Sunday 10 March 2019

Book Review: A Harmony of Fire and Earth (Elemental Magicae #2) by Antonia Aquilante (MM/Fantasy)

Title: A Harmony of Fire and Earth (Elemental Magicae #2)
Author: Antonia Aquilante
NineStar Press

Publication Date: 11 March 2019
eBook - EPUB
ARC via NetGalley

Prince Edmund of Thalassa and Prince Arden of Aither are eagerly anticipating their upcoming wedding, but the danger to their kingdom hasn’t lessened. They have a plan, but they won’t be able to carry it out alone: they need a strong wielder of each Element, whom they can trust implicitly, to carry out the magic.

Rhys is a commoner and wielder of Earth magic. He and his sister have made a living from the use of their magic for years and have become highly respected in scholarly circles, though he prefers a more simple life with his plants. When a message from Prince Arden reaches them asking for their help, they don’t hesitate. They stop only to request that Gaz, a strong Fire wielder and the man Rhys has long been enamored of, accompany them on the journey to Thalassa’s royal palace.

What no one knows is that Gaz was once known as Prince Gareth of Thalassa and is Edmund’s younger brother, long believed dead. He fled his home after his Fire Affinity made itself known and put him in danger, and he had no intention of ever going back. But he can’t keep himself from going to his brother’s aid, despite the risk of discovery and of the weight of his secrets potentially crushing his fledgling relationship with Rhys.

Working against time, they must find a way to come together in a magical working the likes of which none of them has ever imagined, or their homelands will surely burn.

I loved A Dance of Water and Air, so I was excited to see how the story would continue in A Harmony of Fire and Earth. First off, the good points: I loved Gareth, and enjoyed his romance with Rhys. It was fun to see them introduced alongside the continuing tale of Arden and Edmund. Plus, I still like the idea behind the story of elemental magic and the way different kingdoms lean towards different elements. Where this second volume fell down a little for me was in the pacing. There were some great moment, but then there were also times when it felt like a lot of dialogue and not much happening. In particular I struggled with the ending. I don't want to spoiler it, but it felt like there was a big long build-up only for everything to be over in no time, leaving me a little unsure of what exactly they'd done, how it had worked, and why it came with the provisos it did. That part appeared a little underdeveloped. I still enjoyed this book, but it certainly didn't have as much of an impact on me as the first volume. I gave the first book five stars, I give this one three and a half, and overall I'd put this duology as a four-star read.

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