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!

 

 

 

Alan Rickman, Always.

When I sat down on the couch this morning with my cup of coffee, the last thing that I expected was to hear such saddening news.

Alan Rickman has passed away. My heart dropped. It was so unbelievable to me at first that I spent a lot of time confirming the legitimacy of the news.

Announcing his death on Thursday, a family statement said: The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.

I was stunned and heartbroken instantly. I have always appreciated Alan Rickman’s work even though he became most famous for playing villains.  There was just so much about the way he carried himself in each role that, even if you disliked his character, you developed a certain respect for that character. Then there were other gentler movies like Truly Madly Deeply and Love, Actually where he showed us all how diverse his talent was.

His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word. The intransigence which made him the great artist he was – his ineffable and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me, and the fact that he never spared me the view. I learned a lot from him.– Emma Thompson

Alan Rickman’s spectrum of talent was most brilliant, in my opinion, when he took on the role of Professor Severus Snape in all eight of the Harry Potter movies. People familiar with the series know that Severus Snape was a highly complicated man. He was the professor that you loved to hate, until he revealed his true nature beneath the cold sneering exterior. This was a character made for Rickman, and I don’t think that anyone could have brought Professor Snape to life quite like Rickman did.

Truly, his death today has felt as though we’ve lost Professor Snape himself. That is how closely he represented Snape for me. I’m sure he had the same profound effect on a lot of Harry Potter fans.

Rest in Peace, Alan Rickman. You will be missed so very much.

alan-rickman

 

5 Reasons You Should Be a Potterhead

I’m a twenty-five year old Potterhead. You may or may not know this, but the fact remains. I’m so much of a Potterhead that I reread the series every 3-4 years when I get the itch to. A few days ago, I got that itch and last night I started the first book.

Over the years I’ve spent talking to Harry Potter fans and non-fans alike, I’ve come to realize a few things. For one, people either love it or they don’t want anything to do with it. When I run into folks of the latter variety, I prod. Most responses are, “It’s for kids”, “Too childish”, or they just scoff at it like I should know better, grow up, and move on. (Well, that’s not happening.)

I mention this because my boyfriend was one of those folks. Just the mere mention of the name “Harry Potter” had him shaking his head at me. He thought it was a childish fairy tale of magic, wizards, and unicorns, and that he wouldn’t like it all at. Boy was he wrong.

So we watched (I, rewatched) the Harry Potter movies.  Now, fellow Potterheads, don’t bite my head off. I couldn’t get him to read the books (yet) as he’s a movie buff. The first movie was just a test. When we moved into the second and third, I started to slowly accept that he might actually be enjoying them. Seven movies laters, I had him convinced. He admitted he was wrong and that he actually really liked the story!

Here was someone that dislikes most fantastical things, and he really liked Harry Potter. This made me realize that the impossible is possible, and that there are many wonderful things about this story than just magic and unicorns.

  1. Characters

While the title of this series is, “Harry Potter”, don’t let that fool you into thinking that all you read about is Harry. Harry’s story is at center stage, of course, but his is a story that involves so many characters that you simply can’t and won’t disregard them.

Not only are there many, but they are all of different ages, races, and even species. If you feel as though you won’t be able to relate to the young Harry, you won’t be at a loss. There are as many adult main characters as there are younger ones, and ones in between for that matter. You may very well find that Harry Potter isn’t your favorite character in this series at all!

  1. Story

The story starts out simple, if not magical, enough. As it progresses, however, you are gradually lowered into a story with so much depth and intricacy that your head will be spinning by the end. Harry Potter just doesn’t go off to Hogwarts to learn magic and all is done and well. Trouble is destined to follow him, and it does.

There is certainly never a dull moment, and plenty of high intensity scenes to be found in this story. At the same time, there is a lot of mystery and intrigue. Just as Harry Potter doesn’t understand this new world he’s been thrust into, you don’t either. You learn with him and his closest friends, and it’s that experience that makes you feel as though you are growing with them.

I should also mention that this isn’t the happy-go-lucky story that everyone thinks it is. That seems to be a popular misconception. It doesn’t even particularly start out that way what with a double murder being described in the first few chapters. It isn’t painted with rainbows and glitter, and you’ll find that it progressively gets darker the farther into the series you get.

  1. World

Speaking of depth and intricacy, let’s talk about the world that Harry lives in. The years are 1991-1998, in a world where ordinary non-magical folk (muggles) and magical folk (wizards and witches) live separately. The wizarding world is kept secret from muggles, of course, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t as rich and wonderful as one might imagine it to be. If one is adept at magic, he/she is most likely sent off to a wizarding and witchcraft school. It is here that they learn all there is to know about their world, and it’s not just spells! They learn many different subjects from potions and divination to history and herbology.

After their schooling, they go on to pursue a myriad of occupations available to them. The depth that J.K. Rowling developed when she made this world is no small feat. She left no detail untouched, and it makes it all the more believable.

  1. Love and Loss

If you thought that there couldn’t be anything less sentimental and romantic than the Harry Potter series, think again! This series is full of love and romance in several forms. New love, parental love, first love, friendly love, tragic love; you name it and this series has it! You have so many characters of all different ages all experiencing love in some fashion or another. You have those who’re experiencing it for the first time, and those who’ve been feeling it for decades. There are relationships that develop and end, some that last, and some that you never saw coming!

As for loss, you need only read the first few chapters of the first book to understand that a reoccurring theme within this series is death. It’s not only the precursor to the story, but a part of it as it moves forward. I would definitely suggest that you keep a tissue or two around!

  1. Lessons

I can guarantee that if you read this series, you will end it having felt the important messages left within it. Life and death, power/abuse of power, love, prejudice, freedom, and free choice are deeply entrenched in the whole plot. J.K. Rowling states that she prefers to let themes “grow organically”, rather than sitting down and consciously attempting to impart such ideas to her readers. She doesn’t spell them out for you, but you feel them as you move through the books.

So how about it?

Are you a Potterhead that agrees/disagrees? Were you once apprehensive and now interested?

Please feel free to comment below!