Series: Air Awakens #1
Published by Silver Wing Press on August 27th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
Magic affinities for the elements.
Four empires – the North, the East, the South and the West.
The last sorcerer to manipulate Air.
Does this remind anyone of Avatar The Last Airbender?
Now after some Avatar The Last Airbender swoons, let’s move on to the actual review.
Vhalla is a 17-yr old library apprentice in the Imperial Palace of the Solaris kingdom (“The South”), which has conquered all other kingdoms. Vhalla is plain and normal, she likes to read, she has a crush – nevertheless, she’s a sympathetic main character and you will share the love for books with her (she knows every book in the library). But, of course, it wouldn’t be YA if Vhalla wasn’t approached by the Minister of Sorcery in the aftermath of an event that had revealed her hidden powers. Now in the beginning, Vhalla is a stubborn, whiny brat that cannot accept her powers. It’s like the other Sorcerers have to use a crowbar to open her eyes to who she really is. The only satisfaction I drew from her character is that she’s a foul-mouthed thing who doesn’t take shit from no one, not even royalty.
”You bastard.” The words were out before she even had time to consider them, but after spoken she hardly regretted them.
“What did you say?” Prince Aldrik snarled.
“You, my prince,” she sneered in kind. “You are a self-centred, egotistical, self-absorbed, narrow-sighted, vain, self-important,” she felt the anger finally reach its boiling point, “conceited bastard!” Vhalla cried out.
I promise you, however, that she develops some sense of magical badassery in the course of the book.
The quote actually brings us to Prince Aldrik who is a far more exciting, multi-layered character. The crown prince is a sorcerer himself with an affinity for fire, as you would’ve guessed from my Zuko comparison. Also, one of his titles is Fire Lord, so don’t go telling me Kova wasn’t inspired by my all-time favourite anime series. He’s always clad in black, he’s snarky, aloof and arrogant, and he has a temper – and you all know I love me some bad boy royalty. At first, he’s got that I’m-a-prince-and-you-dunno-shit act going.
[To Vhalla] ”It is like walking around with a parrot. No, I take that back, the parrot would be better conversation.” He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
After having deeply wronged Vhalla at some point, he quits being such a dick. He’s still mysterious and swoon-worthy, though. And I loved how Vhalla was always in the dark about his thoughts and intentions.
”Aren’t you lucky to be a prince and not have your mistakes have consequences?” Vhalla remarked sharply.
“They do,” he responded quickly and firmly. “The consequence was the loss of your trust.”
Seriously, these two had me swoon all over the place with their slow-burning romance. I’m totally sold on this antagonistic OTP.
There’s also Prince Aldrik’s younger brother, Baldair. Handsome, blond, “non-sorcery” and with a sunshine personality, he’s the total opposite of his brother. Furthermore, he treats Vhalla real nice and he’s all flirty around her – which has me wonder at which point he’ll screw them all.
Definitely Avatar inspired. The author even says on her profile that she loves anime, so I’m putting 2+2 together here. The question is, was it well done? It’s not the stratospheric level of Sanderson-like world-building where you feel like the fictional universe is actually palpable, but she managed to create world without overly info-dumping, which I appreciate. There are four kingdoms and I am guessing that the affinities to the four elements are associated with those, however there’s some evidence to the contrary in the book. I’m hoping to see some further elaboration in the sequel.
Slow in the beginning, the middle section is devoted to relationship- and world-building where Vhalla discovers her affinity for air and for a certain dark brooding prince, and the ending is all BOOM. Overall, I was pretty happy with how the plot progressed.
This book failed me on three accounts:
– The writing was rather underdeveloped and the 3rd person narrative (although welcome) was at times confusing, because sometimes Kova switched between perspectives within the same chapter, which would’ve been easier with POV chapters.
– Perhaps also Vhalla’s whininess in the beginning. I cannot stand this.
– The cover.
Let me elaborate my issues with the cover. In the book, Vhalla is clearly described as having long, frizzy brown hair. So, is Vhalla a blonde on the cover because we brunettes are not sexy enough for YA book covers? Because in that case I’m sending out a polite “Fuck you” to whomsoever had the last word on that matter.
If you’ve scrolled down and realized that you do not have time to read a lengthy review, let me just say this: Air Awakens has a female version of Aang and this is the story of what would’ve happened if the last Airbender had been raised as an orphaned library apprentice and had fallen in love with Zuko. You onboard?