Air Awakens – Review

A Library Apprentice, a Sorcerer Prince, and an Unbreakable Magic Bond…

Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this cover art is?

 

I just picked up and finished “Air Awakens” by Elise Kova in three days. Oh, how I’ve longed for a book like this! I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve read a book that really engaged me, and that all the books between books like this are just fillers. Mediocre, barely decent fillers.

Air Awakens is set in a fantasy fiction world complete with magic and princes. Now before you start thinking that this is a fairy tale story, stop. I won’t deny that I rolled my eyes at the idea of it too. “Plain ordinary girl discovers she has rare magical powers, meets a prince, and is swept up into the war of her kingdom.” Excuse me? Is this a Disney movie?

The answer is a resounding no.

I implore you to ignore your knee-jerk reaction to what seems to be a bland repeat of an overused story. Air Awakens is so much more.

Let’s start with the setting. It does have a typical fantasy world with swords and magic. We have the kingdom of Solaris that is full of royalty, warriors, and sorcerers; some of which aren’t exclusive. Solaris is made up of the southern, eastern, and western regions. The northern region is the last that Solaris is attempting to conquer, and so they remain at war. The different regions also have different opinions on its sorcerers. Some are fearful while others are reverent.

I’m the latter. The sorcerers within this series are of the elemental variety. Each sorcerer has an elemental affinity that affects what type of magic they use. There are Firebearers, Windwalkers, Waterrunners,  and Groundbreakers; fire, air, water, and earth. Magic is not inherent in everyone, and it isn’t genetic. Magic chooses the person. Once it has, your powers remain dormant until they begin to “awaken”. I am really drawn to the way Kova’s magic works in this series.

Vhalla, our heroine, has been a library apprentice in the Imperial Library nearly her entire life until her powers begin to awaken. I really like Vhalla. She is intelligent, hungry for knowledge, and simply refuses to be ignorant. At the same time, she isn’t without her faults. The author did a very good job of making sure that her main character was balanced. Her development is also very well written, and you never reach a point where Vhalla abruptly becomes mature, all-knowing, and powerful. I can really appreciate that Vhalla’s personality stayed true to character throughout this first book. She struggles, and as a reader it made her all the more believable.

And then there’s the crown prince, Aldrik. Oh, he’s not the Prince Charming that fairy-tales have painted in all of our heads. He’s quite the opposite, although he is charming in his own unique way. Aldrik was the character that had me raising and furrowing my eyebrows all throughout the book. For me, he was the curve-ball that threw this story off of its dangerously close path to mediocre fantasy fiction. He was enigmatic, dark, unpredictably delicious. Ahem. I refuse to elaborate on him too much, but I will tell all the ladies that he is far more swoon-worthy than any other prince I’ve read about in the most untypical ways.

It is very special to me when I find an author that knows how to write and develop a romantic relationship properly. What I mean by properly is that the relationship develops at an appropriate pace while the character’s personalities remain true to themselves. Elise Kova has done just that. Vhalla wasn’t mindlessly falling head over heels for the prince, and Aldrik wasn’t immediately and inexplicably attracted to her. We don’t have two perfect characters falling perfectly in love with each other and riding off into a perfect sunset. Too many perfects? Exactly. These two have their faults, but they learn to appreciate each other’s good points and that eventually develops into feelings. Who would’ve thought?

I also have to commend Kava for even breathing life into her side characters. For once, I didn’t feel like they were just added (annoying) fluff. They had enough substance to them that you actually did care for them a bit, at least.

For an introduction to a new world, kingdom, magic, characters, ect., Kava does a great job of informing the reader of everything without dumping vast amounts of information at once. Because of that, the pace of the story isn’t dreadfully slow and it isn’t rushed either. There just the right amount of drama and intrigue to keep you turning the pages. I actually ended up reading this in the morning before work, during lunch, and in the evening before bed. I finished it three days, and immediately purchased the next book, Falling Fire.

I’m giving this book:

 5/5

I enjoyed it immensely! If you are looking for a new series that has pieces of fantasy, adventure, and romance all mixed in quite well, then I suggest you read Air Awakens.

Also, I’m crossing my fingers that someone else will read it because I really need to discuss this book with someone! 

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Schools that Read Together: Cultivating Reading Communities at the Secondary Level by Heather Rocco

Here is an inspiring project by a middle school and high school to encourage young people to read. This truly warms my heart. I hope to one day be a part of such an initiative.

Nerdy Book Club

Approximately three years ago, Chatham Middle and High School teachers implemented an independent reading initiative for their students. There are many components to implementing an effective independent reading program, especially at the middle and high school levels.  To explain all we did (and do) requires a much longer blog post or, say, full texts written by brilliant educators like Donalyn Miller or Penny Kittle (our IR muses).  Instead, I’d like to focus this brief post on one of the most surprising, yet inspiring results of our independent reading initiative.  This initiative strengthened our school community.  

All our students have one thing in common – books.  They are readers.  They know the classmate sitting next to them reads.  They know their teachers read.  They know that they belong to this community.     

Community of Readers

Books bring people together.  Readers have book clubs, book stores, libraries, used book sales, GoodReads…

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Random Topic #1: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

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I think the only constant in my desires for a career as a child were animals. I always wanted to do something that was related to animals.

Some of the first careers told to you as a child were:

  • Doctor
  • Teacher
  • Astronaut
  • Pilot
  • Veterinarian
  • Firefighter
  • Police Officer
  • President
  • Soldier
  • Actor/Actress
  • Writer
  • Artist

Of course, I wanted to be a veterinarian! I mean, it is the highest or near the highest paying career you can have that involves animals. I guess they really wanted us to shoot high! Go big or go home, eh?

So for a few years that was my default answer any time an adult asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a child, that was a common enough question. As an adult that does the asking or hearing others that ask, I wonder if we just do it to hear the cute answers they give us. I don’t think many adults take it seriously. I mean, we just sort of chuckle when they tell us that they want to be an astronaut or doctor, right?

Returning to the original topic, my answer to this question changed a few times. One that I remember particularly was that I wanted to own a pet treat business. I wanted a little shop where I could make homemade pet treats for pet owners! I’m pretty sure that I got this idea from watching something on Animal Planet, haha.

A little while later, I got it in my head that I wanted to be an animal trainer. I wanted to understand animal behavior and work with them in that respect. I’m sure I really had my heart fixed on working with more exotic animals, but I think I would’ve settled for dogs and cats.

I have to admit that I have many interests and passions. Throughout middle school and high school, the answer of what career I wanted changed a few times. They included animal behaviorist, environmentalist, writer, teacher, translator, and historian to name a few.

Because of my indecisiveness, I’m very glad that I decided not to start college right out of high school. That would have ended badly for me and my finances.

As an adult, I can now confidently say that I want to go to school to study English as my major with the hopes of working at a publishing company. I really want to be a driving force in releasing new books into the world. I want to make a difference in helping the book industry survive even as things convert digitally. I believe it is really important for young people to develop a passion for reading if not just an interest.

If not a publishing company for books, then I’ll probably seek out an online magazine or website to write for. I think I’ll be happy as long as I’m contributing in some form or fashion.

Here’s to hoping that works out!

So, as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

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