by Elise Kova
Series: Air Awakens #5
Published on July 12, 2016 by Silver Wing Press
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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?
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It’s hard writing about the end of a series. There is so much that went into these books that it’s hard to talk about in a review, especially with avoiding as many spoilers as possible. I also had a lot of built-up expectations going into this final chapter in the story of Vhalla, especially after the events of Water’s Wrath.
So as a conclusion to this series, I think Crystal Crowned did a great job of closing loose threads, wrapping up subplots, and all that ending goodness. While I can’t say I loved EVERY single thing that happened to each character, it fit the story and by the end of the book I felt content with the ending.
I loved that the romance between Vhalla and Aldrik finally amounted to something and they truly became the couple that they spent four books working toward. Unlike many young adult fantasies I’ve read, Kova doesn’t introduce a love triangle at any point, instead focusing on the development and ups-and-downs of their relationship which was refreshing. I think it really gave their characters an added depth too.
Though I’ll be honest, at the very VERY end of the book I was a bit disappointed with what happened. I knew it would happen? But the extent that it was taken too seemed a bit TOO much for me. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it.
It’s so hard talking about Crystal Crowned but I also found that it just… lacked what the previous books had. There was this energy, this tension, throughout the first four of the series that kept me craving more and more with each page. This last book had a lot of wrapping up to do and I think that some of that slowed things down a bit and, of all the books in the series, this was likely my least favorite. Still great, don’t get me wrong! But in comparison to the others, I think my expectations had been raised just a bit too high.
There were also points throughout the book, smaller specific scenes, that just didn’t do anything for me. Crystal Crowned reminded me a bit of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where they’re traveling around but not really accomplishing much, then the last chunk of the book is all the action and closure before a happily-ever-after style epilogue. There just wasn’t a level of crazy action, edge-of-your-seat storytelling I’ve come to expect from the rest of the series. I think a lot of that came from the villain being far off and never really being as involved at thwarting their attempts to right all the wrongs and that hero business.
Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this book and I’m still totally hooked on Kova’s books. As the end of a series, I don’t think this one was what I wanted but I’m content with where things left off (and would LOVE a continuation series). I HIGHLY recommend all of these books to my fellow fantasy fans. It’s an amazing series and deserves all the praise!