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Royal Airs

(Elemental Blessings #2)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,442 ratings  ·  334 reviews
"Master storyteller Sharon Shinn created the thrilling and enchanting world of Welce in her acclaimed novel "Troubled Waters." Return with her to that elemental universe in this tale of secrecy, romance, and a battle for power..."

Josetta is a princess of one of the Five Families. But she is far from the throne, so she is free to spend her days working in the poorest secti
ebook, 416 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Ace
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  3,442 ratings  ·  334 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
A soft 3 stars. This sequel to the excellent Troubled Waters is set five years after the first book ends, and focuses on a different set of main characters: Josette, one of the princesses from the first book, who spends most of her time running a shelter for the poor, and Rafe, a professional gambler with a mysterious past, who lives in the slums. Rafe is kind of an aimless, ambitionless sort who lives from card game to card game off his winnings, but (of course) he has a noble, chivalrous strea ...more
ETA on re-read

Raising my rating to a clean 4 stars. I enjoyed the book much more on re-read as I already knew that it wouldn't be as perfect as Book #1 so I was spared the original disappointment.

Original review:
3.5 stars.
This is actually a nice book, but Sharon Shinn set the mark so high with Troubled Waters, the first novel in the „Elemental Blessings”series that this one unfortunately falls short of great expectations.

The major „problem” is with the main characters Josetta, Princess of Welc
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
What a spectacular letdown this book was. No, it was not terrible by any means, but considering the previous book in the series was spectacularly good, and one of my favorite YA high fantasies, this book, was a grievous dissappointment. It is the equivalent of watching Green Lantern after having seen The Dark Knight. Sure, both the Green Lantern and Batman are superheroes are in the same comic-based universe, but there's a fuck ton of a difference in quality.

Really, I feel so let down by this bo
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Fa la la la la, la disappointment!

Frankly speaking, I didn't expect Royal Airs to be particularly memorable after Troubled Waters. I mean, how could I? It wouldn't have been fair of me to hold this sequel to the same standards I held its predecessor, not after absolutely loving the first novel in this series intensely.

But this?

It isn't that Shinn's Royal Airs is necessarily a bad book, but it just isn't a good one either. It picks up five years after Troubled Waters from the perspective of Jos
Jacob Proffitt
I wanted to like this a whole lot better than I ended up doing. I already knew I liked the world and many characters in it from the first book, so I was anticipating this one being, if not as interesting, then at least along the same axis of interest. Unfortunately, this did not pan out and most of the interest came as a result of having read the first book.

Josetta and Rafe were just so bland. Worse, they were largely passive, waiting for events to happen to them as they go about their regular r
Melissa McShane
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I feel a little uncomfortable giving this a starred rating, as it seems I ought to have liked this book better than I did. It takes place five years after the events of Troubled Waters, focusing on the princesses Josetta and Corene whose family relations were so spectacularly disrupted in that book. Now Josetta lives in the slums, running a soup kitchen/flop house (only very nice and not at all slummy) and Corene is trying to find her place in the world. Gambler Rafe Adova enters their lives whe ...more
A lot of reviewers were disappointed in this sequel to Troubled Waters, and about half way through I realized why. It was missing the magic, the elemental magic. Neither of the main characters had any, so we only saw it peripherally. This made it much less of a fantasy and more of a historical romance with some political intrigue thrown in during the second half.

As a historical romance, I enjoyed it. I liked Josetta, and I liked Rafe. I also liked how their stories ended up. I did wish there wa
Rachel Neumeier
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
You know, the setting for TROUBLED WATERS and ROYAL AIRS is pretty unusual. How often do you find a fantasy where the medieval world is just now giving way to the Industrial Revolution?

