Earth’s End by Elise KovaEarth's End by Elise Kova
Series: Air Awakens #3
Published by Silver Wing Press on February 11th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 350

A woman awoken in air, a soldier forged by fire, a weapon risen from blood.

Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.

2 Stars

Excuse me, please move aside. Wrecking ball coming through.

Air Awakens was a solid (even if a little unoriginal) start.
Fire Falling was a static, romance-soaked mess.
Earth’s End – I’m actually proud of myself for still giving this two stars when I feel like I need to break something right now.

I have, however, finally figured out what went wrong for me after the first instalment.

In my opinion, Elise Kova cannot write good romance.

He was the start and the end of the world, the glue holding together her fragile sanity. He was everything, and without him she was lost.

There was an abundance of phrases like these. No. Just no. Regardless of who you love, you are still an independent individual. There’s a we but there’s also you. If there’s no you, it’s unhealthy, it’s dangerous, it’s pathological. I don’t like this kind of romance where the main character needs the love interest to breathe, to function, to live. Aldrik showed an equal amount of neediness towards Vhalla, which was even more unsettling: co-dependence. Sure, it happens in real life. And we all know what happens to those people when their relationships break apart. I don’t expect fictional characters to be perfect but I expect a) either an unhealthy behaviour to be shown but condemned as such or b) for the character to be a Goddamn role model and get a grip on life. It was not my intent to offend the author or anyone who feels personally affected by my statements but this is just the way I feel about hyper-co-dependence and therefore the romance in this book. Furthermore, I hated how it deformed the characters, consumed their personalities until there was nothing left but luuurve. We get endless, inner monologues from Vhalla about her smoochy bear. And Aldrik who was once this fierce, feisty character is a shadow of his former self, a love-struck puppet spouting cheesy endearments. (And after the hundredth “My lady, my love”, I swear, I just wanted to reach through the pages and shake some sense into him).

Let me point out a few positive things before I unleash my rage on that disgusting thing Kova calls an ending:

Vhalla, although needy and clingy, was finally able to reap the rewards from her years as a library apprentice and show off her knowledge. I like it when heroines get to use their brains and put a bunch of fat-bellied noble warlords in their place. She was brave and saw her own plans through. At times, she was also selfish and narrow-minded but I think none of us can look into the mirror without admitting that we also have a little selfishness in us. It’s human.

The power struggle between the Emperor and Aldrik was juicy.

Jax. He’s got spunk.

The plot was okay. It never reached the level of excitement Air Awakens evoked in me but it also didn’t drip with gooey romanc-y crap. (I mean there was a lot of cheesy, unhealthy romance, yes, but it still felt like less than in Fire Falling).

But Kova made it all go straight to hell with that ending.

With one paragraph, she destroyed everything her characters had worked towards, Aldrik’s behaviour being the most obvious flaw. You can’t make a character go through character development and then change him back 180 degrees in an instance. No. The world does not work that way, not even when a plot device is required. Secondly, I could not for the life of me understand WHY Aldrik, after being the most caring love interest, resorted to a) obvious and brutal lies, b) degradation, c) slut-shaming, and d) violence.

TO WHAT FUCKING PURPOSE MAY I ASK??? The plot could have run the same course without him shaming the woman he loved. And if the answer is “He was trying to protect her by pushing her away” – OH PLEASE! JUST… STAHP. That’s so Edward Cullen. My gag reflex would appreciate it if no such thing would be uttered in its presence. Because that’s just cheap.

As of now, I and this series are done. Over. Splitsville.

mulan emperor out photo: Mulan: Emperor Out 43a969ab.gif