Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: 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.
Spoiler-free Review: If the end of Earth’s End broke your heart, Water’s Wrath starts to put those pieces back together again. Only to completely crush it. This is one of the hardest reviews I have had to write to avoid spoilers, so I’ll primarily focus on the characters and only briefly touch on the storyline.
One of the things that really attracted me to this series was that the romance between Vhalla and Aldrik feels real. While both had previously dabbled in romances, this is their first real love. Most books portray first love as all rainbows and sunshine with some superficial hardship thrown in, in an attempt to create drama. Kova doesn’t do this. While she does show us the elation that coincides with love, she also shows us how it can be an all-consuming and a destructive force. Love isn’t always a good thing and it’s possible to love someone too much and loose ourselves in the process. The conclusion of EE was a result of this and Vhalla and Aldrik’s love erupted like a volcano, destroying their hearts in its process. Water’s Wrath deals with the aftermath of that explosion.
In each book we see Vhalla grow more and more as a person, and this book is no exception as Vhalla struggle with that explosion and heartbreak. Now that Vhalla is no longer with Aldrik, she is able to truly reflect on herself, and finds peace and balance. We finally see her reach a maturity that the entire series has been building towards.
It was refreshing to see Vhalla focus on her friendships, which have become neglected in previous books. Vhalla and Baldair’s relationship is especially beautiful. Even though she is no longer with Aldrik, Baldiar considers Vhalla his sister and there were some very touching moments between the two.
In addition, we see tremendous character development with Aldrik as he gains a new maturity and finds himself. In previous books he had been referred to as emotionally stunted. No longer. He has faced his inner fire demons (I just couldn’t resist) and like a phoenix, has transformed into exactly the type of Emperor the Solaris empire needs.
As for the story, we finally see questions that have plagued us for the entire series answered. Kova is a strong writer, and has carefully weaved a complex storyline with little hints throughout the series for the reader to decipher. Many of these come together. Most noteably, Aldrik’s sorid past is revealed and we gain new perspective on his behaviors and attitudes in the previous books. If you’re waiting for CC to still be released, now is a good time to re-read the series through this different lens.
True to form, Kova throws in some actions packed twists and turns and is not afraid to kill off beloved characters. Our hearts are once again put through the wringers. And then stomped on. While the end does leave us highly anticipating Crystal Crowned, it wraps up nicely and isn’t as brutal as some of the previous cliffhangers.
Reviewed by: Pamela J.
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