Granted, this particular Industrial Revolution involves technology with quite a large magical infusion along with the engines. But. Smoker cars. Elaymotives. Aeromotives. Factories where all the above are made. We’re mad about vehicle technology, in this world. It makes so much sense that Rafe in particular — Rafe
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: want-to-read
Based on several lukewarm reviews of this, I'd expected to be disappointed, but I enjoyed this at least as much as I did Troubled Waters. Unlike some reviewers, I wasn't disappointed in Josette and Rafe, either individually or as a couple. I enjoyed both characters, particularly Josette, who is both sensible but feisty in her quiet way, and I enjoyed the slow build-up of their romance.

The novel is not flawless. The pacing is off at times and the novel could have been tightened a little. The trop
Olga Godim
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this novel. Not surprising, as Shinn is one of my favorite writers. Her new books automatically go on my To-Read list, and I own most of them. This one is the second in the author’s new series Elemental Blessings.
The story occurs several years after the first book in the series, Troubled Waters, and many familiar personages pop up on the pages. The action revolves around two central characters: Josetta and Rafe. A more disparate set of lovers is hard to imagine.
Rafe is a professional
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A few scattered thoughts: I still loved the worldbuiling, but the romance really brought the novel down. (view spoiler) Troubled Airs produced a fascinating political tangle, but the resolution was a bit too easy, which undermined the cunning foresight of the antagonist. The plot was oddly paced in general, and many character reactions were predictable.

At least the novel's title is fantastic
I seem to agree with all of my friends on this one. How nice! Specifically, I agree that the worldbuilding is wonderful, but the romance just didn't do much for me. It was fine! I certainly wasn't rooting against it, but I was still all into the glimpses of Zoe/Darien we got and this romance never felt that way.

(And DARIEN. I fell head over heels for him in this book.)

And I'm kind of bummed that Josetta went through all this character growth that we didn't get to see since the last book. I LIKED
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I think where this one suffers in comparison to the other books in the series (at least 1 and 3 that I've read so far) is that it's dual-POV with both POVs romantically involved. Not only is there no mystery romance-wise, the reader also gets a ton of information story-wise because of the choice of POVs-including a bunch of overlapping information. While the characters are lovely enough, they are not as dynamic as those in the other installments and getting that much access to their POVs lets ou ...more
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I could not put it down, it was so much more exciting than Troubled Waters!!!

Apr 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I enjoyed this revisit of the Elemental Blessings world as it reminded me of how much I enjoyed the first book about Zoe. Unfortunately, this story wasn't quite as exciting. Josetta and Rafe both were eminently likeable...but boring. Likewise, the book covered a lot of political maneuvering and posturing but little action. While Josetta and Rafe's story was completed and some important background world events decided, it all seemed liked a filler on which to build other stories in this
Eliza Baum
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
There were some spectacular coincidences in this book on which the plot was dependent, probably too many. However, I couldn't help enjoying it all the same. Shinn has a way of writing characters that draws me in. This series still doesn't compare to her Twelve Houses, but it's good in its own way.

(I was bad and completely forgot to update here when I finished reading, so no detailed review for now. I've read too much in between to remember details.)
Oh, what to say about this book? It was a real let down, let me start there.

That's pretty harsh, but I'm going to leave it because unfortunately it's true.

Josetta really interested me in the first book. I liked that she was quiet and fearful and seemed to actually understand that her life was in danger. I thought that an entire book about her would be really great, but the book fell flat for me. And it wasn't because of Josetta. She's probably the highlight of the story for me. I loved her cons
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-elements
A soothing read- nothing too outrageous, but a continued story of a ruling class with special powers. I love the idea of temples filled with bins of blessings and people stopping by to get their random slip of paper with their blessing(s) on it. It is neat, too, to think of a society that understands people through their gifts. In real life it could be confining, but here all these notions are as relaxing as watching original Star Treck episodes- even in its exciting moments it is still a sedate ...more
Jun 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Since pretty much all the reasons why this sequel is not as good as the first book have been pointed out already, I'll just keep this short.
The main characters are just so unbelieveable dull, uninteresting and almost unrealistic. Needless to say, I disliked their romance as well. Too bad it's one of the main aspects of the book. All in all Royal Airs is not a bad book, but I enjoyed the interactions of all the side characters far more than reading about Josetta and Rafe. The court intrigues are
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This is a tough book to rate - I probably added a gratuitous fourth star just because I was so happy to read a Sharon Shinn book that wasn't part of that dismal shapeshifter series. Royal Airs returns readers to the kingdom of Welce that was introduced three years ago in Troubled Waters. The setting is an intriguing mix of fairy-tale and Industrial Revolution - people have one of five personality types, with portentous blessings associated with each, but, in a more modern touch, rudimentary auto ...more
Emma Rose Ribbons
Reread in January 2021 - doesn't get much better than that. I reread this every year.

