The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.
I was very excited for Water’s Wrath. Earth’s End left off with the main character, Vhalla, leaving everyone following the battle in the North. I was eager to see where she went and what she did on her own. But I ended up feeling a bit disappointed. The story didn’t go in quite the direction that I expected, which is fine…I like when the plot is unexpected. But I was left feeling that Vhalla wasn’t dealing or reacting to the events of the first three books. I’d expected either more denial on her part or more mourning for what she had lost or more rage for what had been done to her. I didn’t get a whole lot of any of those feelings. And I felt her reactions to things were inconsistent. She’s eager to fight and kill at one point and then a week later she hesitates and doesn’t want to kill anyone.
The story picks up when Vhalla is reunited with those at court, including Aldrik (I’m not considering this a spoiler…you had to know their paths would cross again). But again I was left feeling disappointed. We learn a bit more about the world and that there are other places off the continent. We learn a bit about the magic in the North and about magic in the world off the continent but it isn’t really explored.
“Across the sea, magic is part of the various peoples; it’s of a different and greater nature that defies the laws we know.”
Maybe (hopefully) we get more of this in the last book. I really felt like knowing that magic elsewhere is different is something that should have been explored. No one ever stopped to learn more or to question what it means, and I wanted to yell at them that maybe they should be asking some more questions and figuring out how this will impact them.
Finally, there’s a character death in the book that truly saddens me. I might be feeling a little oversensitive to character deaths right now after watching a season of TV that killed off some characters in a way that screamed “we’re doing this cause the actor can’t be on the show anymore”. I’m all for writers who are brave enough to kill a character when it moves the plot along or adds to the story. I have issues when the death is what appears to be gratuitous. I know why this character had to die. Their death cleanly closed off a plot option and drives the story in a particular direction. But it felt convenient to me and I like my stories to be a bit deeper than that.
There were some great parts in the book. We learned more about Aldrik’s past, we get more Jax (heart eyes) and the others I’ve come to love, Fritz, Elecia, Daniel, etc. We see our library apprentice turned warrior go back to her library roots. There’s definitely action and some movement forward on the greater story arc.
I struggled with my rating on this one. I had some issues, but there were also parts that I really liked. I’m invested in the series at this point and am looking forward to reading Crystal Crowned, but if this was a first book in a series I’m not sure I’d keep reading. I had high expectations and maybe that coloured my opinion. I’m hoping to do a series re-read in the fall (see, I liked it enough to re-read it) and see if reading the books together makes a difference for me. I’m giving this 3-stars for now, but I may update my reviews after the re-read.
As a lead up to the release of Crystal Crowned there’s a tour-wide raffle:.This is the biggest raffle yet for the Air Awakens series. There are multiple prizes that people can win:
Grand Prize – Complete set of first edition Air Awakens hardcovers signed by Elise Kova (Author), Monica Wanat (Editor), and Merilliza Chan (Cover Artist), plus a swag pack
First Runner Up – Complete set of Air Awakens paperbacks plus a swag pack
Second/Third Runner Up – Complete set of signed Air Awakens ebooks
4 Air Awakens complete bookmark sets