Title: A Trial of Sorcerers
Author: Elise Kova
Pub. Date: March 4, 2021
Pub: Silver Wing Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
This is the first book in a young adult, epic fantasy that’s a tale of competition, coming of age, distant lands, elemental magic, and romance. It’s perfect for fans of the Legend of Korra, Truthwitch, and A Sorcery of Thorns.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to Elise for gifting a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I love being a part of Elise’s review team, and the fact that I got to read this book early (I still can’t believe it) – the only downside is the longer wait for book 2…which I need right now.
I’ve been a fan of Elise’s Air Awakens universe (and books) since I stumbled upon the first one years ago. So, when I found out that she was writing yet another book and series set in this world, I was beyond excited. The original Air Awakens series is phenomenal and will forever be a favorite, and then Elise took it one step further, and created the Vortex Chronicles. She completely flips everything I thought I knew on its head and made me fall in love all over again. She knows how to masterfully ensnare a reader and keep them hooked and she did no different with A Trial of Sorcerers.
We’re tossed back into the world of the Solaris Empire and it’s only been a short while since the events of Crystal Caged and Eira is infatuated with anything dealing with Meru, the elfin and basically anything she can learn about the once named Crescent Continent.
I loved Eira. She’s so different from both Vhalla and Vi, but just as inquisitive. Her situation isn’t great, she’s coddled, and everyone thinks they know what’s best for her. Props to Elise for making me seriously angry at beloved characters for the way they treat Eria. I never thought I could want to strangle the current Minister of Sorcery, but I wanted to…on more than one occasion.
Eira is a badass who has been told to curb her abilities. After one really bad move, everyone is terrified that she’ll repeat the event, so they placate her, stifle her, watch her 24/7. It’s annoying and exhausting and demeaning and I felt for Eira. Seriously. No one lets her forget the biggest mistake she’s ever made, and they treat her like a child because of it.
Instead of training her to use her powers safely, they basically say, don’t use them, and then get upset when shit goes sideways…reminds me of Elsa and her parents – and look where that got them.
Then there are the other people in Eira’s life – Alyss, Marcus, Cullen, Ferro and Deneya, plus a few others. It’s nice to know that the Tower post events of Air Awakens and Vortex Chronicles is no more friendly than a high school, and some people just suck. Thankfully Eira has Alyss and Marcus in her corner. And then there’s Cullen and honestly, I’m really excited to see his arc in this series. I have a feeling, and I’m hoping I’m right- because if Elise has me caring for this broody dude with a secret only for him to turn bad, I may riot. Alyss is the best friend anyone could have, and I’m so glad Eira has her. They’re a wonderful pair and I can’t wait to see more of her powers. We really haven’t had a close look into Groundbreaking, so it’ll be cool to see that side of the magic in this book.
I love Marcus, though he makes some pretty poor choices…actually some pretty terrible choices. But he’s a good one, I can tell. His relationship with Eira is adorable, and bad choices aside, the perfect big brother. I wasn’t expecting his plot twist at the end, and I’m not over it. I should’ve known, but I had hopes. He kind of reminded me of another beloved character, so I really should have known. I can’t even be vague about my feelings, i feel like if you know, then you know, and I should have just known. Regardless, he’s great and I love him – mess ups and all.
Then there’s Ferro and Deneya.
I had suspicions!
So many suspicions!
And I was right! I wish I hadn’t been right, but one of them just gave me bad vibes and felt too good to be true. You’ll have to read the book to find out which. And while I was right, I didn’t expect that thing at the end, with the thing and the sobbing and the extreme fucking badass that Eira is.
And they chose to stifle her powers…dumbasses.
She’s going to make shockwaves around the world.
I loved seeing Vhalla again, and it made me want to go back and re-read Air Awakens. God, I love that series so much.
I loved being back in this world. Having to remember everything that changed in the timeline was a little difficult, but so much fun. I think I’m definitely in need of a reread – and maybe I’ll have to download the audiobooks and do just that. I think I’m overdue for a re-read of Air Awakens and I have yet to re-read Vortex Chronicles…
This world will always be one of my favorite fantasy worlds, and i love how with each new series, it gets bigger and more world is uncovered. I legit love that about these books – how big, diverse and vivid this world is. Its constant expansion is phenomenal and what is known is constantly growing and adapting. I love it.
You can definitely read this as a standalone, meaning you don’t have to have read Air Awakens or Vortex Chronicles, but I highly suggest that you do. It adds so much to the story and the world. I would also recommend reading the Golden Guard Trilogy before diving in. Elise does a pretty fantastic job allowing this to stand on its own, but I will always suggest reading the prior series. I think you’re missing out otherwise.
Overall, this was a fantastic book, a wonderful and enticing start to a brand-new series. I’m so excited to go on this journey with Eira and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I loved Vhalla. I loved Vi. And I think Eira might wiggle herself to the top spot. Despite everyone rooting against her, urging her to quit or just using her, she fought back and basically told them to fuck off. She might be the strongest heroine yet, and I cannot wait to see what she does.
I’m now just going to sit in a corner and wait for the next book, which cannot come soon enough. I need to know what happens next. So, make sure you pick up this book when it comes out March 4. If you haven’t yet, dive into Air Awakens – I promise it won’t disappoint.