Emberhawk by Jamie Foley ★★
"The d'hakka reared back with a shrill screech, swiping at the arrow with a spidery limb."
I received this e-book from Netgalley. This does not affect my review or opinion. All thoughts are my own and I'm being 100 percent honest. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me this e-book for reviewing purposes.
This book is a hard one to review. There are some things I enjoyed, but overall the book wasn't that great. Emberhawk had potential. The general idea of the story wasn't bad but the world-building lacked details and the powers needed some more explaining.
The elementals have decided they're gods, and humans are nothing but fuel for their fire.
A starving trapper.
Merciless drought withers Kira's ranch, leaving her family hungry—and desperate enough to cross the border into the forbidden forest to trap wild game.
But the forest is infested with tree-scorpions and giant cats that wield elemental invisibility, and they're hungry, too. When Kira mistakes one elemental creature for another, she ends up with the last thing she wants in her trap: an enemy soldier.
An invisible spy.
Ryon can't afford to be a prisoner of war. If the Malaano Empire extracts his secrets, the rumors of war will be confirmed—and the tribes stand little chance against the Empire unless they can put aside generations of bad blood for the sake of a Tribal Alliance.
When Ryon's escape leaves Kira injured and her livelihood in flames, Ryon must choose between aiding her… or returning to his chieftess with vital information. But can he survive the trek when an elemental pursues him for his rejected heritage?
A sacrificial princess.
Imperial Princess Vylia is given a powerful ancient stone as her wavesinger trials approach. But is the stone's whispering voice from the water goddess, or a masquerading elemental the creator god imprisoned millennia ago?
When Vylia's diplomatic mission to the tribal lands erupts in fiery revenge, she, Kira, and Ryon must work together to survive—or become pawns in the battle of the gods.
I want to start with the world Emberhawk is set in. I'm going to be honest. The world-building was practically non-existent. After reading this book I still don't have a clue what this world looks like. This really bothers me, because one of the reasons why I like to read is the fact that I can explore new worlds. I like to picture how a world looks and I couldn't do this while reading Emberhawk. There are beasts like big cats and d'hakka's and I can't picture them. Are they scary? How big is a big cat? What color do these creatures have? These are all things that I need to know. I would've liked an explanation here and there and maybe a couple of scenes where Foley explains how the village or forest looks. Because of this the plot felt lacking as well and the ideas Foley had didn't come to life.
The idea of these elemental powers is quite original and something I definitely liked. However, I didn't really get how they worked or why some of these characters have them. The elemental gods were also an interesting element but I would've liked to see more of it in Emberhawk since they play a big role in this world and story. I like the fact that they have different gods. The plot had some interesting elements and had potential but the author didn't keep my attention. I had to push through to finish it and caught myself skimming the pages once in a while.
Another confusing thing about this book is that while reading it you have no idea when this story takes place. The story had a lot of modern elements like bathrooms and the way the characters talked to each other was also weird. Sometimes the authors used words like 'babe' and 'baby' and it felt off.
Emberhawk is written in three point of views; Kiralau, Ryon, and Vylia. The main characters Kira and Ryon were fun and I liked following them around. The love in this book is a bit weird. The author tries to make this an enemies to lovers kind of love but from the moment the main characters meet they can't stop thinking about how good looking and attractive the other is. It was more of an insta-love romance. Vylia is the third 'main' character but felt empty. I think she will be important for the next book in this series, but in Emberhawk her role wasn't important enough to get her own point of view.
I did love the representation in this book. A character who plays a rather important role in this book is deaf! I have never read a book where there's a deaf character, especially not in YA fantasy. This detail is so important and I enjoyed it.
The cover is absolutely gorgeous. I even think the author created it herself!
Would I recommend this book? I wouldn't recommend it. The world just too confusing and the plot wasn't interesting enough to keep my attention.
Jamie Foley writes clean sci-fi and fantasy books. She loves strategy games, home-grown berries, and Texas winters. Foley kills vipers with my great-grandfather's rifle but is terrified of red wasps. Her husband is her manly cowboy astronaut muse. They live between Austin and the cattle ranch, where their hyperactive spawnling and wolfpack can run free.
Speculative fiction is Foley's favorite thing ever. Spiritual powers and magic-flingers? Yes, please. Elementals and dragons? Sure! Angels and demons and everything plausibly in between? You bet.
Foley's favorite authors growing up were C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Frank Peretti, and Ted Dekker. She doesn't think a book needs to have language or sex in it to make an awesome story.