Also by this author: The Alchemists of Loom
Published by Silver Wing Press on July 12th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Amazon ♡ Chapters
Long live Solaris.
One bloodthirsty ruler has been overthrown by another, casting the shadow of death over the Solaris Empire. Vhalla Yarl stands upon the stage of fate, prepared to do battle one final time. Fragile alliances will be tested and new bonds will be formed as the world is reshaped. She fights as the champion of peace, but when the night is darkest will she be able to pay the price of a new dawn?
Series In Review
Please Note: This is a review of the ENTIRE SERIES. There WILL be spoilers. To see our individual reviews for the individual books please click the following:
Disclaimer: We received advanced copies of all the books in the series for review. This in no way affects our opinion of the novels.
We LOVE this series. Like we shout about it from the rooftops (and don’t throw people off of them) because we are so impressed that not only is Elise self-pubbed, but she has also written an intricate and imaginative story that has really brought something to the YA Fantasy canon. Also, this book series brought us together, so we will always hold it in a special place in our hearts.
Throughout the course of the series, we loved seeing how Vhalla Yarl went from timid library apprentice to badass mother fucker who didn’t let anyone stand in her way. Vhalla doesn’t let anyone define her or put her in a box because she realizes she is so much more than just one label. She is a woman, an apprentice, a magic user, a soldier, a lover, and a friend all wrapped into one by the end of the series instead of being just one of these aspects of herself as we had seen in some of the earlier novels. Vhalla becomes hardened by the war, but she doesn’t let that stop her from openly loving everyone in her life that is worthy of love. She takes the good with the bad and allows herself the opportunity to grieve the past and move onto the future. We loved seeing Vhalla’s transformation because it was the best part of these novels.
The magic system in this series is well thought out and makes sense. There are distinctly laid out rules that everyone has to follow, and we see the consequences of breaking them throughout. We think that the elemental magic was by far the best fantastical part, but we were also happy to see some other aspects of magic brought in, especially the Bond. Jamie thought that while sometimes the Bond was a bit vague and used in ways to bring Vhalla and Aldrik closer together, she was really happy with the limits and the way that the Bond was used to further the story. On top of this, there was the crystal magic which was SUPER intriguing. It was magic in the purest sense and corrupted (most of) those who used them, so we loved watching people in power fall all over themselves to be able to have one aspect of the crystals. It truly showed that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Dani loved Vhalla and Aldrik’s relationship. She was the #1 shipper of the ship in this series. She loved watching Vhalla realize that she could be someone that Aldrik truly loved and that she was worthy of said love. Dani also had the biggest heart eyes for Aldrik opening himself up completely to Vhalla and letting her into all his darkest places, making himself extremely vulnerable to her, and choosing her in the end. Dani felt that there were many highs and lows in their relationship overall but was very happy with the ending that Vhalla and Aldrik received.
Jamie loved the high stakes nature of the series. There were actual consequences for every action — and most of them resulted in death! She loved that we got to see the messy details of life on the front lines while also seeing the politics and power plays that those in charge were doing behind the scenes. Jamie also really loved that one woman decided the fate of the war and could easily turn the tides. She loved it even more because Vhalla actually did so. Upon seeing how the people in the North were humans, Vhalla decided she couldn’t just kill them, so she found a better, more humane way of ending the war. And instead of the “ha ha you are woman go make me a sandwich” that we typically see in these situations, the Generals respected her opinion because she was well versed in battle strategy and history.
Another great aspect of this series is that characters were allowed to make mistakes and weren’t shunned for it. We got to watch the characters rise and fall and rise again, and we were rooting for them the whole time. Even though this series was drowning in good magic and politics, it was a character study. And the characters did not disappoint. We got to see them be more than just a stereotype and grow into themselves all while fighting a battle no one asked for (except the Emperor but he sucks). The best moments in Earth’s End were seeing everyone around the breakfast table talking and joking even though they knew they could die at any moment. It was these types of scenes that made the Air Awakens series so strong.
In regards to Crystal Crowned specifically, we had a couple issues that made this a four star read. Both of us thought that the pacing was a bit off. In the previous novels, it seemed as though the characters had a specific direction they were headed in and just happened to hit other places along the way; however, in Crystal Crowned, we felt as though the characters were moving sporadically so that things could happen to them (almost like a checklist of things), and it didn’t feel as natural as it had in the past. We were both EXTREMELY sad about Daniel’s ending because we thought he had so much more potential to influence the series, and that sputtered away at the end with the way his character was treated.
But the best parts of Elise’s writing and the progress of the Air Awakens series really shone through in Crystal Crowned. The stakes were higher than ever, the final battle was full of action and tender moments, and there were HEAs galore. We were happy-sad with the way it ended because it was an excellent closer to this magnificant series, but also *cries* it’s over.
