Ice is in her blood.
Eighteen-year-old Waterrunner Eira Landan lives her life in the shadows — the shadow of her older brother, of her magic’s whispers, and of the person she accidentally killed. She’s the most unwanted apprentice in the Tower of Sorcerers until the day she decides to step out and compete for a spot in the Tournament of Five Kingdoms.
Pitted against the best sorcerers in the Empire, Eira fights to be one of four champions. Excelling in the trials has its rewards. She’s invited to the royal court with the “Prince of the Tower,” discovers her rare talent for forbidden magic, and at midnight, Eira meets with a handsome elfin ambassador.
But, Eira soon learns, no reward is without risk. As she comes into the spotlight, so too do the skeletons of a past she hadn’t even realized was haunting her.
Eira went into the trials ready for a fight. Ready to win. She wasn’t ready for what it would cost her. No one expected the candidates might not make it out with their lives.
“I am my own person. I don’t just jump when asked and I won’t neatly exist only where and how you or anyone else wants me to.”A Trial of Sorcerers, Elise Kova
I received an e-ARC copy of this book from the author and Book of Matches Media in exchange for an honest review.
This is my first Elise Kova novel, and had a lot of expectations because I know other readers have nothing but praises regarding her works. While this is a spin-off series of her Air Awakens which can be read separately from the main series, I personally feel like I would have enjoyed this book more if I have read the main series first. The world was easy enough to understand and grasp, but I just personally felt like I was missing out on stuff since I haven’t read the original series first. Nevertheless, it’s still a very entertaining first entry to a new series.
This book reminded me so much of a mix of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Frozen, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. All these similar elements were combined together in my head, and created a very nicely done and engaging fantasy novel. I just really enjoyed the idea of a school training elemental magic users and then thrusted into a competition to prove the capacity of their powers against their peers. I liked how the main story centered around this competition, and introduced other concepts that could break or play a character’s strategy within the game. The worldbuilding and magic system were pretty great, and easy to grasp. My only complaint is that I wished that the other elements, apart from the Waterrunners’, were given a time to shine even just for a bit, and that they were slightly more fleshed out for new readers like me. It would have made for an even spectacular time if that happened.
I currently have a love-hate relationship with the main character, Eira. I greatly admire her tenacity and perseverance to prove to others of what she could do, and that others – even her own family – were wrong to handle her like she was something dangerous, thus preventing her from being herself. Her previous incident that resulted to her being basically ostracized by her community was something she needed to fight against, and I really liked how hard she fought too. I also liked the way she was learning to discover what more she could do with her magic, and the revelations that shook her very core. On the other hand, there were times that I just found her a tad bit too naive and gullible, and some of the choices she made made me want to smack her. Things got a whole lot predictable afterwards based on the choices she had made, hence my love-hate relationship with her.
The love triangle romance trope rarely works for me, and this didn’t escape it. The romance between Eira and the two male characters were slow and sweet, but I didn’t root for either one of them until the end. What I did love more was the friendship and family dynamics Eira has with the other characters. I absolutely love Eira and Alyss’ closeness and partner-in-crime loyal friendship between them – that is something I highly enjoy in any story. Her relationship with her family is strained at best, and heartbreaking at worse. Her relationship with her brother Marcus was something I really loved reading, so I definitely felt my heart break towards the final few chapters.
Despite the slightly rushed ending that I felt like could have been expounded even more, I still enjoyed this book, and it was worth the late nights reading into it to get to the next chapters. I’m definitely going to read Air Awakens soon, since I’m finding Empress Vhalla’s story very intriguing.
I have high hopes that this series will take off within the next books.
About The Author
Elise Kova is a USA Today bestselling author. In her past lives, she has graduated from an MBA program, lived in Japan for a bit, and worked for a Fortune 500 technology company. However, she finds herself much happier in her current reincarnation as full-time author. When not writing, she can usually be found playing video games, drawing, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She’s happy to call Florida her home, but is always looking forward to her next trip.