by Elise Kova
Love-Hate... Love-Hate? Love-Hate. LOVE-HATE!!
I'm pretty divided about this second volume in the Air Awakens series by the (potentially) totally awesome Elise Kova, whose imagination and writing style just sucks me into the story so I'm committed whether I like it or not.
Aldrik wrestles with himself, showing glimpses of awful past and bad habits... he is also realistically someone who is BAD as in not-good, but who is real and still clings to his belief in what is right somewhere buried deep inside him.
Vhalla grows in confidence at a realistically fast clip. She grows into her magic and fills her trekking boots while finally accepting her own heart and his. I like her friendships and I love-love her grip on her emotions.
I also like Vhalla's friends and the traveling and the romantic tension.
I could've strangled Aldrik and Vhalla a few times over their are-we/aren't-we back and forth, not to mention this looming THING called "next Emperor", which is honestly impossible to navigate around. The current Emperor, good ol' dad, is simply awful and selfish and cruel, which makes me squint at Aldrik wondering if some of his slowly-reavealing bad layers go deeper than we all hope they do. His dad is rotten to the core, so what hope do we have that Aldrik can avoid the spread of rottenness completely?
Then the Emperor pulls a fast-one, which I'll just have to leave that vague because now I'm getting into spoilers, but isn't he always "pulling fast ones"? So he remains within his stinky character and compromises our characters...
And then the author has the gall to end the book where she does. And frankly, I'm still fussing inwardly over the ending and re-writing it in my head... because as far as I'm concerned, it was a fatal ending that set the characters on paths they may not be able to recover from. Ever. And I'm not sure I can talk with Ms Kova unless she can redeem them and there's no way we will have this resolution any time soon. So I'm UN-friending Elise Kova until #4 comes out, just in case.
Very grudgingly I admit that she did something right since my emotions are completely wrapped up in the characters' success/failure, but I still think she might have accomplished the same result with a little more hope and a little less fatalistic-ness. Just saying.
I'll give this story 3.85 Stars b/c I cannot bear to give it 4, yet, and I cannot imagine re-reading this part of the journey (5), but, as I keep hinting, maybe I just need some more resolution. If I was me reading this review, I would tell myself to wait until the final book comes out and read them altogether at once for the best impression. That is, IF Ms. Kova pulls off the impossible. I'm skeptical enough to tell myself to stop after the first book if she doesn't.
We shall just have to see.