Fire Falling | Elise Kova | 2.5/5 Stars
Release Date: November 19, 2015
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?
This was a hard review to write. I wanted to like Fire Falling more than I did. I love these sorts of fantasy worlds, but the writing style wasn’t for me. This is the sequel to Air Awakens and though I did like the writing better here, there were still the same underlying issues that had me struggling to get through Air Awakens.
I don’t particularly like the writing. The author’s vision wasn’t translated for me and I’m sure if that wasn’t the case, I would have loved Fire Falling. For the most part, my issue was with things like sentence structure, word choice, and tense. When I read Air Awakens, I’d also felt like the writing switched between telling and showing, so I’m glad that wasn’t the case here. However, that experience was in the back of mind while reading Fire Falling, almost like some watermark left on the pages. Funny enough, I feel like if I’d never read Air Awakens but went straight to Fire Falling, the writing wouldn’t have bothered me as much. I’d be totally confused in the beginning and be spoiled for book #1, but enjoying the writing totally outweighs that.
When it came to the characters, I disliked most of them. I couldn’t connect with many of them or sense any sort of character development. I did enjoy Vhalla’s companions, Larel and Fritz and gained an in-depth sense of their personalities. The three of them becoming close friends was probably the only clear thing to me character-wise. In addition, the reader is introduced to a new character, Elecia and it’s understood she has some sort of romantic past with Aldrik. I hated that she’s presented with this stereotype: the automatic rival of Vhalla because she did or still does have a romantic relationship with Aldrik, Vhalla’s love interest. It makes me think of a high school-set novel [mean cheerleader because she has the attention of the popular guy aka protagonist’s crush] and I hated that. Out of all the possible stereotypes out there, I loath that one the most.
There were a couple of things I loved about Fire Falling. The reader gains a deeper experience of the magic that makes up this world. It was really interesting learning about things like Channeling, the Bond Vhalla and Aldrik have, and Projection. I also loved the way Kova describes certain settings and the different landscapes that make up this world.
I stopped reading Fire Falling at 59% because at that point, I didn’t get any sense of a plot or a definite antagonist. I understood there were a couple of political figures who want Vhalla dead and the Emperor wants to use her as a pawn, but neither of them came off as the antagonist I was hoping to read. Additionally, I needed a plot that goes further than Vhalla understanding herself as a Windwalker and the South trying to win the war.
I haven’t fully decided whether I’ll be continuing the series. Like I said, I actually love the fantasy world Kova’s created and on the surface, I should love the characters, but it all comes down to the writing style. My reading experience didn’t give me a clear idea of what the author tried to get across to the reader. If you liked Air Awakens I recommend Fire Falling. If you were like me and really struggled with Air Awakens, then maybe this series isn’t for you.
I received an eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way altered my honest opinion of the book.
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