The countdown clock reads ten days until the end of the world. The citizens are organized. Everyone’s been notified and assigned a duty. The problem is . . . no one knows for sure how it will end.
Energy-hungry Mages are the most likely culprit. They travel toward a single location from every corner of the continent. Fueled by the two suns, each Mage holds the power of an element: air, earth, fire, metal, water, or ether. They harness their powers to draw energy from the most readily available resource: humans.
Ashara has been assigned to the Ethereal task force, made up of human ether manipulators and directed by Loken, a young man with whom she has a complicated past. Loken and Ashara bond over a common goal: to stop the Mages from occupying their home and gaining more energy than they can contain. But soon, they begin to suspect that the future of the world may depend on Ashara’s death.
I desperately tried to like this book. When I first saw it and read the synopsis, I just knew I had to have it. It totally has The Avatar vibes right there! I mean, I don’t usually adore a PR novel right off the bat, but I did with this, and it therefore came with great disappointment when I realized it was full of bumps and obstacles, making it, yes, a struggling read. There were so many things that I really disliked about this book, and I shall disclose why. I’ll try not to swear too much while I’m at it.
PROBLEM #1: ARE WE PLAYING HOUSE, PEOPLE?
Okay, the world is supposed to end in ten days. In this book, there are people that have power over various elements, such as air, water, fire, etc. etc. So what do they do in the ten days before the oh-great apocalypse? THEY PLAY HOUSE! No, just kidding. But it could be described like that. They gather all the elemental practitioners in the area, and train them. Nothing wrong with that, just in case you were wondering. But the problem lies in the fact that there’s no sense of urgency at all, as in, they could very well be having tea and cookies while they spar. The situation then honestly felt so artificial. I guess that’s what happens when the people can just go back ten days whenever they run out of time and fail to reverse the inevitable. But still, come on.
PROBLEM #2: ANNOYING HEROINE. ANNOYING HEROINE. ANNOYING HEROINE.
God, the heroine here is the epitome of stupidity, selfishness and naïvety. Trust me, it took a lot of effort to keep reading and finish the book with such an infuriating heroine like this one. How is she annoying, you ask? Let me tell you my reasons why in a numbered list:
1.) The girl, Ashara, is very self-centered and whiny. She goes into a fit and throws a tantrum every time her wants are not followed. In a nutshell, it’s like this: “Oh, woe is me! Look at me! I don’t like this! I don’t care what other people think! I do what I do and whenever I want! Fuck it if it affects other people!” I fucking kid you not. Hate heroines like this charming one? Yeah, do yourself a favor and move on. But wait! There’s more… and it gets worse.
2.) Remember Ashara always wanting to be the star? Yeah, it’s because of her stupid impulses that she also wants to be the first to save the world. She’s a newbie in her craft, knows zilch about fighting the mean, bad guys, but whatever, right? So there she goes, off to the front lines, zero experience in her belt, and when she faces the monsters, KABOOM POW! SHE FREEZES DUE TO FEAR, WHILE GOING “I DON’T WANT TO DIE!” I am so sorry you didn’t, dear, because you were as useful as a blue shirt on St. Patrick’s Day (Happy St. Patrick’s Day, folks!) okay that joke was lame huhu sorry. In short, you were useless as fuck. That’s what you get for being stupid.
PROBLEM #3: AWKWARD. ROMANCE.
The awkwardness is strong in this one, I’m afraid. The love interest is her mentor (who’s about her age, don’t worry), who’s also (surprise!) her ex-boyfriend, who she still has lingering feelings with. At first, he’s super cold to her, giving her glares, the cold shoulder, the sharp and icy tone – you name it. And then, halfway there, they argue about something, and he interrupts her by, yes, kissing her!
Please excuse me while I puke over this overused and awkward cliché.
Trust me, I wouldn’t have minded it, but if you read the book, it was seriously out of place. As in, you’ll ask yourself, why the fuck was it there in the first place? After that, of course, his cold demeanour and attitude towards her fade, and it’s all lovey dovey. And the romance still felt unnatural.
PROBLEM #4: INTERNAL NARRATION NEEDS SOME WORK
All telling, no showing. More internal narration would have been appreciated. Maybe this is why Ashara felt so annoying to me, because I didn’t feel that attached to her, making her look so superficial. It does somehow read like a cinematic film. If you’re into that, you may appreciate it better than I did.
But despite all of these complaints, I enjoyed it to a certain extent. The premise is still incredibly interesting, and if execution was better, I would’ve given it a higher rating. Wasn’t a compelling debut, but the author, for sure, will get better, and I’ll definitely check out her future works.
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