Air Awakens is a young adult fantasy book written by Elisa Kova as part of a series. The book is set in a typical fantasy kingdom, ruled by an Emperor and his two sons (the Princes). Citizens of the Solaris Empire are ranked according to status. Their lives revolve around where they are meant to work and those they are meant to socialize with. People hail from the North, South, East or West with each area having its own traits and, in some cases, magics. A religious war of sorts is currently being waged.

This book is a definite page-turner. I completed it mere hours after starting, but have mixed emotions as to rating it. The storyline is interesting and I fully enjoyed the use of magic. For the most part, the characters are enjoyable, although not always fully developed. As this is the first book in a series, they do need some room to grow.

Where the story fell short for me was with the heroine of the story. Vhalla has little self-confidence and seems to idolize the regime under which she is being suppressed. I might have been able to overlook that fact, assuming that she would evolve through other books, if it weren’t for the mental and physical abuse she suffers as a result of the actions of her possible love interests. When a girl spends a large portion of a book covered in bruises, broken bones and blood, there might be a problem.

The Princes are, in my opinion, without honour in this novel. I may be old-fashioned but I would have preferred at least one of them to be a gentleman of sorts. Everything that happens to Vhalla is either directly or indirectly caused by them – yet, Vhalla continues to idolize them. That, to me, is an abusive relationship.

Hopefully future books will rectify that situation. Kova has an uphill battle to show character development and growth in the next book. I plan to give benefit of the doubt and pick up a copy to see. I really do enjoy the writing style and would like to know how the story ends.

Warning: Violence and abuse. 3.5/5 stars