Book Reviews Are Back ☺
I’d like to extend my thanks to Bloomsbury publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel for my enjoyment.
WOW. I think it’s common knowledge that the first book is typically not as good as the first one because the first is the real OG, the beginning of everything. It’s the origin story of all the characters and the world in general. But what if it isn’t?
Blurb: Stolen from her family as a child, Aspasia has clawed her way up the ranks of Cyrus's black market empire to captain her own trading vessel--and she risks it all every time she uses her powerful magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can. But Cyrus is close to uncovering her secrets--not only that Aspasia is an air Elementa with the ability to sail her ship through the sky, but that she is also searching for her lost family. And if Aspasia can’t find her younger siblings before Cyrus does, she will never be able to break free. Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the centre of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.
Imprison the Sky is the sequel to a novel I read and reviewed last year called Reign The Earth. You can read the review by clicking on the above link. I adored that book, but there was something more to the story in this novel that I just rated far more highly.
Initially, like as soon as the first page, this book had me confused. You see, I was under the very deep and anticipated impression that this novel was going to be a direct continuation of the previous one; same characters and everything. It wasn’t. It was so much more than that. It was the same world and the same story told in the eyes of another whom had suffered only as much hardship as our initial protagonist. Here in Imprison The Sky, we meet Aspasia. This book gave us an entirely new cast of characters to love and hate (but mostly love), as well as giving us back our favourites all in one.
As mentioned above, this book far outdid the first novel. I think it is because of the world building and the fact that this novel had a bigger and more complex area to work with; but also the fact that our protagonist had so many layers that were slowly uncovered as the story unfurled. From the way, Aspasia acted around her crew (or didn’t act), and the reasons behind her various choices and actions throughout the novel made me like her a great deal more. This improvement in the series so early on is a testament to the author’s amazing dedication to their art.
They say that you can learn a significant amount about a character by breaking them. I think Gaughen knew that because she did not hold back! We saw Aspasia through times of death, loss, happiness, pain, confusion; and in every occasion, her reaction differed letting the reader see another layer of her personality.
The whole premise of this novel is about slavery and the work to eradicate it, with a great emphasis on elemental magic and how the possessors cannot control or chose to have their power, yet are shunned and abused for what they have. Aspasia, an elemetae herself will take on and protect those with powers in any way she can.
The powers and use of them is one thing but I think we would all agree it wouldn’t have any degree of realism (or human nature) if the user didn’t maybe get exhausted by using their power. Well, Gaughen took this into consideration and placed emphasis on the exhaustion suffered by elementals who overexerted themselves when using their powers and how the only way to restore their power and energy is to – like any human – rest. This made for some good conflict and progression of the character dynamic.
The emphasis on the value of family was very strong in this novel also but in a different way that it was in the first book. Aspasia’s crew of displaced and former slave children was a place to be with people who made you happy and have someone to look out for. To know that someone(s) have your back as you have theirs.
Of course, my favourite parts were centred around the women in power. Not just good areas of power, but all sorts of powerful positions. We encounter Women Queens, Women Criminal Overlords, Women Rebellion Leaders. Female Captains. All of these women making good, bad and questionable decisions with their own motivations and reasons for doing so. Yes, of course, there were powerful men, but none seemed to be overpowerful or cancelling out the roles of the women, rather moving alongside them.
Finally, the beautiful evolution of the love story in the novel. I loved how it was very slow burning and how pure and special of a relationship it was. The significance of it to both of the parties really made it feel like it wasn’t thrown in there for teen appeal and it actually moved the story along and boosted both people in the relationship, making them better people by the end of the story. All was not well, but all was better in their lives with the other by their side and a promise of never leaving their place.
★ Rating ★
I, of course, rated Imprison the Sky a predictable ★★★★★ (5/5 stars). I don’t really think there is any other rating to give this book considering how amazing it is.
What elemental power would you want to have and why?? xxx
With Love Bree xx
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