Fantastic world building
I'm excited to be a part of the EMBERHAWK blog tour with MTMC Tours from March 16th - 25th, 2020!
I received an ARC of this book from the author, Jamie Foley and MTMC Tours in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: Injury, Starvation, Torture, Prejudice, Death, War
If the majority of humans worshipped elementals as gods, and this was their true nature, maybe there was no heaven at all.
Emberhawk, set in the world of Alani, is steeped in mysterious elemental powers. Full of adventure and religion, enemies, and allies surround main characters Kiralau and Ryon. Kiralau is the middle sibling of two brothers, Lee and Tekkyn. Tekkyn was drafted for the Emperor's army a while ago--a fate that will soon befall her younger brother. Growing up on a farm, Kiralau has resorted to trapping animals, trying to bolster her family's ever-failing food supply due to the ongoing drought, even though they worship the water goddess. Animals are few and far between, which forces Kira out of her tribe's lands to hunt near the dangerous forests where giant tree scorpions and saber-toothed cats prowl.
Living in the outskirt Navakovrae Settlements, Kiralau's family is positioned on the border of the Malaano Empire and the lands of the Tribal Alliance. For years, the two lands have had a perilous relationship. Rumors of war have spread, and are only bolstered when Tekkyn returns home, unexpectedly. Out one evening, Kira accidentally mistakes a soldier of the Tribal Alliance, Ryon, for a Trace Cat and ends up shooting him. Malanno soldiers are notified of his transgression of trespassing on their land, and come to collect him.
Was it the water goddess that saved me or the creator?
As events unfold, Kira notices a massive shift in her brother Tekkyn's personality, and learns what and who Ryon is. Kira embarks on a long journey of doubt and mistrust, and all must be addressed throughout her upcoming adventure--including her beliefs.
After Ryon is interrogated by the Malaano soldiers, he manages to escape by using his Phoera (one of the four types of elemental powers). He's tracked down by Kira, who ends up with an injury as well. Already within the Katrosi Forests, the two decide to help one another as their chance to survive it's terrible creatures is better together. It is there that Kira is introduced to more knowledge of the elemental "gods" when the Phoera elemental, Felix Kael Tae, makes his appearance. The fox-like god of luck informs his vessel Ryon that Zamara, the fierce fire goddess of the Emberhawk is up to something. This foreshadows events to come.
The point-of-view changes between Kiralau, Ryon, and Vylia. Vylia, the princess of the Malanno Empire, travels to the Tribal lands as an emissary, and to retrieve the keystone for the water goddess, Lillian.
The keystone was a myth, created by the pagans who'd worshiped the long-dead creator. In their alternate version of history, when the elementals rose up against the creator to kill him, instead of succeeding, he'd sealed them all into prisons of stone. The keystone was the key that had sealed them--and the only thing that could release them once more.
Upon her arrival, Vylia realizes a terrible plan orchestrated without her knowledge that puts her at the mercy of her father's political maneuvering.
"There is only one god."
Emberhawk is ultimately a story that reflects the constructs of Christianity. The one true god, Aeo, the creator of everything, is worshipped by some, but discarded and forgotten by others. Thought to have been long-dead, such a being surely wouldn't have an impact on current events, or so Kira believed. The shape-shifting elementals, beings created after angels and before humans, abused their powers and turned the people to worship them instead of the creator.
This enticing read was a joy to travel through. With likable characters, and thoroughly-unique world-building, the realm of Alani is one that I plan to revisit. Emberhawk is a read fit to be traversed leisurely, as the complexity of this world and everything in it will continue to surprise the reader at each turn.
Sexual content: Kissing only.
Violence: Minimal to Moderate as it includes warfare, injury, and death.
My Rating: ????