This was such an incredible improvement over its predecessor. I cannot emphasis enough how much better the second book is. So many of the issues I had...moreThis was such an incredible improvement over its predecessor. I cannot emphasis enough how much better the second book is. So many of the issues I had with Wings of Arian were amended in Wings of Tavea. Firstly, it took me days (with LOTS of breaks) to finish the first book. But this book I finished in just two sittings. Much better paced.
Where there was no back story or history in Wings of Arian, the history really begins to blossom in this installment. We learn about an entirely different area of the world with new creatures, new problems, and a new force of evil. I can understand better (even though I suspected as much as I read the first book) why the first installment was so lacking in history. That was sort of the point; Meros (the land in which the main character/Solus, Kiora, lives) is closed off from the rest of the world and raised with an ignorance of the outside world and magic.
So, the lack of back story does make sense in some aspects. I still feel like there could have been a better way to write the plot rather than just completely neglecting to create a back story or history for the entire first book of the series, especially since character development and growth was minimal. Either way, that was all remedied in Wings of Tavea.
Kiora is not nearly as unlikable, although she is still no favorite of mine. We are introduced to some new characters, mainly Alcander and Lomay, and older characters continue their roles, like Drustan the shapeshifter and Emane the Prince of Meros.
I had been waiting for Alcander to make an appearance. I knew he was going to be introduced in Wings of Tavea as a new romantic interest. So I was excited to see what type of character he would be, especially since I'm mostly indifferent towards Prince Emane. Alcander turned out to be a pretty decent character. He has depth, hidden by his cold and serious exterior. I could sense the slowly growing romance between Alcander and Kiora. I think it was because I expected it to happen that I picked up on the romantic vibes. The romance had a pretty subtle growth.
...Until Alcander kisses Kiora and things EXPLODE. Out of NOWHERE. I was so, SO disappointed in this turn of events. He suddenly loves her?! Does some whacky Tavean bonding ritual?! This is all fine, as I really enjoy Alcander and want her to be with him in the end, but it was going SO WELL. It had a lovely pace, just enough to entice interest from the reader, to take a look at Alcander as a possibilty for Kiora. And then it was RUINED, in like two paragraphs, by instalove. SO AMAZINGLY DISAPPOINTING.
Another sour point in this book was Dralazar's plot. A new and greater evil, The Shadow, is introduced and it almost felt like Dralazar was an afterthought, a loose end that quickly needed tying. I had thought he was going to be the main force behind evil in this series, but it turns out he is not. It seemed like he was almost written off in order to focus more on The Shadow. I mean, it's alright that he's no longer the focus... but I feel like his plot could have been more fully completed than it was.
So, other than the instalove and Dralazar's unsatisfying role in the book, Wings of Tavea has pulled me into the series in ways its predecessor could not. I recommend sticking with this series at least through this book before making a decision whether or not to continue.(less)
I feel like it took me weeks to finish this book. I'm a quick reader and it really took a bit of work to get through this one. It wasn't a bad book, b...moreI feel like it took me weeks to finish this book. I'm a quick reader and it really took a bit of work to get through this one. It wasn't a bad book, but... well, I had some issues with Wings of Arian nonetheless.
And here we go...
1. generic plot 2. unlikable heroine 3. two dimensional characters 4. skeletal romance 5. little-to-no back story 6. lengthy and unnecessary descriptions
7. numerous spelling and grammatical errors
I did a little bit of research into this series before I started reading the first book. I read the descriptions of the other three to get a feel for the series. I decided it sounded pretty good and I'd give it a try. A love triangle is apparently lurking in the shadows, which can easily turn disasterous, but can also add excitement to otherwise dry plots. Why am I mentioning this? Because, honestly, I think this is what helped me finish the book. I knew there would be new characters and an adventure in the making after I finished Wings of Arian. I was motivated to finish so I could start the second book. (If the second book doesn't show any signs of improvement, then I will probably drop this series.)
And now to expand upon the listed dissatisfactions:
The plot is about good vs. evil. That's about it. There is the good side and there is the bad side. There are magical people and people without magic. There's a bad guy who is power hungry and drunk off of magic. He's trying to control the land and eliminate the good side. How many times has this been written? Do I even need to pretend to count? I mean, yeah... good vs. evil is an age-old battle and there is so much a person can do with that as a basic plot outline... but it's the skeleton! The framework! Not an entire plot! There needs to be more to it than that for it to be good, right?
