Long live Solaris.
One bloodthirsty ruler has been overthrown by another, casting the shadow of death over the Solaris Empire. Vhalla Yarl stands upon the stage of fate, prepared to do battle one final time. Fragile alliances will be tested and new bonds will be formed as the world is reshaped. She fights as the champion of peace, but when the night is darkest will she be able to pay the price of a new dawn?
I received this review copy from the author in exchange for an honest and timely review.
It's with a heavy heart that I rate the fifth and final book in the Air Awakens series, Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova, 3/5 stars. That rating is by no means a bad rating, but it crushes me to give it considering I gave the other four books in the series 4/5 stars each. There was just something about it that did not entrance me the way the previous four did.
The entire series earned a 4/5 stars from me, though, and I give that rating happily. For reasons unclear to me right now, the fifth book didn't really 'do it' for me, but the series definitely did and I highly recommend it.
Most of the characters that we know and love developed further in Crystal Crowned: some made us cry, some made us cheer, some pissed us off. When I say us, I obviously mean me, but I feel better imagining that I'm not the only one who felt this way. The Biggest Character Development Award goes to Vhalla. Aldrik came a long way since the first book, but Vhalla came farthest. The Vhalla I read in Crystal Crowned was a completely different character while still displaying the finest qualities of the library apprentice we all started reading about. And the best thing about her complex, five-story arc, was that it was natural and not only because of the situations and environments she was forced into, but because it's who fate needed her to be, who she would always become since her first day. This series spoke of destiny and fate, and I was not disappointed in the journey Vhalla took to reach her full potential and achieve her destiny.
Crystal Crowned felt slower to me than the previous books. That might be why it took me so long to get through it unlike the others. The beginning started off slow, attempting to start and end storylines all at once, and didn't pick up speed until the last quarter or so. The story was told in distinct sections that almost seemed to correlate with the locations they inhabited.
In line with the pacing and the distinct sections of the story, one of the more interesting sections was near the end and didn't last nearly as long as I felt it should have. It seemed like it could have been a great storyline for this final book. Because I try to review without spoilers, I'll just say that this involved Vhalla and Victor (not romantically, gag). #Vhaldrik
Speaking of #Vhaldrik, the romance between them had also slowed down and became even less of a focus in Crystal Crowned. This time, the focus was on their love maturing more than their love making. While I was disappointed in this (Hahahahaha, I am #Vhaldrik trash through and through) it was nice to see this well-developed relationship come to a point that's been building since page one. Crystal Crowned seemed to focus more on their relationship as Emperor and future Empress, which was expected (and good), but just not what I was used to and expecting from this final installment.
Now I know this review might seem more negative than positive, but just know that I did enjoy Crystal Crowned and definitely the series as a whole. The ending of Water's Wrath set up a hard journey for our cast of characters and seeing how it played out was important for me, as a reader, in my own journey to closure with the series. While I can't say that I felt each character experienced their own closure, the book did end in a satisfying way that left me asking a minimum number of questions, but still wanting more--not so much so that I needed to harass Elise Kova for more details and a spin-off series, though (Mind you, I did consider it and I do need a spin-off).
And on one last final note, I know you aren't supposed to judge books by their covers, but this series has the most beautiful covers that you can totally judge the books by. The covers are the reason I first looked into Air Awakens and I don't regret it one bit. So. freaking. beautiful.
Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova, the fifth and final installment in the wonderful Air Awakens series, will be available to read and devour on July 12, 2016. I hope you'll pick up the entire series and love it as a whole like I did.
LONG LIVE SOLARIS.
About the Author
Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she s not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).