriate and downright shady behavior in an effort to take advantage of Vhalla; and the begrudged prince who pursues Vhalla with his addictive emotional and verbal abusive tendencies « Hide Spoiler. And yet, what I couldn’t take in, was the way Vhalla stood utterly defeated in every situation allowing these men to easily take advantage of her ― and need I mention how incredibly painful and plodding it is to read a plot where every male in the book falls in love with the protagonist?
To boot, often times it felt as though the author attempted to manipulate my feelings or pull on a few strings of the heart all for the sake of “the feels.” While I appreciate the effort, this plot device was not very compelling and as a result, Vhalla’s painful story arc seemed less significant and unappealing.
Lastly, I was extremely displeased that the author didn’t allow the characters room to make decisions for themselves. What I mean to say is, they felt more like puppets rather than characters so richly observed you can’t help but to sympathize with them. It goes without saying that this (and all the aforementioned) is what sorely affected my overall rating of the book.
Nevertheless, please do not allow my low rating of Air Awakens fool you; the book isn’t terribly bad. I simply expected more for a fantasy novel but received a sappy romantic prose instead. It just would have been epic to have seen more of the political intricacies of the court life and fantastical elements in Air Awakens, because when Elise Kova ultimately begins to unravel these aspects of the plotline in the last few chapters of the book, the story held great potential! I would also like to mention that because Air Awakens is remarkably comparable to that of Shadow and Bone and Avatar the Last Airbender (two of my all-time favorite story arcs) my rating was brought down a notch; otherwise, this would have easily been a 3 sparrowhawk rating. Aaaand since I already purchased the second book, I will more than likely continue with the series.
SPECIAL BITS & PIECES
They wanted to kill her, so this Vhalla would die, she resolved, and a new Vhalla would be born from her ashes.
|Drugs & Alcohol||Minor||Mild||Moderate||Heavy||Extreme|
|RECOMMENDED FOR||YA 18+|
Loss of a loved one, some sexual innuendo, fantasy violence ― battle scenes are described in detail, war, terrorism, magic, a prisoner is physically abused and tortured