Avatar the Last Airbender meets The Grisha Trilogy in Air Awakens, Elise Kova’s debut novel. Vhalla Yarl is a library apprentice working in the empire of Solaris, along with her close friends Sameem and Roan. Though content, Vhalla lives a mundane, repetitive life, poring over enormous volumes, socializing with her peers, learning and barely thinking about the Tower of Sorcerers, a widely-feared world of magic and treachery. When she receives notes from an anonymous writer, identified only as ‘Phantom,’ Vhalla is suddenly swept into a world, discovering a rare, hidden, elemental talent she never knew she had, all the while dealing with rivalry, schemes of war and romance with a certain Prince Aldrik.
Air Awakens is set in the fantastical empire of Solaris, ruled by the Emperor, a heartless, cruel man who does whatever he can to protect his kingdom. The Crown Prince Aldrik, Vhalla’s potential love interest, is a powerful, mysterious man who is condescending and snappy, but has morals and is good all the same.
Back in the library, Vhalla seems to be nowhere near special. Working alongside Roan, a kind girl who we do not know much of, and Sameem, Vhalla’s friend who secretly harbors a love for her, Vhalla is studious, awkward, small, and plain. After being introduced to the Tower of Sorcerers, she realizes the full extent of her power: in fact, Vhalla is a Windwalker, able to control even the slightest disturbances in the air, and one of the rarest talents of all.
Air Awakens is off to a great start for a series and quite good for a debut. The mood set is consistent, though the beginning was a smidge slow for my liking. Though bearable, Vhalla’s written exchanges with the ‘Phantom’ start to get dull at a certain point, but Prince Aldrik’s character is extremely likeable. Exchanges weren’t forced, and there was no instant love.
Air Awakens was an enjoyable novel. The world building of Solaris was superb, and the characters were well sorted out (for example, Vhalla stayed true to her character and her dilemmas and wants understandable). Air Awakens was a short, sweet read. The novel ended at the right place, and plot wasn’t overly heavy. Though some characters were slightly distant and not connected to the plot as well, I would definitely recommend Air Awakens to any young adult fantasy fan, as the series only gets better and better.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ // 4 STARS