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Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Billow (Ondine Quartet #2) by Emma Raveling

TITLE: Billow                                         SERIES: Ondine Quartet #2
AUTHOR: Emma Raveling               PUB DATE: 7/5/12
PUB: Mandorla Publishing               FORMAT: ebook
SOURCE: from author inexchange for honest review

It has been six months since ondine Kendra Irisavie arrived in Haverleau, the hidden capital of the water elemental world.
Six months since she discovered her destiny as the sondaleur.
Six months since a series of devastating events left behind their mark. 
Now, as she enters the chevalier elite program in her final year at Lumiere Academy, Kendra continues forward on her prophesied journey against the Shadow. Obsessed with what she must do to keep those around her safe, she struggles to balance her powerful magic and the demands of her fate with the challenges of friendship, the complications of romance, and the bonds of family. 
Meanwhile, the threat of the Shadow looms larger. Kendra and her friends investigate a series of puzzling human and elemental disappearances in the city of Lyondale and uncover a horrifying tactic used by the Aquidae in the war.
When danger strikes close to home, Kendra must separate the truths from the lies and choose who and what to believe. 
Even if it means facing what she fears the most.

THREE WORDS: Suspenseful, Superbly Written

MY REVIEW: Whirl (Ondine Quartet #1), with its wonderful world-building, engaging characters and superb storytelling, was one of my favorite reads last year, so I was super excited to dive into the sequel, Billow. And I’m happy to report that the sequel does not disappoint in any way.

Picking up six months after the end of the first book, Billow finds Kendra struggling to understand the role she must play as sondaleur, while dealing with the emotional and mental trauma of the devastating events in Whirl. Kendra must balance her chevalier training, fragile relationships and familial duties, all while an internal war wages within her. And when a rash of mysterious human and elemental kidnappings occur, Kendra and her friends find themselves battling dangerous Aquidae , as the Shadow looms ever closer. Kendra must choose her path and decide what being sondaleur really means.

I loved Whirl because of author Emma Raveling’s ability to create an immensely layered and dimensional elemental world, full of engaging and likable characters, while offering readers a captivating and exciting story; all of which is deftly and effectively carried over into Billow. As a sequel, Billow seamlessly expands the story introduced in book one, while introducing new characters; new dangers and plenty of twists and turns.

Perfectly paced, Billow flows effortlessly and captivated me from beginning to end.  There’s a lovely and eloquent beauty to Raveling’s writing and she creates incredibly stunning images and palpable emotions with her words, yet her writing and descriptions never feel over the top or flowery. The world-building I loved so much in Whirl is laid out even further and deeper in Billow and the political/cultural/societal world of the ondines continues to be intricate, complex and intriguing. I’m still so impressed with how complete and real this world feels!

Our heroine, Kendra, faces a very intense and raw emotional journey in Billow and I love how realistically she reacts to her situation. Kendra is far from perfect- she has a temper, she can be reckless and acts without thinking and is reluctant to ask for help, preferring to do things on her own- but this is what makes her and her story so relatable and easy to connect with. Kendra grows a great deal in this book, both as a leader and as a fighter, and her character growth never feels forced. This is a heroine that readers will not only relate to and love, but believe in.

Two of my favorite characters from the first book, Julian and Tristan, continue to enthrall, enrage and excite me! Now, I’m not a fan of love triangles, but the complicated and often hot relationships between Kendra and these two guys never feels like a love triangle. You can feel the layered and tangible connection Kendra has to both of these swoon-worthy guys because Raveling has crafted them so wonderfully. And at this point I have no idea who I’m rooting for…I just lurve them both so much *sigh*

The darker elemental powers and magic are explored more in-depth in Billow and this leads to some heart-pounding action and heart-breaking events. I really like the villainy of the Shadow and its Aquidaes because these are “bad guys” that aren’t just fun to hate, they’re actually incredibly fascinating.

I love everything about how the book concludes- the tone, the twists and how it sets up book three. And I CANNOT wait to read book three!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Billow took me on an exciting journey deeper into the complex and riveting ondine world that Raveling introduced in book one . With heart-racing suspense, excellent and believable character development, enticing romance and exquisite storytelling, this is a must read sequel in a must read series!


MY RATING

Find the author: Website / Blog / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Emma Raveling is a fantasy author who leads a slightly eccentric life traveling throughout the world with her accommodating husband and charming, neurotic dog. Hopelessly addicted to coffee and diet coke, she has a strange love of spreadsheets and organizational tools because they give her the illusion that she is somehow in control of the chaos that is her life. A dedicated practitioner of vipassana meditation, Emma loves to cook and often spends time scouring the Internet for new recipes. She adores beautiful art such as painting and sculpture, classical music, lyrical writing, and great graphic design.


Whirl (Ondine Quartet #1)

Seventeen-year-old Kendra Irisavie is an ondine, a water elemental caught in the middle of an ancient war with the Aquidae, 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…
Purchase: Amazon l Barnes and Noble l Smashwords



2 comments:

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

WOW, Aiecha! If you loved this one so much, then I'm going to have to make sure to add the first one to my TBR! I haven't read such a glowing review in a long time. :) And I like the idea of a love triangle that doesn't FEEL like one.

Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

nat said...

Wow, great review!! I loved the first and have this on my wishlist so Ill definitely have to go about buying it soon :)