Young adult writing at its best
Air & Ash, (Tides: Book One)
When Princess Nile is blamed for a failed sea mission and discovers she’s about to be married off to a foreign prince, she boards a dangerous ship on a quest to find a cure to her brother’s ailment. Nile quickly discovers that she suffers from the same ailment; Magic.
Set in a unique and vivid fantasy world with many different kingdoms of different political stance and varying strengths. Each kingdom is clearly defined and plays a part in the story. The Ashing Kingdom, where Nile is from, has a strong naval presence. The magical elements of this book are skilfully intertwined through the world building and are clearly explained and demonstrated.
A no nonsense, practical, and intelligent young woman (also a sailor and a princess) who understands her limitations, Nile could hold you to the page by herself with her sound reasoning (aside from a few understandable moments when her moral compass overrules everything else) and an unbreakable love for her afflicted twin brother.
Without naming names, the ruthlessness between Nile and the love interest is a major highlight of this novel. Their growing relationship truly explores the hard decisions which come hand-in-hand with dangerous and impossible situations.
Great characters, world-building and pace make for a tightly crafted story that will have you turning pages late into the night (or early into the morning). The love-plot element of Air & Ash is refreshing as is the unpredictability of the plot. The magical conflict, family conflict, love conflict, and overall battle tie together and meet in absolutely riveting final few chapters. There is not one moment in this book where you will doubt the authenticity of the world or characters.
The amount of research that Alex Liddell must have put into this novel is awe-inspiring. Air & Ash is one of my favorite reads of 2017.