Monday, July 11, 2016

The Crystal Tour - Exclusive Excerpt & Review: Crystal Crowned (Air Awakens #5) by Elise Kova



Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova
Crystal Crowned
(Air Awakens #5)
by Elise Kova
July 12, 2016


Goodreads Summary:
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?



Exclusive Excerpt

With just the one weapon and a leather jerkin, she struck a course northward. Given all the reports she’d been receiving, it seemed like the most logical location for her Emperor. A red sunrise streaked across the sky, mirroring the crimson land before her.

The casualties had been heavy, heavier than she expected given the number of soldiers who had been in the Western force surrounding the city. But the hulking corpses of giant winged beasts offered a chilling explanation. Teeth longer than her body jutted out from their massive jowls. They had almost canine-like heads but with thick leathery skin pulled taut against oddly shaped muscles. Some had two arms, some had four, one even had six. They had the wings of a wyvern and scorpion-like tails. It was a creature that the Gods had never intended to exist, and the now-dormant crystals embedded in their bodies glinted like dull obsidian in the sunlight, slowly cracking into dust.

A handful of men and women were surrounded, forced to their knees. Soldiers waited around them, sorcerers and Commons alike, ready to execute the traitors who had ridden in to kill them all on the backs of monsters. The lean figure of a man was mounted before the lot—an Emperor casting judgment on those who fought against his throne.

“. . . forsake the false king.” Vhalla could hear Aldrik’s words as she approached. “Those who give information will be rewarded with their lives.”

No one spoke.

“You protect a coward,” Vhalla called out, announcing her presence. Aldrik turned in surprise as she rode up next to him. “You stand with a man whose power comes not through his own merit—as he would have you believe—but through theft.”

“What would you know?” one of the kneeling sorcerers demanded, curiosity drawing the words from him.

“I know all too well,” Vhalla replied quietly, “because I was the one whose powers he stole.”

Now she had their attention.

“Victor could not open the caverns on his own; he wasn’t strong enough to manage the crystals. I know because he needed me to help him do it. When he had what he wanted, he stole my magic to make him immune from the taint.”

“Lies!” one sneered. “The taint only affects those of weak will, Commons, and lesser sorcerers.”

Desperation carved the way for stupidity in the hearts of men.

“You can’t possibly believe that. Is that what Victor has told you? That you are the strong ones and immune?” She shook her head with a bitter sorrowful laugh. “He has written you off as expendable with his lies.”

“Are you really the Windwalker?” a timid voice asked from among them.

“I was.” Vhalla spoke only to the man who had asked. “I was the Windwalker until he stole my powers. Now I am a Commons. It was my magic that unleashed this monster upon the world—”

“Vhalla . . .” Aldrik had a cautionary note.

“—but because of that, no one will fight harder than me to do what is necessary to right that wrong.” The words hurt. They hurt like the wind still hurt on her cheeks, plain and un-magical. But it was finally the right kind of hurt. The hurt of a confession that needed to be said. “This is but a night. The sun will rise again, and I stand with the dawn.”

She looked to the Emperor. His eyes were a chameleon over the past few weeks, constantly changing to match the woman she was becoming.

“Who will stand with the sun?” He tore his eyes away from her to make his final demand.

The man who had asked his timid question stood slowly. “A false king sits on a false throne.”

“You disgrace sorcerers,” another loyalist spat. “You’ll follow a liar and a Commons.”

“Strength channels its own magic,” the man said in reply, looking directly at Vhalla.

“Who else will stand with us?” Vhalla demanded.

Two more stood.

“Why take pity on them?” a Western soldier finally spoke. “They fight against your Empire. Put them to death.”

“Because a wise woman taught me that no soul is beyond saving,” Aldrik replied easily.

Vhalla’s chest tightened, instantly thinking of Larel.

“Those who stand with us, live; those who do not, die. Make your choice. Dawn comes and it will wait for no man.” Aldrik turned back to Victor’s sorcerers.

Two more stood, five in total. That was all who were spared. Vhalla bore a silent witness to the other sorcerers who died for Victor’s ideal. Men and women who had become so tainted with his lies that they valued his dogma more than their lives.

Vhalla counted every man and woman put to death. Twenty-three in total. She shifted in her saddle and felt the sword pulling heavy on her shoulder. The next time she saw Victor she would stab him herself, Vhalla resolved, twenty-three times.

Crystal Crowned coming at you July 12!!


*Review may contain spoilers from the previous books in the series but none from Crystal Crowned.
 
Review

I can't believe we're at the end of the Air Awakens series already. I need some time to fully process because this series has been one whirlwind of an epic adventure. The readers and the characters will not come out the same after Crystal Crowned.

Since this is the last book I don't want to say too much plot-wise. I really think this quote sums things up perfectly. "It was a journey she had been on for some time now, and Vhalla was discovering that the path to being the person she wanted to be had no end point. That there would always be room for her to adapt, to change, and to improve." (ARC, p. 66). There was no shortage of joy and heartbreak as the story comes full circle.

In the face of her lost ability, Vhalla continues to be strong and resilient. I found her to be irrational at times though I understood it came from a place of guilt, nerves and perhaps even some pressure. I was a bit put off by her own constant reminder that she's becoming the Empress. It's a huge deal but it was repetitive. But I so loved her fierceness. Vhalla needed to right the wrongs and that led her to one final battle. A battle that was just as much with herself as it was with the False King. Her determination was inspiring.

Vhalla and Aldrik have come so far as they finally get to stand together. Side by side on the battlefield. Having witnessed all the obstacles that stood in their way and watched them overcome most, I really just wanted them to have their happily-ever-after. I loved seeing their love persevere. It didn't matter what the past said or how bleak their future looked, they would succeed.

With Crystal Crowned, we also finally find out about Jax's past. Not going to lie, I've been super curious about him! It's a painful and terrible past. It definitely helped me understand his speech and actions more. I'm kind of sensing there will be more from Jax with Elecia. I'm really hoping!

I don't know how to emphasis my love for this series. It's been an emotional ride but such a worthwhile one. "Every chance worth taking will make you a little scared. That means you're taking a risk. And where there is risk, there is reward." (ARC, p. 266). With the release of Crystal Crowned, the Air Awakens series will be complete. I can't help but be a little sad but I know for certain this is a series I will be reading over and over again.

 
4.5 Cats
*I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the ARC I received.
 
 
Elise KovaAbout 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).

Website    Authors Goodreads
 

2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a really neat series! I'll definitely have to check out the first book. Wonderful review Eileen :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sierra! I definitely hope you'll give it a try. The books get better and better :)

      Delete

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