February 27, 2016

Better than Avatar | Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Air Awakens
Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)
By Elise Kova
Air Awakens #1
Published on August 27, 2015 
377 pages
Young Adult, Fantasy

This book was provided to me from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

Vhalla wakes up in the morning as a library apprentice, content with her place in the world. She works in the stacks of books, reads more than she probably should, eats, and goes to bed. She fears the magic in the Tower of Sorcerers just like everybody else. 
But her view of the world changes with the letters from a mysterious writer and the new feeling that is awakening within her. 
This magic that is suddenly apparent in her becomes a problem in a world where magic is frightening and shrouded in mystery. Vhalla must decide if she is willing to pursue her new magical path in life or if she will reject her magic and the responsibilities that come with it. That decision is rather complicated when both the Minister of the Tower of Sorcery and the Crown Prince both had secret agendas that involve Vhalla and her powers.


Does anyone remember Avatar the Last Airbender? If so, you are now one of my favorite people. For those of you poor people who missed out on this amazing TV series, Avatar the Airbender is based on the story of Ang, who has the power to control all of the elements, air, fire, water, and earth. He goes on a quest in order to master all of the elements and protect his world from the threat of war. Air Awakens reminds me of a more mature and complex version of Avatar the Last Airbender. We are definitely not talking about the movie with the blue aliens, just saying. Air Awakens has the same amazingly personal characters, exquisite setting, and a intriguing elements of war and romance that Avatar did. 

First of all, I could immediately connect to Vhalla because she is a hardcore bookworm. She works in a library and spends more of her time reading books instead of organizing them, which I respect. She was also such a relatable character. She had frizzy, wild hair that refused to be tamed, insecurities about boys, and her sarcasm was on point. Kova incorporated thoughtful details into Vhalla's character that made me love her even more. I also love how her passion for reading is carried and incorporated throughout the novel and not just thrown in as a token. Bookworms are frequently considered nerdy, detached, and sometimes even weak. But man, did Vhalla prove all of those stereotypes wrong. Her character development was incredible and believable. I loved her transition from a rather naive librarian to confident sorcerer. 

I also loved the setting of the world. The culture and the atmosphere of the lands were described well and without dragging paragraphs of descriptions and history of the world. There was a bit of groundwork in history that had to be built in the beginning of the novel, but Kova masterfully handled the history of her world by gradually incorporating historical stories instead of info-dumping. 

The romance was a bit much at times and the pseudo-love triangle was a tad annoying, but I can live with that. I also believe that Vhalla's reaction romantic relationships greatly improved throughout the novel and I have high hopes that the love triangle will not make an appearance in the rest of the novels. 

That being said, I am not going to keep my thoughts on the pseudo-love triangle a secret-- I am completely rooting for Aldrik. He is the definitely a bad-boy with a soft heart, which is always the one that I end up falling for. He starts off as an aloof prince who could not seem to care less about a mere library apprentice like Vhalla, but anyone would be able to tell how much he really cares. He also takes his job as Crown Prince completely seriously and he tries to protect his country and his people. I cannot really think of anything as attractive as that. 


Air Awakens is a beautiful and intriguing take on elemental magic that I would recommend to any fans of fantasy, especially to fans of Avatar the Last Airbender and Snow like Ashes by Sarah Raas. If you like a good story with dynamic characters in a wonderfully developed setting, you will love Air Awakens.

Are you a fan of Avatar the Last Airbender? What is your favorite book with elemental magic? What do you think of characters who are bookworms? Do you like books about elemental magic, or do you prefer more complex magic systems? 

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