ARC Review: Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova

Title: Crystal Crowned
Series: Air Awakens #5
Author: Elise Kova
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Published:  July 12th, 2016
Page Count:  432 pages
Format:  eARC
Source: From author in exchange of an honest review


Summary:
Long live Solaris. 


One bloodthirsty ruler has been overthrown by another, casting the shadow of death over the Solaris Empire. Vhalla Yarl stands upon the stage of fate, prepared to do battle one final time. Fragile alliances will be tested and new bonds will be formed as the world is reshaped. She fights as the champion of peace, but when the night is darkest will she be able to pay the price of a new dawn? 
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
It's over. I've finally reached the end of the Air Awakens series. I am sad, because this series has taken me into a wild, fast-paced, magical journey in the last year and it has set some high standards when it comes to action-packed fantasy series. Elise Kova is an extraordinary writer, EXTREMELY FAST writer, and one of the nicest authors out there who cares about her fanbase.

With that said, it does pain me to say that I was left a bit disappointed in this last installment. I enjoyed the ride and the characters were as amazing as always, but I encountered with several things that didn't sit well with me. I often went into rage mode and I had to calm myself before I did something silly, like throwing my kindle across the room, for example.

First, I will say what I DID love & enjoyed in Crystal Crowned:

Exploring the continent. I loved how we finally get to see more of the continent, from South to North and in-between. It was a nice change of scenery and, despite being a dangerous time, I liked the time spent in each place, even the smallest of time-frames. Fine, I may be stretching a bit the whole exploring thing since Vhalla, Aldrik and the rest of the gang are just traveling to get to the West and then back to Aldrik's throne to defeat Victor, but so many things happen in their journey, that made their treacherous time all the more exciting.

That thing that happens in Norin. It's a bit spoilery of I say it, but it was one of the happiest moments in this book. Also one of the places where my mind was going all "oh boy oh boy, something terrible is about to happen to shatter this blissful moment, I just know it." Did something terrible happen? I can't say, but hey, it's Elise Kova, you know how she writes. ;)

Finally learning about Jax's past. YES. JUST YES. I can now sleep at night. This has been bugging me ever since we meet him in the third book. To be honest, it should have been revealed in the fourth book, but okay, better late than never. It's quite shocking. Widened my eyes, and yet I still can't stop thinking "my poor Jax".

Aaaaand the epilogue. It was good. Brought a smile to my face.

What left me wanting more:

(Forgive me if I go all ragey here but my feels need to be let out.)

First of all, I did not enjoy how the fate of one important character, who was crucial to Vhalla's sanity throughout the whole series, was handled. This character deserved to be sent off in a better manner instead of being disregarded as if unimportant. Why? WHY? I'm not okay with this.

Secondly, I feel that Crystal Crowned told more rather than showed. Too many thoughts, too many words, and not enough action. I don't mean battle scenes, those were done spectacularly as always, but we spend too much time in Vhalla's mind, and it gets annoying. She gets annoying. And that really upset me. Vhalla is an amazing character, but she let's her guard down in this book. Maybe it's because she lost a part of herself when Victor stole her magic, or maybe is the stress about wearing a crown, but I feel that she had more to give and that she didn't even try.

Also, the lack of an enemy face. I will leave it at that.

The plot twist that felt a bit forced and not enough to be the enemy's ultimate evil plan. However, thanks to a friend's opinion, I now see it as a different & interesting perspective to something that us readers had come to love and cherish in the series. Still, I feel it was unnecessary to drive the plot forward.

Lastly, well, Crystal Crowned as a series-ender. It was not the epic finale I was expecting. It was epic in its action-packed battle scenes, but not the ending that I thought would leave me gasping for air, shoving ice cream and cookies into my mouth, and plain old crying my eyes out. It was an okay finale, with a good long epilogue, but the feels were nowhere in sight. And, it surprises me because I'm so used to Elise finishing off her books with a big bang, but this time it didn't come. That may be it though, maybe I let my expectations get too high.

....

HOWEVER, this doesn't in any way diminish my love for the series as a whole. The last book might not have been the strongest book in the series, but the first four books rocked my world (specially Fire Falling!). The Air Awakens series remains as one of my favorite fantasy series and I won't tire of recommending it to everyone who seeks out a fantastical journey.


Overall series rating:
4/5 stars

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