I’ve somehow kept up with my book reviews but not my travel reviews. Whoops! Lots of travel recently and no computer, so those will begin again on Friday. Anyway, on to the review!
I’m not sure if people have figured out how I pick my books, but it’s usually one of two ways: Free and/or awesome cover. This was – again – one of the books I found on my BookBub daily e-mail, which I have figured out has caused me to spend probably $50 on books in the last couple of months. BUT, the majority of them are free, and I probably have 100 new books. So, I love it and you should sign up. Anyway, I thought the cover looked kind of like anime and I’m a sucker for elemental fantasy books, so I took a stab.
Vhalla Yarl works as a lowly library apprentice in the Palace of Solaris, doing everyday apprentice librarian things. Her mother died when she was young and her father was in the military and got her a position (begged her one) in the Palace working. She’s been there for seven years and pretty much having a fine life.
One night, a rider comes through and he’s been poisoned. Turns out it’s the Prince – the Heartbreaker Prince that Vhalla has a crush on. She uses all her skills and knowledge to look up everything about the antidote that could save his life, then passes out eventually. Well, it turns out that it wasn’t the Heartbreaker Prince but his angry older brother, the Crown Prince aka The Fire Lord. He is a sorcerer that can control fire: a very powerful one. Two men come to visit Vhalla in the library and kidnap her to take her to The Tower, where the sorcerers reside. It turns out, she’s a sorcerer! But sorcerer’s are looked down upon and mistrusted, and Vhalla doesn’t want to be one, so she asks for an extension to figure out what she wants to do. She keeps getting followed by other sorcerers and receives messages in a book given to her by one, Larel, from “The Phantom” that persuades her to think about her fear and hatred towards sorcerers and look into their history. It turns out the Phantom is the crown prince, Aldrik, and he wants to be her mentor. He takes her to the top of the highest tower and pushes her off.
Turns out, Aldrik knew she was a Windwalker, or someone who has an Affinity for Air, which hasn’t been seen in about 150 years when the North tried to take over the East. Each geographical region has an Affinity, and the Eastern Windwalkers were all wiped out. There are Firebearers, Waterrunners, and Groundbreakers. Vhalla is the only know Windwalker and the Crown Prince wants to use her for war. Vhalla doesn’t like people telling her what to do and negotiates another delay. She threatens to Eradicate herself – take away her power – if they don’t let her. Of course, they want her, so they give her the time.
She ends up training with Aldrik though, who apologizes for pushing her off the building, but it was to Awaken her power. They train together and spend lots of time together and it’s clear they have feelings for one another. But Vhalla 1) doesn’t think he’s interested and 2) knows he’s the Crown Prince, so she tries to date a friend of hers that clearly likes her. But when she tells him she’s a sorcerer, he flips out and she’s hurt.
Vhalla ends up meeting the Heartbreaker Prince, Baldair, who tries to seduce her but fails, and invites her to the big Gala for the annual Fall/winter celebration. Vhalla knows that she’s going to choose to go into the Tower, so she dresses in all black – not traditionally worn to the Gala – to signify to Aldrik her choice. They dance, but as they go outside there is an explosion. It turns out some spies from the North pretending to be jugglers blew up the center of town where the majority of the celebrations for the normal people were going on. Vhalla realizes her two friends – the two ones that were mean to her about being a sorcerer and turned their backs on her – were down there and she rushes to find them. She finds Roan, who is alive, but the friend she tried to date, Sareem, is dead from the blast.
Aldrik had run with her, not believing her safe, and the Northern spies attack both of them. They fight, Vhalla and Aldrik are both wounded. The Northerners threaten to torture Vhalla in front of Aldrik, who can’t keep up his charade that he doesn’t care for her. Aldrik is about to die when Vhalla creates terrible windstorms that rip the Northerns to shreds and knock her out.
She wakes up in a prison cell, with the Head of the Senate there with his two lackeys who beat the crap out of her. She’s dragged before a court of Senators and the Royal Family and charged with a multitude of crimes, including a plot to kill Aldrik. When Aldrik figures out the Senator’s lackey’s beat her up, he has them killed and two of his own people sent to guard her. She’s treated better, but the trail isn’t going well. Because of her ability and the fact that most people don’t understand it or lack sorcerers, means that she’s probably going to die. But her old Master of the Tome (he runs the library), the Minister of the Tower, and Aldrik plan things out that add to her side. It turns out, though, that she’s charged with the lesser crimes (endangerment, destruction of property, and impersonating a noble) and sentenced to go to the northern front to fight in the War. She has no experience and it’s basically a death sentence. Should she try to run, Aldrik will have to kill her.
Next, she begins training…
When this book first started, I was afraid I was going to give it up. It was written in a juvenile manner, a bit, and seemed a bit to…easy. But when Aldrik was introduced, I really liked the two of them together and the story went much faster. The writing grew with the growth of the character, and I do like Vhalla. She’s not perfect – just smart – and Aldrik counters her well. It’s a really simple read, with neither too much action or not enough. I immediately wanted to go on to the next book, which I find out doesn’t come out for another month! Woe! But, the fact that I wanted the next meant that the plot (and the romance that isn’t consummated) left me hanging. I’m hoping it gets more action and romance as we continue.
Rating: 3.75/5 stars