13 Jul 2016

ARC #Review: CRYSTAL CROWNED by Elise Kova


Author: Elise Kova
Series: Air Awakens #5
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Publication Date: July 12, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

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? 
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the fifth and FINAL book in the series. There WILL be spoilers for the series overall so proceed with caution. See my review of the first four books here:

I am elated and sad at the same time. This is the end of an era for me and this will be the last time I review an Air Awakens full length novel (since Elise is talking about Golden Guard novellas and you know I'll be all over that). And this definitely closes out the series well, but I was disappointed by a few things (which tbh is to be expected. I'm really picky). However, it is still a satisfying conclusion overall and I recommend picking it up and starting!

I loved seeing how Vhalla transitions in CRYSTAL CROWNED, especially considering she starts off with no magic in this one. I feel like we have seen all sides of Vhalla throughout this series: timid apprentice, magician, soldier, and now Warrior Queen. But I think what Kova does best is merge all of these typical stereotypes together to create Vhalla. And I think Vhalla is her strongest when she allows herself to be all of these pieces of her at once. Throughout the first four novels, she has been one piece at a time, but we get to see her as all of them together in CRYSTAL CROWNED and to me that is how Vhalla is her strongest.

The strongest part of this series had always been that the characters were allowed to grow and expand at their own pace, while still being allowed to make mistakes and stay in the picture. But one of the things I didn't like about this one was that it seemed all the characters got to do this, except for Daniel. Now I know there is a lot of love-hate for Daniel since he "gets in the way" of the main ship, but I felt like his ending was almost convenient compared to how everyone else was allowed to grow. He was easily pushed aside and then "forgotten" about in a sense and that made me sad.

I think the best scenes that Kova writes are the action sequences. She has a great handle on how the character's magic interacts and what it is like to fight in a battle with magic, swords, and general ass kicking. I like that the gore was never shied away from and that the characters were bloodied and exhausted by the end of the fighting. I thought the final battle sequence was well written and kept the pace up really nicely to keep me on the edge of my seat and worried for the safety of my babies while also giving me some breathing room to keep up with the politics and the #ShadyMinister.

I think some of the pacing at the beginning was a touch off. I thought there was a bit too much time spent in one location and traveling rather than getting to a destination that worked for them and going from there. While FIRE FALLING had a lot of travelogue in it, I never felt like we were spending too much time walking across the world -- in CRYSTAL CROWNED, I definitely felt the travel. I think part of this is because of the interactions between the characters while traveling and that there was just SO MUCH of it throughout this novel, but I also think the beginning was pretty slow compared to how the beginning of the other novels started. 

I  liked how this one ended, though. I am okay with happy endings, even though I had a completely different theory about how it would end and told Elise and she was like "THAT WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN A HAPPY ENDING." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  I think Vhalla deserved a happy ending at the end of this one. She worked her butt off to save the world so I'm glad she got her happiness. 

Overall I really enjoyed this series, obviously. I was a teensy bit disappointed with this one because to me it was all about the characters and I felt like one of them wasn't given the justice they deserved and were kinda swept under the rug. This is still one of the best high fantasy novels (and series) I've read in a long time and I definitely recommend reading it! It's five novels, which is a bit of a commitment, but at least it's completed!


  1. Awesome review, and you pointed out some things that I didn't realise but that are so true!
    Elm outta here!

  2. Everyone seems to love these books and this author. It is a good thing she has a new series starting up right away so her fans don't go into shock. Thanks for the review. :)


Thanks for commenting! I cherish each and every comment. If you leave me a link to your blog, I will do my best to comment back!