by Sarah Fine
Purchase on: Amazon, iBooks,
Add to: Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
He smiles, one of those rare smiles that makes his eyes crinkle. “When I first found you, I wasn’t affected by it, but every day, its hold on me grew stronger. And nowadays, your laugh makes me feel like I’m falling. When you look at me, I’m suddenly warm. The sight of you makes my heart speed. Do you really think the only magic in this world comes from fire and ice?”
Anddddd here we are again-middle ground. I can’t say this was on the lower end of that middle ground, but I still wanted something….more. Is it too much to ask for excellence?? Or have I just become a spoiled brat? I think it’s the latter, to be perfectly honest, since everyone ADORED this story from beginning to end. And I must say this story had a lot of wonderful things that made me very happy…..but I’ll give you one guess as to what the common theme was in these parts.
That’s right-my favorite thing, and what had me coming back for more, about this story was Oskar. Again, it all comes down to a boy. What is it with these stories that don’t touch my soul…yet the male leads make a mark on my heart? I know I’m an easy target when it comes to male leads, but I like to think that I don’t easily forget that there is supposed to be a story that surrounds said male lead. Come on now…just because my multiple (MULTIPLE x a TRILLION) 5 stars this year have had a lot of gushing about boys does NOT mean it’s ONLY about the new bbf meat. Hot male lead does not a 5 star make…but it certainly doesn’t hurt ;).
“To be honest, even if it didn’t, there was no way I was letting you go.”
He lets out a hard, hollow bark of laughter. “Why did you leave?”
“Why are you answering a question with a question?”
No, for those mistakenly thinking that I have fallen head over heels for all my favorites this year only because of who I’ve fallen in love with (Glass Sword being a wonderful example-I ADORE MY CAL BOY and he certainly would have raised the rating had I hated it, but I LOVED that book even though everyone hated it and NOT ONLY because of Cal. He merely enhanced it. I can see the confusion there, though), you would be wrong. And I have been saying this a lot lately and stressing the importance, because I feel like I have went from people seeing all 5 stars on my feed to a very drastic, sudden, and out of nowhere turn where I have blasted everyone’s feeds with a string of 2 and 3 stars….so unlike me.
“Elli,” Raimo whispers, “what did you do to Oskar?”
I glance over to see Oskar standing next to the roan, looking at me in a way I feel low in my belly like a long, slow pull. “You told me to stick close to him.”
“I never told you to take the boy’s heart-or to offer him yours.”
And the novelty of my low ratings will wear off shortly, I’m sure, seeing as the happy train couldn’t last all year-that’s impossible. But I still feel I need to preface all my reviews in this way because it feels so foreign to be bashing book after book just because they weren’t for me. *Shrugs* I guess there just isn’t anything I can do about it….so I will make this short and sweet with a few paragraphs about what I liked, didn’t like, and only mildly liked.
The story: Ehhhh….Super good idea??? Just kind of…blah. Now, I will say this story had many spurts where my heart beat faster and my eyes became glued to the page, but they were few and far between and not as drawn out as I’d like them to be. The beginning, to me, wasn’t boring like people said, more just…hard to connect to. Not because the idea wasn’t cool, but because I didn’t connect to Elli much…or her struggles. So, great ideas and nuggets of epic lost in a sea of could-be’s and ‘I wish’s (how the hell should that be spelled because wishes isn’t right…).
The writing: Addicting, flowed well, not a problem at all. I really enjoyed this author’s style of writing. I just wish there were more perilous scenes…or like my Snake said-That they were a little longer.
The main character, Elli: I did like her-really. I really did. But I didn’t FIGHT for her in my head. I didn’t OBSESS about what was to come for her. All I really cared about concerning Elli….was when Oskar would be coming back. And I think that applies in the ‘story’ category, as well. Oops.
Oskar: Annnnnnd another wonderful, tortured, self-sacrificing male lead who stole my heart, slowly but surely. I loved him from the moment I met him….but it wasn’t until a certain, ahem, moment that I was all heart eye emojis and screaming his name in caps to anyone that would listen (I lie, I text it anyway). He was fierce, loyal, protective, and totally worth this read. And hey, I can’t say my slump is completely gone, but he did a WONDERFUL job of making me squee and taking my breath away. His love for Elli was absolutely ADORABLE (little blusher, he be) and his determination to keep his family and her safe was something to behold…I just wish there had been more of it. I would have had a lot more to say about this whole book, had there been.
So, yeah, I’d say this book was a predominant win mostly because of my dear Oskar, and that’s honestly okay with me. Sometimes it bothers me, but other times it is just what I need-and here?? A hot male lead to obsess and highlight and obsess (twice. I said this TWO times) about is just what I needed to start my week off right. So….onto the next book. It’s a finale of a favorite series of all time. And we all know how THAT has been going this year. Lord, help me.
Another book where my only love stems from the male lead….though, Oskar was hard not to raise a star for. I ADORED HIM AGHHHHHHH OSKAR <3
Part three… with other Hufflepuff motherfuckers, as well 😀