Series: Air Awakens #3
Source: Digital Copy from Kindle
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Publication Date: February 11, 2016
Rating: 5/5 stars
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.
||"You were not born to be their leader, you were chosen. And that has far greater weight."I finished this one in 2.5 hours. A new record for me. But like it was hard not to devour this one. I have minimal highlights because I could highlight the entire book. Kova really outdid herself this time. This series continually gets better as more layers are added to the story and the characters get more and more complex as time progresses. No character is one thing or another and it is so great to see their dynamics together. But, man, what I wouldn't give to be Raylynn for a night.
I think one of the things really well done in this series is the depiction of war. I've said it before and I will continue saying it: there is no shying away from the real, gritty aspects of war in these novels. There is wonderful (and kinda gross) depictions of the battle and the different elements of the fighting that the characters take part in. I think that is something you don't see a lot of in YA Fantasy, but I am so glad it is included in this one. I love seeing the characters, especially Vhalla, really struggle with the idea that they are killing someone who is just like them: similar ideals, lifestyle, woes and fighting for a cause they really believe in.
I think one of the strongest moments in this one was when Vhalla enters into the Northern stronghold and sees the women and children trying to survive in there. Because she comes to realize that not everyone in the North are monsters or demons but rather human beings. I just had so many fist pumping moments because I am SO GLAD to see war and consequences in a YA novel not getting glossed over. (As I have said before, another good example of this is The Hunger Games).
I love the natural progression of the characters. They are morphed by the circumstances around them and what they have had to deal with, but they also grow because of the interactions they have with one another. In this book, we got a deeper look into Baldair and the Golden Guard, as well as the Lords of the Court. It was so interesting to see the political play of those in charge because it gave more depth to the history of the land and why the war is occurring. It also made me realize that there is so much more happening than Vhalla awakening and learning to deal with it. There are layers upon layers to this story and I am so excited to see where the story is headed. I freaking love high fantasy. And this is high fantasy at it's peak.
And strangely: I am also extremely happy with the ending. I love that beyond anything else, Vhalla is choosing to figure things out on her own. She needs to come to terms with everything that has happened to her over the past year without constantly thinking about boys or what the Emperor is scheming or what Victor is putting in her tea. Okay, maybe the last one is just me. But I need my girl to grow and come to realizations on her own without anyone playing puppet master because she has dealt with that for too long.
Lastly, (wow this is a short review compared to my last one) I have a theory about the crystal axe. I think it runs on blood magic of a sort. (i.e. the more the axe is used to kill (thus gaining blood), the more powerful it/the wielder becomes) But I think for Vhalla, since Windwalkers can't be tainted by crystals, it will just make her have a big ego if she uses it too much. Let me know what you think about that!
Have I mentioned I love this series? You should read this series. Someone finish this book and cry with me over it.