Book Review: FIRE FALLING by Elise Kova

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4/5 stars
Series: Yes - book 2 in Air Awakens



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Soldier… Sorcerer… Savior… Who is Vhalla Yarl?

Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life.

As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here. Find on UK, Amazon UK, and the Book Depository (affiliate links.)


This was a fun sequel, picking up almost right where AIR AWAKENS left off. I raced through it as the plot dragged me along far later than I should have stayed up.

I loved how Kova handled Vhalla’s reaction to the Night of Fire and Wind (aka, the destruction near the end of AIR AWAKENS) and the death of her friend. It would have been cheating to pretend she wasn’t scarred by it or that many non-sorcerers wouldn’t be terrified and disgusted by her in equal measure. Nt to mention it was a brilliant way to build up Larel.

Larel and Fritz are so much fun, the sort of friends everyone should have. Larel is a brilliant big sister, and Fritz the boy you’ve grown up with so don’t fall in love with because he’s a brother.

As could have been predicted, romance blossoms between Vhalla and Aldrick – with a lot of wobbling and angst . Baldair brings his own dire warnings about Aldrick’s being manipulative. For once, I didn’t mind the to-ing an fro-ing of ‘I love him’. It felt like the natural result to their situation, rather than an attempt to add narrative tension. The Elecia-tension though, I was less keen on. There’s always a ‘rival’.

Vhalla’s magic is being explored more as she’s taking lessons. She starts off having a lot of trouble and Aldrick’s explanations, coupled with her own explorations, provide some hint as to the somewhat vague magic system. The final scene is the one that shows off the flash-and-bang I love about elemental magic. The water illusions and air projections give this magic a slightly different twist to your typical.

However, after a rather pivotal scene about halfway through, I’m starting to feel like there’s no limit to her abilities. It did make me wonder a little how the final scene occurred. What’s holding Vhalla’s magic back? What rules constrain what a sorcerer can do?

As for the ending. I like it but, well, I’m not convinced the big shocking thing actually happened – or if there isn’t a way to undo it. It just seems like there was too much set up to do this two books into a five book series. Amazingly bold step if it’s real, though.

Read my reviews of other books by Elise Kova:

Air Awakens (this series):


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