#BOOKREVIEW BY @LRWLEE OF WATER’S WRATH

WatersWrathCoverMy love affair with the Air Awakens series continues with the newly released Water’s Wrath!!!!! SO GOOD!

SUMMARY (from back): Librarian turned sorcerer. Sorcerer turned hero. Hero turned puppet.

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.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Elise Kova does it yet again. If you follow this blog, you’ve seen my reviews of the first three books in the series and they have all been glowing with 5 stars…well deserved 5 stars at that for she never ceases to disappoint.

I love the situation we find Vhalla in at the beginning of Water’s Wrath, having fled the grasp of Aldrick/Emperor Solaris at the end of Earth’s End. She is helping in a bookseller’s shop. While it’s not the library, it’s about the next best thing. So be still my heart. I enjoyed Vhalla’s interaction with Roan, the owner, and how they just seemed to enjoy one another’s company with no expectations attached…something that’s been foreign to Vhalla for too long. She desperately needed the break and it gave her a chance to begin processing events and heal.

This proved the springboard to Vhalla coming in to her own and becoming a stronger woman, comfortable in her own skin and not gaining her identity as a by-product of Aldrick. That was cool to see. And then we also get to experience Aldrick maturing and going through a similar change, on his own. As we experienced with the violent upheaval in their relationship at the end of Earth’s End (I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that:) ) maturing was needed on both their parts.

And then there was a part that… *breathes deeply to hold back tears* it was yet another heart-wrenching story with a character we have all come to know and love. I will not give it away, but suffice it to say, you’ll know when you get there. But because of Aldrick’s and Vhalla’s maturing prior to this, they both endured, certainly hurt, but able to go on.

Elise plotted this book very well, using the crystal axe and people’s motives surrounding it, to move the action forward, which certainly came to a head at the end in a very unexpected way. I won’t say more for I will not ruin the ending, but it set up the final book, Crystal Crowned very well. I can’t wait to see what Kova allows our beloved characters to experience in the end, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that Vhaldrick will live happily ever after…PLEEEEAAASSEEE.

I give The Water’s Wrath 5 Stars!

Buy Water’s Wrath on Amazon

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Earth’s End

Earths EndThis book touched my emotions in so many ways! Earth’s End by Elise Kova made my emotions soar, just to turn them raw. Rarely have I felt a book so deeply.

SUMMARY (from back): 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.

WHAT I THOUGHT (WARNING THERE ARE SPOILERS!): Elise Kova is proving to be a master storyteller! I wanted to believe in the fairy tale relationship of Vhalla and Aldrick. I longed to.  At the beginning of the book the narrative picks up resolving the angst left at the end of Fire Falling where we didn’t know if Prince Aldrick perished in his fall or not. I sweated three long months refusing to believe he could have died. And I was right- woohoot!! This discovery shortly into book three eased my heart’s trepidation and I was off on another adventure, happy as a lark.

Vhalla and Aldrick grow much closer and even intimate during the middle of the book, causing my skin to tingle and sending my heart a thumpin’ . I saw the trust they shared and rejoiced for them – could life get any better for the pair??? Yet Kova couldn’t let us live in a fantasy realm, for there is a deeper narrative to be told and she began sprinkling hints that Vhalla was glossing over Aldrick’s faults…starting with his drinking. I will admit I, too, glossed over the prince’s faults in my hunger to view him as Prince Charming.

But even after Vhalla fulfills her vow to the Emperor, gaining the respect of everyone in camp in the process, things come to a head. Oh how I loathed the power-hungry dictator. Very few authors have created villians that get under my skin like this man, but when the emperor asserts himself, we are clear that he controls everything and the lives of everyone within his domain–I cringed. We in America take our freedom SOOO for granted–I was not made to live in subjegation to anyone but the Law, but everyone in the Solaris empire knows a very different truth. Kova did a brilliant job of revealing more of this antagonist throughout the book.

And then the end, the last third of the book, arrived. The first time I read it I kept saying “No! No! This can’t be happening!” I wanted to plug my ears and squeeze my eyes tight and make the upheval stop! I mourned what unfolded and found myself devastated and nearly screaming out in anguish alongside Aldrick.

So I read the book a second time after a day of decompressing…yes it was that good…and found more perspective as I was less emotionally charged. Amidst the chaos, Kova shows us that Vhalla and Aldrick’s relationship is toxic for they are the world of the other and neither has formed a foundation upon which to build something lasting…yet.  Vhalla comes to this realization first and it is only her courage that plunges the pair into a time of learning and personal growth.

