Published by Silver Wing Press on August 27th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads. All opinions are my own.
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.
I went into Air Awakens not at all sure of what to expect. I had never heard of the series or the author Elise Kova before and had only purchased the book because it was the topic of an upcoming Books Are My Fandom chat. Sadly, my schedule did not allow me to finish the book in time to participate in the chat, but since then, I have finished reading Air Awakens. So what did I think of it? What a wonderful read this turned out to be! I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end. I may not have heard of her before, but Elise Kova is on my radar now and I really cannot wait to read more of her books!
What I Loved:
Fascinating Main Characters:
Vhalla: What’s not to love about a socially awkward bookworm protagonist who learns she has magical powers? As soon as I read the line “Vhalla wasn’t exactly good at relationships as she preferred to spend more time with books than people,” that instantly made her a character I could relate to and I always prefer books where I make that kind of connection with the protagonist.
I also found her overall struggle very compelling. The search for identity and trying to figure out one’s place in the world is one of those universal themes that we can all relate to. In Vhalla’s case, the search for identity is compounded further by the fact that she has been told all of her life that magic is bad, something to be avoided and shunned. To embrace her magic abilities is to fly in the face of everything that she and her family and friends have ever known. How will those she loves react if she becomes a sorceress? As Vhalla says, “she would be eighteen and had never made a decision for herself that mattered.” And now she has to make a decision that could change the course of her entire life!
Aldrik – Aldrik is perhaps one of the most interesting characters in the book. Even though he is the Crown Prince, he is still basically the black sheep of the royal family because of the stigma associated with magic. He’s dark and brooding and can also be condescending and a bit obnoxious. To further cloak him in mystery, throughout the kingdom, there are many rumors swirling around about terrible things he has supposedly done with his magic. Part of the fun of Air Awakens is actually trying to unravel the mystery of who Aldrik really is.
What you realize, especially once he meets and starts to interact with Vhalla, is that there is a lot more to Aldrik than meets the eye. As a sorcerer himself, Aldrik of course has his own motives for wanting Vhalla to embrace her magical abilities and at first, he forges full speed ahead with his agenda. The trouble Aldrik encounters, however, is that when he’s with Vhalla, he always seems to say and do the wrong thing, even endangering her life at one point because he acts recklessly in pursuit of his goal. Aldrik is horrified by his own actions and when he goes to Vhalla to apologize, he starts to let his guard down and we see a whole different side of him – a side that makes him much more endearing both to Vhalla and to the reader.
Baldair – Baldair, or the Heartbreaker Prince, is basically the polar opposite of his brother, Aldrik. Where Aldrik is dark and brooding, Baldair is golden and a huge flirt. Where dark rumors about magic surround Aldrik, gossip about romantic conquests surround the royal family’s golden boy. On the surface Baldair appears to be all fluff and little substance, but yet something about his relationship with his brother really intrigues me. I can’t tell exactly where they stand with one another and that adds a layer of complexity to everything Baldair does, especially when it comes to Vhalla, whom he really has no reason to interact with at all, yet goes out of his way to do so. Does he like Vhalla? Is he being nice to her to get under his brother’s skin? Is there more to it than that? I’m hesitant to boil it down to just being a love triangle, because it seems like something more is going there. I’m hoping future books in the series will unfold the exact nature of the relationship.
Secondary Cast of Characters:
Aside from Vhalla and the two princes, there’s also an assorted cast of secondary characters that are equally entertaining, each in their own way. I especially liked Larel and Fritz, the other sorcerers we meet when Vhalla is first introduced to the Tower of Sorcery. With all of the plotting and uncertainty surrounding Vhalla’s magical dilemma, Larel and Fritz emerge as friends who seemingly have no other agenda than ensuring that Vhalla can make an informed choice when it comes to her magic. Roan and Sareem, Vhalla’s friends in the library, are also very relatable and likeable characters.
I loved that the magic in this series is elemental in nature, based on earth, air, water, and fire, as if the sorcerers are literally forces of nature. And not only is Vhalla magical, but she actually possesses the ultra rare quality of being a Windwalker, the first in 150 years! That rare quality makes it even harder for her to choose between her old life and her new one because if she says no, when might another Windwalker come along? I liked the glimpses of Vhalla’s magic that we get as she is first experimenting with it, but I also liked that because she is such an unknown quantity, being the only Windwalker, that the other characters in the novel are learning what she can do at the same time the reader is. I thought that was a pretty unique way for the action to unfold.
I liked that this novel had so many different layers to it. It’s a coming of age story, a romance, a tale of magic, and it’s also quite political in nature in terms of who wants to harness magic for their own use versus who wants to eradicate all magic and what they’re willing to do to achieve those ends. I don’t want to say anything to spoil the end of the novel, but let’s just say that Senator Egmun is definitely a character to keep your eye on.
The Pace of the Novel:
Once you start reading, you won’t want to put it down. This is one of those addictive “just one more chapter” books that will keep you up half the night reading to see what happens because the story is so engaging.
What I Didn’t Like:
Other than the fact that I would have liked to see more magic, especially from the non-air elements, I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about this one. And I’m assuming I’ll get to see plenty of magic as I move through the series, which I fully plan to do!
Who would I recommend this book to?
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in a quick, entertaining read and especially to fans of fantasy. It reminded me a lot of Red Queen so I think if you liked that book, you would probably really enjoy this one. I actually enjoyed this one more than Red Queen because where I had trouble relating to Mare and her obsession with the men in her life, I liked that even though Vhalla also had men in her life that she was interested in, she stayed more focused on the important choice she had to make.
Go ahead and give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: 4.5 stars