Book Review: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

I decided a few months ago that I wanted to do a series of reviews covering books that I expected to have similar styles or content to Calligraphy Guild, as a sort of extended comp titles list and a way to support other authors in the process of promoting my own release. This means that my blog posts will mostly be book reviews for the next few months, but writing posts will resume sometime around or after Calligraphy Guild‘s release. Air Awakens was the first book I read for this potential comp titles list, and while it doesn’t bear much resemblance to Calligraphy Guild, it was a solid read.


A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world.

Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.


I liked the characters, first off. Even the ones I didn’t quite trust to begin with were still likeable, and all of the characters were engaging to read. I feel like Sareem wasn’t treated quite fairly; his behavior later in the book felt out-of-step with his behavior in the beginning, which might have just been my perception or might have been an effort to make him less likeable for the sake of the love triangle (which… as someone with a soft spot for the best friend character… might have been a just concern, lol. But I do hope that’s not the case, since there are better ways to handle that). But Fritz was fun, Larel was cool (I might have liked to see more of her, and hopefully she gets more page-time in future books), the princes were both great (even if I didn’t like Aldrik at first), the library master was great… My only real complaint with the characters is that some of them didn’t get as much page-time as I would have liked to get to know them.

Vhalla’s arc was really well-done, overall. I feel like I experienced her changes of heart alongside her. (Minor spoilers ahead) I was annoyed at first that she was going to eventually leave the library when she so clearly loved it and was comfortable there (just as she stubbornly wanted to stay), but then at some point that irritation fell away and the transition felt natural when the time came. (End of spoilers) Her character felt consistent throughout, despite the changes she went through, so… it was a very well-done arc.

The worldbuilding was also cool. I would have liked to have seen it fleshed out a little more, but I think that’s due more to my desire to explore every fictional world I come across than due to any neglect on the author’s part. The magic system was well-explained where it needed to be, the setting was clear… It was a fairly familiar setting, but with enough unique elements and focus on them to not seem too boring. (The purpose and setting of the library, for example, was one of my favorite elements of the world.)

The prose wasn’t especially notable. There were some odd grammatical choices that carried on throughout (a habit of putting commas where periods might have served better and a habit of putting one character’s actions in the same paragraph as two parts of another character’s dialogue, which made it slightly hard to follow), but they were consistent enough that they didn’t hinder the flow too terribly once one got used to them. And there were a few quotes I noted as I read:

“I’m very proud to be a man. Men have duties, honors, which we can stand behind and take pride in.” He raised his eyes to look at them. “Abusing a women—abusing anyone—violates all of those.”

(My favorite.)

“Alone, she was left with her thoughts and the demons that lived there.”


“I wanted to see you well and happy. I wanted to see you flourish, and I wanted only a small piece. To know that, in you, I had made something good. And I truly wanted to keep you from pain.”

Overall, I enjoyed it quite a bit. (I read the first quarter in one sitting and then I stayed up until 2am reading the last three quarters in another sitting, lol.) I’d give it a solid four stars. It did have more casual references to sexual topics than I’d prefer, and it was just missing that special something to bump it up to five stars, but I enjoyed it and I look forward to reading other books in the series.

General rating: 4 stars

Similarity to Calligraphy Guild: .5 stars (generously)

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

  1. I read Elise Kova’s A Deal with the Elf King and was thoroughly disappointed. I was quite bored most of the time and the climax fell short as well. I really wish I’d liked the story! Have you read it as well or is Air Awakens your first book by Kova? I know she’s quite a popular author, and I might be willing to read more of her works in the future and give her a second chance.

    1. This is my first Elise Kova book. Fae romance tends not to be my thing, so I probably wouldn’t have picked up A Deal with the Elf King anyway, but I’m sorry you found it disappointing. :P I might not be the best person to ask if you’re looking for “exciting,” since I tend to enjoy slower pacing, but I thought the plot of Air Awakens was balanced well in terms of action/movement.

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