This end to the book is very different to the panic from book two. It is a sober recognition that we must each become our own person before we can truly love another. While I resisted “going here,” I’m thrilled Kova is leading the way and I’m anxious to see what the pair learn about themselves in book four.

I gave this 5 stars with no reservations!

Buy Earth’s End on Amazon

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Fire Falling

FireFalling1 Ooo la la… What can I say to this deeply vulnerable and sweetly romantic second installment in the Air Awakens series, Fire Falling, by Elise Kova.

If you love Sarah J. Maas, you’re sure to enjoy Elise Kova!!

SUMMARY (from book): Soldier… Sorcerer… Savior… Who is Vhalla Yarl?

Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life. As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster?

WHAT I THOUGHT: In this installment, Vhalla leaves the protection of the castle to fulfill the sentence the Senate decreed, for her involvement in the events of the night of wind and fire that threatened the life of Prince Aldrick. She marches to war under the command of the Emperor who plans to exploit her talents to conquer the North. To him, she is a lowly, worthless commoner who has become a distraction to his son and he makes no attempt to hide his feelings.

While most of the book covers the 3 month march north, the author takes what could be a rather boring and monotonous trek and makes it anything but. We see so much more of the deep love Vhalla has for Aldrick, a love she has desperately tried to deny, for she knows acknowledging it would set in motion changes she’s frightened to confront.

For Aldrick’s part, we watch his affections for Vhalla mature and discover he, too, has tried to deny his feelings for not only is a relationship with a commoner taboo for royalty, but he believes his past struggles, murders, and uncertainties make him someone to be shunned rather than loved.

SPOILER: I particularly loved the scene where Aldrick comes to Baldair looking for Vhalla in his brother’s section of the camp. After being apart from Aldrick for a time for her own safety, Vhalla hears Aldrick asking his brother about her. She sneaks out of her tent and in little more than a whisper, calls his name, drawing his attention. The conversation/events that ensue cement for both of them their true and undeniable feelings for each other. Whew… What a beautifully moving scene Kova wove together.

While this is only Kova’s second novel, she touches on vulnerabilities and insecurities we all deal with and feelings and emotions we long for. Seeing the host of passionate fans who have responded to these themes, I know she will do very well as an indie author. Well done. I can’t wait for book three!

I gave this book 5 stars!

You can watch Elise read from Fire Falling on Book Nerd Paradise’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/ptocpKE3VxI

Buy Fire Falling, Book Two in Air Awakens (at Amazon)
Buy Air Awakens, Book One (at Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Air Awakens

AirAwakensAn engaging storyline. A strong heroine. A complicated future.

Air Awakens is the first in the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova.

SUMMARY (from back): 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.
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WHAT I THOUGHT: To the commoner, magic is a misunderstood and scary phenomenon. To those gifted with it, it’s a weapon to be wielded. From the four corners of the kingdom, different magical affinities originate: Firebearers from the West, Waterrunners from the South, and Groundbreakers from the North.

But what of the East? For more than a century a societal prejudice has existed against Windwalkers, magicians from the East. For something happened that had the race exterminated. While hints are offered as to why, there’s much more to understand as we meet Vhalla Yarl, a commoner who works in the royal library. Impossibly and unbeknownst to her, she is a Windwalker and her powers are about to be manifest despite her efforts to deny them. Imagine yourself holding to cultural narratives that magic is ‘bad’ just to find it is part of you. But confront it she must.

Aldrick, the eldest Prince of the kingdom (a powerful Firebearer in his own right), deduces her affinity when she saves him from a mortal wound when he is injured in battle–her research produces the cure the Royal healers are unaware of, as well as a magical Bond between them that begins to heat up in a forbidden relationship.

Through Vhalla’s trials, we see her emerge as the strong heroine she is as she grapples with the choice before her to embrace her Affinty and begin a new and unfamiliar future, or have it removed and follow a familiar and comfortable path. As you would imagine, forces are at work to prevent the latter, not the least of which is a trial at the hands of the Senate over her actions that threatened the prince.

All that said, a professional editor should have gotten hold of this work before it hit the shelves. I found numerous missing words, words used incorrectly and the like that a professional set of eyes would have quickly fixed. It just drives me crazy when such a good work is compromised for such a simple thing. As a reader, I don’t want to think about the mechanics. I want to get lost in the story. I would have given this 5 stars but for that, for which I deduct 10% and give this 4.5 stars.

 Despite the poor editing issue, the engaging storyline had me hooked and book two left me begging for more.

Get Air Awakens Book One (at Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.