The two of us recommend this series if you are looking for a high fantasy that doesn’t skirt around gore, allows its characters to make mistakes, has a passionate romance, and magic that you will try at home (AND IF YOU SUCCEED, LET US KNOW). We cannot sing high enough praises about Air Awakens, and we hope that everyone will pick this one up and read it. Now we just have to wait until January for Elise’s next novel, THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM!
Best Moments In The Series
We are pretty sad that Air Awakens is over because what are we going to talk about now. We racked our brains and came up with the ten best moments throughout the entire series. Please note that there are spoilers for the series, but no character deaths are spoiled in this section.
- Vhalla finally taking a stand for herself and her magic to her BFF Roan in AIR AWAKENS.
I want a place you hardly dare to even whisper. I want the bravery to not only read, but to do…So listen, I am going to go into this world, and I don’t care if you and your narrow mind cannot be a part of it.
- Vhalla looking a windstorm in the eye and saying “nah you guys go ahead, I’ll take care of it” in FIRE FALLING.
Vhalla spread out her feet and planted them, bracing herself. She held out her bare hands into the wind. If she could make a storm, she could end one.
- Baldair, the love of Jamie’s life, giving Vhalla and Aldrik their night alone together in FIRE FALLING.
Baldair cleared his throat for their attention. Aldrik pulled away only a fraction, his eyes searching her face. His hands ran over her cheeks, down her neck shoulders. He stared at her, at the broken and scarred creature that she was in amazement.
“I’ll go stay with Raylynn tonight, I think,” Baldair announced.
- Vhalla proving that true love outweighs everything and abandoning everything to save Aldrik’s life in open defiance of the Emperor in EARTH’S END.
Vhalla’s heart competed with Baston’s hooves for the loudest sound in the forest. This was either the smartest or the dumbest thing she had ever done … She was abandoning her post; she was ignoring the will of the Emperor – the man who owned her. One act of defiance after the next, she had made her choice … He [The Emperor] may own her physical being, but he did not own her heart or mind.
- Daniel being the peach he is and trusting Vhalla’s magic as she helps the front lines in EARTH’S END.
Vhalla had control, but it was difficult at best, and she wanted to move as quickly as possible. Thankfully, Daniel recovered from his awe faster than others, and he strode forward. Vhalla watched in her own amazement as he walked directly under the tower, putting total faith in her magic. Her chest swelled at the healing symbolism of the act. Daniel’s hair whipped around his face from the torrents of air at the base of the tower before he crossed to the other side.
- Jax in general, but we fell in love with him at this moment in EARTH’S END:
“You two move well together,” Baldair said ineloquently.
“Must have great sex,” Jax snickered from Aldrik’s right.
“Jax!” Baldair groaned.
- The flashback to Aldrik carrying Vhalla to safety (after he pushed her off the roof) because hadlhdaklshdahd. HE CARES.
- This quote from EARTH’S END because VHALDRIK IS REAL:
“You must be asked.”
- The #ShadyMinister showing his true colours in WATER’S WRATH and Jamie being proven right from her initial thoughts after reading AIR AWAKENS.
He began to laugh slowly. The unfamiliar icy fingers bit deep into her flesh. The noise echoed disjointedly from his body, not belonging to the lips they emerged from.
- Fritz and Grahm getting their HEA. Because they are pure and sweet and too good for this world and all that is in it.
Bonus! Elise’s Favourite Moment
We asked Elise what her favourite moment was in the series and she listed a couple. Here is what Darth Kova loved from her series:
- The dancing scene from AIR AWAKENS
He held out his hands, and she crossed the remaining distance. His right hand timidly landed on her waist and her right hand settled in his left. She placed her free hand on his shoulder and, ever so faintly, they heard the echo of music across the water. He stepped first. It was a slow dance with deliberate steps.
He didn’t possess the flair that his brother did, but he didn’t need to. Vhalla felt his movements through his palms, the shift in his waist, the closeness of this way or that. They danced together to a faint melody drifting across the water, among the star-filled pools, with the heavens shining down upon them. She closed her eyes and felt him with every sense she possessed.
- The epilogue in CRYSTAL CROWNED because it was from Elecia’s Point of View.
Under the spoiler, Jamie talks about one moment she could have done without throughout the series. It pains her to say this and she still gets teary-eyed thinking about it.View Spoiler »
BALDAIR DYING. I HAVE FOLLOWED HIM INTO THE DARK BECAUSE MY LIFE HAS NO MEANING WITHOUT HIM.
« Hide Spoiler
What did you think? Let us know in the comments, making sure to preface any spoilery comments with “SPOILER DISCUSSION”.
- Where you happy with the ending of CRYSTAL CROWNED?
- What was your favourite book in the Air Awakens Series?
- Who was your favourite character?
- If you could bring one character back to life, who would it be and why?
One lucky person will win a complete set of the Air Awakens ebooks (or we will fill in your gaps, whichever you need)! International. Ends August 20th, 2016!
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