Reread in January 2020 - what can I say about this book that I haven't said yet? Such an amazing novel and so close to my heart. Love, love, love.

Reread in June 2019 - SUBLIME


Reread in January 2019. Just wonderful. I loved the romance in this very much and Rafe is a wonderful new character.

Absolutely impeccable from beginning to end. Nothing to add, nothing to remove. The characters are like family t
This book focuses on Josetta, the oldest princess from Troubled Waters, and her love interest Rafe – a farmer’s son turned professional gambler who (view spoiler).

Josetta is a princess and in line for the throne – and yet she runs a homeless shelter (!) and wanders around town like it’s no big deal. SHE IS A PRINCESS. She also hooks up with commoner/gambler Rafe, and no one bats an eye. In the land of Elemental Blessings, class means ve
Anne Osterlund
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Josetta is the eldest of four princesses within the kingdom of Welce, though she bears no actual blood ties to the former king. As such, she is now one of several displaced heirs to the throne, which means she is free to serve her kingdom as she wishes: by running a shelter for the poor and destitute in the roughest portion of the capital city.

Rafe is a gambler, living off luck and an occasional stacked deck. When Josetta and her younger sister breeze in and out his life, he has no expectations
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This second book in the Elemental Blessings series is as engaging as the first, Troubled Waters. A princess no longer, Josetta has been spending her time helping the poor in a seedy area of town. But when her sister visits and is harassed by ruffians, gambler Rafe Adova intervenes. From then on, fate pits Josetta and Rafe together. Their destinies are entwined in a way neither could have foreseen, involving foreign mercenaries, visiting royalty, and cunning politicians. Can they escape unscathed ...more
MB (What she read)
3.5 stars
Warning: romance has resolution but plot ends on a cliff-hanger (set-up for next book).

Anyone else think it was odd that every sex scene is immediately proceeded by some combination of stab wounds/major assault survival/airplane crash for the hero??? I found this quite odd, if not disturbing AND improbable. (Maybe it's just me, but it came off quite sadomasochistically--surely not intentionally??
An amazing, unique fantasy magical world, characters with a lot of character, a plot of mystery and adventure, and a very sweet, special, innocent love story. I was thrilled to see that the author was continuing with this original world and I'm looking forward to seeing where the tale goes from here. ...more
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
A decent read, but not one of Shinn’s best, IMO. The story was on the predictable side of things, and Rand/Josetta’s relationship felt a bit too much like insta-love. Having said that, I have such a soft spot for the world of Welce and its elemental blessings, and I’d love to see more in this world.
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Love the change in character arc.
Much more robust than book 1.
Holds many of the same great qualities of Troubled Waters.
Still, the mystery element was not very mysterious...
Even more enjoyable than book 1, worth an extra half star! 4 blustery wind storms!
Nov 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
What happened to my favorite Author?
She was an auto buy for me.
Ths book was so boring, tedious and pointless
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always Shinn's writing is fascinating! I was pulled into the story and stayed there!
29/9/15 Just reread this. Enjoyable as always. Upped my star rating from 4 to 5
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Other books in the series

Elemental Blessings (4 books)
  • Troubled Waters (Elemental Blessings, #1)
  • Jeweled Fire (Elemental Blessings, #3)
  • Unquiet Land (Elemental Blessings, #4)

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