by Elisa Kova
It is hard to find words to describe how this book made me feel. Well, not that hard. Breathtaking, enthralling, magical, mesmerizing, dazzling. There are not enough descriptions to give it justice. This is the way you write a debut novel. I was swept up into this world from page one. I couldn’t put it down. I tried, I really did. I just took it everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I cooked dinner while reading it, walked around reading it, showered while reading it. It was the type of book that had you wanting to know what was next at the end of every scene. I read this in about 24 hours. I was mad I had to go to work because I just wanted to finish the dang thing!
Vhalla Yarl is a normal girl, a lowly library apprentice who is happy reading her books. Her entire life she has been taught to fear Sorcerers and the magic they yield. Until one day she unknowingly saves the crown prince and her own magic is discovered. Vhalla must decide to choose between the normal, predictable life she has always lead or risk everything and learn just what her magic can do.
Elise Kova threaded together a powerful world. Her ability to entrap you in her writing is extraordinary. She sucks you in from the very beginning and makes sure you never look back. The way the magic in her world works is simple yet complex. She is able to not overload the reader with too much information and slowly build up a stronger and stronger world. Her writing is beautiful and makes you see everything that is happening, every exquisite detail, in your mind. She was able to develop two very strong character’s, as well. Aldrik, the crown prince, is a dark, brooding character filled with secrets. As you read through the novel you find out more and more about the real prince and not the silver-tongued dark soul everyone believes him to be. Vhalla is a quiet, timid girl in the first half of the book. She does grow slightly throughout it, especially her mouth, where she tends to speak her mind a little to clearly. However, I didn’t see that much growth in her. I feel like she is still pretty weak up until about the last few pages and it annoyed me slightly. I do look forward to seeing more growth from her in the upcoming novels.
The love story that develops throughout the book is magical. It is realistic and inspiring. It teaches you to overlook reputation and find truth behind every facade. The way Kova built it slowly made you want more and more, which is probably why I couldn’t put the book down.
I highly recommend this book to every fantasy lover. It will definitely appeal to fans of Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns Trilogy and Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. It has everything you could ask for in a fantasy novel but holds back enough to make you beg for more.