April 26 was an amazing day for me as a book lover. Five books from my favourite authors were released that day, and I was plagued with the question any fangirl would have: Which do I read first? The excitement plagued me in the days prior, and I decided to review all of them in the coming weeks, starting with the one that would haunt me the most if I didn't start it: Water's Wrath, the fourth novel in Elise Kova's Young Adult fantasy romance series, Air Awakens. I reviewed Air Awakens a few weeks ago after falling in love with it, and while I didn't review the following two novels that I devoured shortly after, rest assured they're even more exciting and compelling than their predecessor. Since I signed up for the cover reveal for the final novel, Crystal Crowned, I couldn't help but review Water's Wrath, which is an incredible story of personal growth, forgiveness, and testing the bonds of love. A stellar work of fictions that fans will love, and that will have new readers aching for more. There's so much to talk about with this novel, it's hard to know where to start. Rest assured that I won't delve into major spoilers, though the synopsis below kind of hints at one and this is the fourth book in a five book series, so consider this your minor spoiler alert.
If only you knew how much this gorgeous cover revealed!
Librarian turned sorcerer. Sorcerer turned hero. Hero turned puppet.
The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.
The story started off with quite a bit of action for main character Vhalla Yarl. She's even stronger than before, working to fight off the Knights determined to destroy her. But, inevitably, she finds herself returning to the kingdom of Solaris, and crossing paths with the prince she thought she could escape. From there, we're taken deeper into the history of the world and its history, most of Vhalla's encounters with Prince Aldrik turning brief until at least the halfway point. But honestly, I liked the history bits. This is a complex world, and all the information became absolutely crucial in the end. If you're an Air Awakens fan and you're reading that, relax! I'm getting to it!
The majority of Water's Wrath was about Vhalla and Aldrik working to repair the damage they did to each other in Earth's End, which still remains my favourite in the series. Their development and growth was amazing. I was very impressed with Aldrik, watching him struggle with his coping mechanisms during some particularly difficult struggles (and good God, were there ever), and watching him open up to a Vhalla in a way we'd never seen before. But that isn't to say that Vhalla hasn't grown either. Considering everything she's been through, it was hard to remember sometimes that she was a young librarian with extraordinary power caught up in a world she didn't understand. But she's amazing, definitely a hidden gem in the YA fantasy world.
All of this sounds awesome– and it is– but this isn't an easy ride. Oh no. Kova knows exactly how to pull at a reader's heartstrings. There was a huge, gut-wrenching twist about 3/4's into the novel that threw me for a loop. From a fan's perspective, it was awful and painful to endure, but for a writer and a reader, it was kind of beautiful. It certainly shook the foundations of key characters, and they became stronger because of it.
And then, there was the ending. I said before that the beginning of Water's Wrath was action-packed, and it was. But the ending... WOW. I wonder how I looked when I was on the bus– my jaw literally dropping, my eyes wide, biting my nails and my gaze flickering over each line to get to the next word to see what would happen next. Brain nearly exploding when I got to the major, devastating event in the final battle.
But that explosive, amazing scene wasn't the only thing that rocked me to my core. Nope, the very last scene at the very end of the book did that. Another gut-wrencher, it was horrifying and sets the stage for what will be a truly tremendous trial for Vhalla, Aldrik, Fritz, Jax, and all the rest. Just when I was reeling from the devastation of everything those beloved characters endured (and trust me, things get bad), there was a single moment that had me almost jumping into the air and pumping my fist.
I'm a writer. I know that to close out a series, you have to end in a massive, explosive way. I expect nothing less from Crystal Crowned on its release in July. Water's Wrath was the perfect novel to set that climactic stage, to repair what was broken and create the alliances that will change the foundations of everything we know about this fantasy world. I recommend this series to all fantasy and romance lovers. It's highly underrated, and I'm so happy it was recommended to me. I can't wait to see how it ends.
Long live Solaris.