December 7, 2011

Title:  Whirl (Ondine Quartet #1)

Author:  Emma Raveling

Published: October 7th 2011 by Mandorla Publishing, 258 pages

From the Publisher:  Seventeen-year-old Kendra Irisavie is an ondine, a water elemental caught in the middle of an ancient war. The Aquidae are immortal dark demons who will stop at nothing to destroy the fragile balance of the Elemental world. Fierce and independent, Kendra has always played by her own rules. Gifted with the powerful magic of Virtue and trained to be a deadly fighter, she has spent her life breaking hearts and getting into trouble. When her life explodes one violent night in a northern California city, a dark stranger appears, promising answers to her mysterious past. Alone and with no one to trust, she must now navigate through a dangerous new world, face the temptations of a forbidden romance, and remain true to her duty and destiny. All while the Aquidae continue to hunt her down, in the hopes of eliminating her forever…

Watch the TRAILER for this book here!

Ana will put this book on her second shelf!

Review:  First…a PSA for all readers!  This book has lots of terminology that’s all its own which may be daunting for some.  Luckily, there’s a glossary…but, unfortunately, at the end of the book.  So, if you’re reading it on a Kindle like I did, go to the end first and bookmark it!  I’m serious…do it before you begin (I didn’t and it made for a confusing first few chapters)!

Now let’s talk about the book.  This is the first book I’ve read about the Elemental world and I was drawn in by it.  The abilities and virtues of the Odine and the soullessness of the Aquidae are quite fascinating.  This is one of those books that has lots of characters, each with a unique personality and each with a role to play.  The author balances those characters well and does not, as so often happens, drop characters along the way.

Kendra, our hero, is a water elemental who has lived her whole life “rogue”…on the run and far away from the community of Elementals.  Living with her mother, she’s developed a tough independent streak.  I liked Kendra…for the most part.  She is not afraid to face her foes and even relishes the idea of coming up against the enemy.  She’s witty and clever.  She’s tough and determined.  But, all her independence makes her a bit arrogant and angry which frustrated me at times.  She does not trust easily and it takes her a very long time to come to terms with who she is and what’s expected of her.

Now I know you’ve heard of love triangles….this story has a love square.  Tristan, her protector, is older and seemingly untouchable.  Julian, her trainer, is mysterious and smooth.  Ryder, her friend, is charming and boyish.  And each one of them wants her in his own way.  You’d think that with all this romantic tension, the story would get lost, but it definitely doesn’t.  The author does a very good job at weaving these characters in, making the situations dramatic, witty and sad, and all the while managing somehow to keep them tucked safely behind the main storyline.  When I found myself wanting to know more about Tristan or wishing I could have just a few more pages with Julian I realized that this story had been very well crafted to build vivid characters but also to stay true to its purpose…Kendra’s journey to deal with the Aquidae and protect her people.

This book was fast-paced and imaginative.  The dialogue was well written and, in many cases, witty.  The interactions between the characters was genuine and believable…it never felt forced or inappropriately placed.  There were situations that I could see coming and those that took me by surprise as well.  This is a really good foundation for what I anticipate will be a very good series.  The author is currently working on the second book and I look forward to reading it!

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