Where do I begin?
Do I begin with the dazzlingly, gripping plot that never lets you go, taking you on an adventure through the lands of the Solaris Empire? Or what about the slow burning romance between the two main characters, the lowly servant girl transformed to savior of the world and the Crown Prince? Maybe how it’s like reading a combination of Cinderella and Avatar: The Last Airbender with subtleties of The Phantom of the Opera? Or the fact that Elisa Kova self-published this debut work, which is inspiring for other aspiring novelists? *ahem*
For once, Facebook advertisement paid off.
I was scrolling through my news feed when I came across a tailored advert from Amazon about this series. It said something about being like Avatar and Phantom – one I enjoyed, the other I obsess over – so obviously my interest was captured long enough I proceeded to Amazon where I started skimming the free sample. By chapter 13, I was informed my free sample had ended, so I did what anyone else would do in that situation: I download the remaining books in the series.
And I read the entire series (five books) in one week. Monday to Saturday.
I was stunned. Captivated. Entertained. Enthralled. Invested.
Air Awakens was a brilliant, refreshing tale of adventure, romance, Bildungsroman, existentialism, acceptance, and so much more.
It’s a series which should be captivating more audiences, and definitely turned into a mini-series. Now. (Not a film franchise. A mini-series. I’d hate to see what would be cut if they tried to make these exquisite books into films.) Now, it’s not as high-brow of a fantasy epic like Lord of the Rings or The Last Unicorn, but it still falls under this genre.
It has everything. Drama, familial friendships, family conflict, war, magic, political unrest, and, I can’t stress it enough, a slow-burning romance that gives you everything you want in a love story. Passion, yearning, pining, they start off hating each other but inevitably fall in love, et cetera, et cetera.
I simply L-O-V-E-D Air Awakens. All of them.
(The following is a brief summary of all five books, and it definitely contains spoilers.)
Air Awakens begins with the protagonist, Vhalla, waking to the return of the wounded prince, whom she has been summoned to assist. With the other library apprentices, she must search the royal library’s volumes for any information which would aid the clerics heal the prince of his wounds he suffered from the front lines of battle.
Unaware of all the facts, she believes she is helping the younger prince, Baldair, with whom she had a flirtatious encounter in the library only months ago. It is not until a while later she learns the truth. It begins when she receives anonymous notes from a mysterious Phantom who claims she has magical powers, though, the world both shuns and fears magic.
This Phantom begins teaching her about magic, and one day presents himself to her. When she meets her strange tutor, Vhalla realises it is the Crown Prince, Aldrik, with whom she has been conversing this entire time, and consequentially saved as it was her annotations which led to his recovery.
Through a series of events, Aldrik and Vhalla find themselves at conflict with each other. Eventually, however, they overcome their differences, and Prince Aldrik becomes her tutor once more. Though, the conflicts of the front lines soon find their way to the capitol city, and Vhalla is blamed by a scheming Senator as the instigator of such violent terror.
As her sentence for such crimes, Vhalla finds herself marching to battle as property of the Crown (Fire Falling). Along the way, she trains to become the magician, or Windwalker, Aldrik had been cultivating in addition to the new feelings she finds herself developing for her Prince and teacher. At the Crossroads, in a moment of raging passion, she confesses her love to the Prince, and they begin their forbidden love affair.
When they leave for the Northern front, the suspecting king separates the young lovers, abhorring the idea of his son fraternizing with a commoner. However, just as they arrive in the Northern territory, they are ambushed. Prince Aldrik suffers a tragic fall, and soon Vhalla is on the run from the king as she goes deep into enemy territory in hopes of reaching the battle embankment and tent city of the Solaris Army on the other side where the supplies which could heal the dying Prince and her secret love are stored (Earth’s End).
Furious, the king sentences Vhalla to a fate worse than death: slavery. In spite of his tightening grip on her life, Vhalla and Aldrik commit themselves to one another in hopes that upon victory, the king can be persuaded to allow their union. Only victory brings ruin to their dreams of a future together as the king promises Aldrik’s hand in marriage to the princess of the now conquered North.
Vhalla is freed, and she runs away to the Crossroads (Water’s Wrath). Whilst there, she learns more about a secret organisation which has loomed over her in the shadows since her powers were discovered. Upon returning to the Solaris capitol, she finds herself aiding the Minister of Sorcery, Victor, with a plan involving the forbidden crystals. He manipulates and deceives her into helping him unleash their power upon the world, becoming their vessel, stripping her of her power.
His betrayal brings about the final chapter (Crystal Crowned) as Aldrik, now the Emperor of Solaris, and Vhalla unite with the other leaders of the North, East, and West in hopes of raising up an army capable of defeating Victor’s crystal empowered creatures. Through their marriage, the crumbling world is reunited and given hope once more as they seek to destroy the evil threatening to conquer their kingdom.
Now, if that overview isn’t enough to convince you to read this series, I’m not sure what will. Therefore, I’ll end with this…
Air Awakens, while simple, is a great story, one you’ll want to read again and again. (In fact, I already plan on rereading the series.) A good story doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, overtly clever, or full of unexpected plot twists. A story can be good just because the characters are well-developed, the exposition doesn’t drag, and the rising action’s sequence of events is a believable chronology.
What makes Kova’s story great is the passion which fills her pages, and not just between her two main characters. There’s a passion for storytelling which pours out from her heart onto the pages, and as a reader, you feel it. Read it for her passion. It will infect your mind and soul with such an intoxicating desire, you’ll want to continue reading.