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Air and Ash (TIDES) (Volume 1) Paperback – March 23, 2017
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"It was worth the wait!" - BroadwayWorld Book Review
"Alex excels at gritty, real life heroines of the fantasy world, and Nile is no exception!" - USA Today Bestselling Author Rachel E. Carter
"High seas, magic, war, blood and a hidden princess. It's like Christmas in a cup. This dangerous adventure will have you trapped, on edge, and have you rooting for the disgruntled princess and the vicious first mate." - Amazon Reviewer E.A. Walsh
About the Author
Alex Lidell is the Amazon Breakout Novel Awards finalist author of THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). She is an avid horseback rider, a (bad) hockey player, and an ice-cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce's ALANNA in Alex's hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex's life long love for YA fantasy books. Alex lives in Washington, DC. Join Alex's newsletter for news, bonus content and sneak peeks: subscribepage.com/TIDES Find out more on Alex's website: alexlidell.com
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Here’s one excerpt that captures the nature of the Gifted as well as Ms. Lidell’s excellent and descriptive writing style:
“The Gifted have magic in their blood that turns their bodies into living magnets. Five types of magic are known: air, water, metal, stone, and fire. In each case, the afflicted Gifted’s body attracts one of the elements. The attraction in and of itself is deadly only to fire callers, who burn themselves dead long before they have any hope of learning control. For the four other magics, a measure of control is possible but the side effects of having magic are gravely dangerous. Stone callers’ muscles dissolve; water callers’ blood refuses to clot; air callers succumb to fits and convulsion…and metal callers like Clay pay with their minds. My brother is a cripple. The physicians say he will never get better. I don’t believe them. One day, my Gifted twin will come back to me. I’m sure of it, in a way that only a twin can be.”
And this excerpt illustrates not only Ms. Lidell’s talent and imagination, but it also highlights her unexpected humor and sense of fun:
“I sift my memory for her name. Lady Madeline. Yes, Lady Madeline from Eflia North, who spends her days lavishly prancing between courts to inspire people to charitable deeds—preferably ones that bolster her prestige without the inconvenience of work. She also owns the Lyron Herald, a news press with all the integrity of a hungry hyena. When Thad threw her out of Ashing, the Faithful took her back to an Eflian port. The carpenter was obliged to remove one of the bulkheads to accommodate her luggage. Last I heard, she had gone to Felielle and made herself comfortable at court, befriending Felielle’s Queen Leanna in the process.”
Kudos to the author!
Niles packs a bag and runs away to join a ship called the Aurora, where she masquerades as a common sailor so not to be returned home where she faces a forced marriage to someone she doesn't love. Niles time on the Aurora is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. There are some scenes where she is thrown into situations where she just can't win no matter what she does. It also doesn't help when she suddenly wakes with magic in her blood. Magic, that if caught, will put Niles in a very difficult situation. Magic that has already caused her brother Clay to become a cripple.
But, let me say this, Niles is absolutely fantastic. You can push her, but she doesn't easily break. She's intelligent & she's had more seafaring time than anyone aboard, and yet, time and time again she faces challenges because of a Captain who is a coward, arrogant, spiteful, hateful, and obvious that he is only interested in lining his own pocket and those of his own countrymen. She's a leader, but can't afford to give away who she really is since doing so will get her sent back home in a Brooklyn minute. Niles relationship with Domenic Dana is one of ups and downs, and everything in between.
It is slow burn, and one that is challenged because of Dana's position on the ship and the fact that he knows who Nile really is. There is chemistry between them, but they can't afford to be caught by the Captain who would love to give Niles even more grief. Another one of my favorite characters is Lt. Catspar who is leader of an elite marine detachment called Spades. Catspar became one of my favorites after seeing how Niles pushes ahead despite all the obstacles put in her way. He even bothers to help her train and learn how to fight knowing that it will most likely save her against the Republic, and others onboard the ship.
I saw this book on Amazon and a book tour web page and decided to jump in feet first. I am glad I did. This is an action-packed adventure that will keep you from wandering off in order to do something else. One could say that I am a fan of swash-buckling stories with ass kicking heroes and heroines. Plus, Niles isn't your typical spoiled Princess which makes things even more delightful for me. I know there is a prequel to this series, and perhaps one day soon I will read that as well. But, in the meantime, I can't wait until the sequel War and Wind is released this coming June.
At the beginning there were some moments which got me slightly confused due to many new characters and unknown universe, but the feeling quickly disappeared and all the puzzle pieces fell into place. The author explained the set up of the world fully, without going into unnecessary details.
The universe was fascinating, a bit of a fairy tale, magic, and harsh reality of the life of seamen. I loved Nile and I was holding me breath while following her struggles, decisions, suffering and triumphs. The graphic descriptions of punishments and cruelty on board of Aurora made me want to cry. All the different characters, villains, good guys and those in between were given complicated personalities, none of them seemed like a cartoon cut out. Through the events of the story everyone had a chance to prove their worth or depth of his depravity. I found their fight to preserve their dignity, loyalty and honor fascinating.
I highly recommend this fast paced action book with a healthy dose of romance. Just a little warning, after I had finished this book, I had to start Book 2 immediately, though it was very late at night. So exercise caution.