The unlikable heroine. Jesus, she cried all the time. And whined. And was inexplicably good at EVERYTHING she tried. I mean, sure... she's some legendary magical person meant to put a stop to evil in an ancient fight for good, but... I mean, that's a pretty hefty job. No one falls once when learning to ride a bike and then gets up and goes off to race in the Tour de France. And wins. I mean, it just doesn't happen. Even if someone is naturally talented at riding bicycles! But oh no, Kiora had it down. She'd trip up once and then immediately master everything on the second attempt. So incredibly unrealistic.
The characters were mostly two dimensional, and if not that then their personalities and backgrounds were predictable. (I won't elaborate on that, because that would reveal the limited plot twists in this book.)
And the romance! Christ almighty. Kiora and Prince Emane apparently knew each other at the start of the book, but we were never informed of how they met. It isn't apparent that they grew up together, so they must have met at some point. It is VAGUELY referenced that they despised each other from the start, mainly because Emane was an arrogant ass and Kiora refused to feed his ego like any number of other fair maidens in the land. But then Emane suddenly doesn't despise Kiora... and then suddenly loves Kiora... and then they're suddenly kissing, a lot. And then Kiora runs off to cry some more at various points.
As for the back story (or lack there of), Kiora was literally dropped into the book. She isn't there, and then suddenly she is in the middle of training to be a legendary magical warrior known as the Solus. And Prince Emane is named as her protector. So then they start training together, and the skeletal romance is born. Kiora has a past involving her parents and sister, but it's only briefly (and awkwardly) visted, until the end when her sister begins to play a major part in the plot. So at that point, this past of Kiora's that is barely mentioned (or reflected upon by Kiora) is an integral part of the plot. However, there is depth in the case of the main good-and-evil characters and their histories as the story progresses. I have hope for the second book, because the plot did thicken, as the saying goes.
I am guilty of skimming through some of this book. There were so many unnecessary descriptions! Like, for example, when Kiora is learning to control and use her magic she has to read from this book. So we also read the passages from which she is learning. Every time! Just say, "Kiora read from the book of Arian and was instructed to make a bubble, blah blah blah." I don't need to read three paragraphs only to have Kiora's actions illustrate what the book passages stated. Just let her actions do the work! This book could have been about 50 pages shorter. It needed to be 50 pages shorter. And the grammatical errors were distracting. I was still able to read the book, despite the distraction. I mean, it wasn't like I couldn't make sense of what I was reading. But it was still really annoying.
So, overall, it probably sounds like I thought this book was terrible. I didn't. It's probably a good book for younger readers. The romance is tasteful, as is the language. The world isn't too descriptive or confusing. Sometimes with fantasy, keeping track of an inventive world, unique characters, and an interesting plot can be overwhelming. So for someone who is interested in fantasy novels but isn't accustomed to the brain overload high fantasy can sometimes cause, this might be a good read.
And I did finish the book. That's saying something. I do abandon books. So, this clearly had enough positive attributes to push me to the end. And I will try reading the second book as well.(less)
**spoiler alert** I think this would have been a completely satisfying read if I had been on the right boy-team. But as it was, the very end of the bo...more**spoiler alert** I think this would have been a completely satisfying read if I had been on the right boy-team. But as it was, the very end of the book left me with a sour taste. Seriously, up until about the last ten pages, even being on the losing boy-team, it was looking like a really great conclusion.
I loved Seth. I really, really wanted her to end up with Seth. Sure, he did that whole... mass murder of innocent people dealio, but he just needed to be loved. I was so tired of Aiden. They were complacent in their relationship for like two whole books and they bored me. Pairing her with Seth would have added depth to the romance of the book. Or at least if he had been given a fighting chance... or if she had even visited his remorse more thoroughly and really delved into what he wanted or thought, then the romance aspect of the series (and this conclusion) wouldn't have been so... boring. But the whole half-blood/pure forbidden love controversy between Aiden and Alex fizzled out in the face of war. Because of that, the romantic factor of the book just sort of lost out to the rest of it for me. Which sucks, because I do often read books for the romance.
I feel like Sentinel could have had a better ending if Alex just... wasn't rewarded quite so handsomely by Apollo. Towards the end, I was feeling perhaps she may not end up with either Seth or Aiden. Maybe she would make peace with her death and Seth and Aiden would continue their lives (we would, of course, have an idea of the direction they would be taking with those lives), and then the rest would be left to our imagination.
Alas, Alex had a Bella Swan slash Rose Tyler ending, also known as that-perfect-ending-that-NO-ONE-realistically-has-no-matter-how-much-they-may-deserve-it. And that took all the joy out of finishing the book. At least it did for me.
But I loved all the mythology. And I loved that dying in this series really isn't the end. If it were any other book, I probably would have cried every time someone was down for the count.
But no worries. They're just playing Mario Kart with Persephone. Or devoting the rest of their existence to serving Hades.