Fire Falling (Air Awakens, book 2) by Elise Kova
Soldier… Sorcerer… Savior… Who is Vhalla Yarl?
Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life. As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster?
Fire Falling is the second book in the Air Awakens Series.
Somtimes I have conversations with the characters from the books I'm reading in my head. This was one of those times. I decided to share it.
A Conversation With the Character:
Shera: Hey, Vhalla.
Shera: Oh, are you in one of those self-pity moods? Should I come back when you've cooled down?
Vhalla: No, you might be waiting a while.
Vhalla: dramatic sigh So what did you want to talk to me about?
Shera: Well. You're bonded to Prince Aldrik.
Shera: You've finally had the revelation that you've loved him since forever.
Vhalla starts tearing up: Y-y-yes!
Shera: Um. Don't start that. You just spent a few pages self-pitying your love and crying. Stop it.
Shera: Oh, dear this won't be ending soon. So besides this bonding, why do you love him?
Vhalla sniffles out: Because I know him.
Shera: Yeah—wait, what?
Vhalla: I just know him. Better than—
Shera: Hold it! Hold it right there. You don't even know the relationship that Aldrik has with his brother. Or parents!
Vhalla: Well, I kind of do. There's tension there, he doesn't want to discuss it. But he'll tell me when he's ready.
Shera: Riiiiiiiight. Just like he told you how people would react to Windwalkers? Or the serious danger you were in as a the only living Windwalker?
Vhalla pouts: But I trust him!
Shera: OK. You trust a man who tossed you off the top of a building because he had vague ideas that you'd survive and that you're Bond would not allow him to harm you. Sure. Winner there. Or that he'd tell you what is currently going on?
Vhalla: He's protecting me. He'll tell me when he's ready.
Shera: Yes, because all of his protection hasn't lead to you currently being property of the Empire.
Well why don't you ask other people some questions? Clearly this dark side of Aldrik that everyone is warning you about is worth looking into? You know nothing about him, he's not giving you answers. He's using you. Most of your relationship is based on meaningful touches and looks. Then he ignores you.
Girl you don't even know his real favorite color. You say black I'll cut you.
Vhalla: We don't have anything! I don't have to explain it to you! He'll tell me when he's ready, and can trust him with my life!
Shera: Oh, god. You're supposed to be smart. You're a librarian apprentice who loves knowledge and learning! You've already been played by the royals and senate!! How are you not asking questions? How can you be in love with a man you know NOTHING about except that he's a mysterious “dark” prince?
Vhalla: I don't have to explain myself to anyone!!!
Shera: OK, so he's off limits. What about your lack of making connections with your magic? Why aren't you trying to ask questions there? How are you not making connections between your magical dreams, what little you do know about your powers, and well just learning in general? You have people around you with vast amounts of knowledge!! You can't rely on how you're magically learning how to fight.
Vhalla sharply turns away and stomps away to resume sulking.
Shera: Mature, like you didn't spend most of the book doing that! God, I'm out. You're another dumb female lead. To Stupid to Live.
It wasn't too long that I realized this should have been a DNF for me. But I was stubborn. The ending of the last book had so much promise. The world—everything—had so much promise! I kept thinking that maybe Kova was just taking a while to warm up to Vhalla and her role in the Emperor's army. That the action and real plot was just around the corner. Then at 27% I had really had enough, but my stubbornness would not quite let me give up. Things started looking up around 33 %! Then this piss of shit line smacked me up side the head:
"If it was an actual competition for Aldrik's attention, it was one Vhalla was winning.” - From Vhalla's head.
What. The. Fuck. (And you guys know I do not like to swear too hard in my reviews. But there's no bleeping this one out.) So. The ending of the first book was a big fat lie. Vhalla didn't become a stronger person. No. She became a sodding idiot! Vhalla had promise, she was smart quite a few times in the first book. This one she was so obsessed with Aldrik. And for what reason?????? She knows nothing about him. The male love interests who are these dark and mysterious men need to go. Vhalla is convinced that she knows him best! Despite not knowing what kind of relationship he has with the people around him, or who he trusts. Her life is in shambles because of Prince Aldrik's lack of information sharing. But she's OK with this.
Vhalla was a librarian assistant. She LOVES knowledge. Yet she never asks question. Never any important ones. Doesn't even think about getting information that pertains to her. Maybe she should try and make herself that warrior she was talking about. The one at the end of the book? The one that would make the senator piss their hoity-toity pants?
Oh, and the best part. This is one of those books where the lead just magically learns how to fight. Sure Kova tries to explain it away by Vhalla's Bond to Aldrik. It just pissed me off. Characters should suffer and grow. They should be HUMAN. You know learn. Not only that but she has magic that know one knows anything about, and she doesn't connect the dots. She knows wind magic isn't just the wind, it's mind. And despite glaring signs that a simpleton, let a lone a “brilliant” mind like her, should be able to pick up on. Vhalla gave me a headache with her stupidity. And with everyone telling her how smart she was.
So Vhalla is wasted because the amazing female lead we were promised from the first book turns into a overly angst and overly emotional twit. Obsesses endlessly over Prince Aldrik. Obsession does not equal love. Who magically becomes a better fighter (AKA character development cop out.) She lashes out at friends. Who do nothing but love and earn her trust over and over again. Can't bet bothered to ask questions. Basically lets everyone walk all over her.
Aldrik is wasted because he has to be “mysterious” and apparently being a bad boy means a jerk. After the emotional does-he-love-me dance where and is hot'n'cold he does man up. Conversations aren't there really there between Vhalla and Aldrik. Readers are told that Vhalla and Aldrik are having a conversation that makes them closer. Or that they're talking for hours on end. Hmmmm.
Those interesting side characters that I was excited to know more about were fed to the wolves. The gay character became a token. Thanks. Vhalla's mentor, who happens to be Aldrik's one and only friend, does get time to develop. But she's only developed for a certain plot point, so it felt wasted. This book does the exact same thing plot wise as the first book, but makes it more insufferable. Thank you again.
The cliffhanger of this book is wonderful. I loved it. It almost made up for pushing through and dealing with Vhalla. Almost. Because I'm pretty sure Kova won't stick to it. All of the information about magic—bare bones here—is pointing to this cliffhanger being false. If you're going to go there, freaking go through with it!!!! (Who knows maybe she will. I doubt it and I'll be asking GR friends who actually read the next one.) In the end Vhalla has become another insufferable female lead. At the end of the book I would have gladly bashed her brains in if Vhalla magically appeared before me. Would have saved her a lot of grief. This book did nothing to expand the world, the magic, or anything other than Vhalla's unending—unfounded—love for Aldrik. It feels like readers and authors have forgotten what truly makes a great romance. And that a romance does not need to compromise the characters and world building. Developing those aspects will not make your book boring. Quite the opposite. Oh, and the epic action and war readers are promised is barely a blip in the book, and poorly done.
*Drops book.* I'm out.
Sexual Content: Kissing and mild make out scenes. Some homosexual humor/reference, and some mild talk about sex. Some rude sexual humor from the overly creepy the Heartbreaker Prince, and some other mildly creepy things from him.
1/5- I couldn't finish it or wish I hadn't.
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Air Awakens (1)