Hosted by Kismet Book Touring
Welcome to my tour stop for the second book in The Wings of War series, Gaia, by Karen Ann Hopkins. I'm new to this series and I'm really excited to share the love! I will reviewing both Gaia and Embers -which is the first installment in the series. Also, I'm featuring Karen's Guest Post in which she'll be sharing her Dream Cast for some of the amazing characters in this series. And don't forget to check out the giveaway at the end of this post!
Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins
The Wings of War #1
Published October 21st, 2014
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy
Premise:There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them. And she may be the only hope mankind has as the rapture approaches and evil rises.Embers is an epic paranormal adventure about an eighteen year old girl who discovers that she's immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt's boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember's exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she finds out that she's a Watcher, a descendant of angels. While Ember learns about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two young men who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicitly drawn to one of the men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it is cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war—one that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil—and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She also might be one of the few champions who will make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.
Embers is a dark and gritty YA novel that’s the first book in the series, The Wings of War.
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I'm new to Karen Ann Hopkins book but I've heard amazing things about her books and her writing style and now I can honestly say that they live up to the hype.
I'm not going to summarize the book because I think the description given is pretty accurate and it's better if you go into it not knowing exactly what you're in for. I'll only say that the end of the world is coming, but it's not quite here yet. First, Ember must fight smaller battles, so don't go in expecting the world to go up in flames right away.
The beginning was kind of slow and a bit confusing to me. At first I had a difficult time establishing a time-line for the events such as the accident, the encounter with the priest and the prologue. But little by little everything begins to fall into place and the action starts building-up and before you know it, you're so deep into the story and its character that you can let go of the book.
The world building is amazingly well done considering that it's a huge world full with a lot of different supernatural beings with different set of rules and powers. The characters were really multi-dimensional and well developed. I liked the way they toyed with the line that divides what's right and wrong, good and evil, it gave them much more depth.
Ember is a great protagonist. She's bad-ass but not so much that it takes away from that relatable quality of her character. I really enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes and discovering all of her powers along with her.
Sawyer is an impossibly gentle soul trapped in an awful life which requires him to do awful things to survive. I won't go much deeper into it's character, because all of his mysteries are better when you discover them yourself.
I really liked Ivan and Ila too. Ivan was very sweet and shy and my heart went to him for all he'd been through. Ila was a seriously bad-ass character. She's is very cryptic and she has this grandma-like sweetness to her but she still is very active and amazingly strong. The mentor being the one who tell the girl she is different was pretty refreshing. I know it's been done before, but not as many times as the version where the mysterious guy with whom she inevitably falls in love, is the one who tells the girl the truth about who she is.
This first installment ends with a bang, it's like everything explodes and the story rises up to its full potential and there's fighting, deep emotions and suspense. It left me with a sense of closure but still very excited for what's coming next. I don't know how people managed to sit still while the next book was in the making. I'm really glad I get to jump right into it!
Gaia by Karen Ann Hopkins
The Wings of War #2
Published July 26th, 2015
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy
As the Demons grow bolder and the walls between the planes of existence weaken, Ember is forced to develop her powers as quickly as possible, and she seeks out a powerful earth Watcher to continue her supernatural lessons. Her glimpse of the future demands she fight the dark forces spreading across the earth.
But her new mentor has his own agenda, making her question everyone and everything she ever trusted.
When Ember is thrust into the world of the Watchers, she learns of their plans—ones that defy the scripture and make them enemies of the Celestial Host. Ridding the world of evil gets complicated when it becomes impossible to take sides.
As Ember struggles with morality, she soon discovers that there’s something more frightening than anything she’s faced before.
OMG! This series is so freaking fantastic, you guys! I'm having a hard time reviewing this one because I'm so agghh! Why did it have to end there?! I was dreading those last few pages, I didn't want it to end because now the waiting for the next one is going to kill me!
I don't know if this happens to anyone else but me, but I tend to get suspicious when the book covers are too pretty. Like they are too good to be true. And this book covers are freaking gorgeous! But I'm relieved to say that, in this case, the beautiful covers are the perfect complement for the gorgeous story inside...
I know I'm not making much sense, but I'm writing this right after finishing the book and my mind is in pieces... Let me breathe for a while...
Okay, here we go...
Gaia picks up right where Embers left off which is great since I started this book as soon as I finished the first one and the transition was seamless. The big difference between this installment and the one before is the pace. Since the very beginning there's action and honestly just a whole lot of crap going on, which I love. So make sure you're comfortable and don't have to be anywhere else soon, because you won't be able to put this thing down once you pick it up.
I'm not going to go into much detail about the plot, because I stand by what I said in my review of Embers. It's way better if you don't know what you're getting into. The surprises hit you in the face like a brick and it's freaking awesome.
I should not be amazed at the world-building since it was already pretty well done in Embers. But the depth it shows in Gaia was monumental. I've not read the Bible since I was a kid, but I still got most of the references and the way its text found its place in the backstory of the characters and their purpose was superb. Everything was really well put together and I can't wait to see how all the revelations dropped here and there play out in the next book.
Onto the characters now... I loved Horas addition to the gang. His character makes me really happy for some reason, I loved his relentless teasing and how he could be so sarcastic and snarky even in the most dire moments. I just love him to bits.
I also really enjoyed spending time with Piper, since she was often mentioned in the first book but we didn't see much of her all in Embers. Also Timmy! I'm glad they both had a place in this book, because I felt like we should know these characters that meant so much to Ember.
Ember keeps growing as a character throughout this book. Her powers are growing and she's also discovering where her loyalties lie. She struggles a lot to find balance between right and wrong in this book, because everything is mostly different shades of grey and I really enjoyed seeing her trying to make the best decisions in the most impossible situations. She's just overall a great main character.
We finally meet the famous Insepth in this book and he's a handful. He's really powerful and cocky and unbelievably resourceful. But he's also mysterious and has his own agenda. Sawyer also got his mystery back. We know he really cares for Ember, but there's still just something about him though. I think I trust him, but the thing is that every freaking character in this book made me uneasy! I had a really hard time trusting people in this book. When things were nice and quiet I could feel myself just waiting for the other shoe to drop, thinking "I don't trust you Karen! I know you're up to something!". And then bam! Like an nuclear explosion everything went to hell and then there were even more characters and HUGE revelations and my heart could barely take it when it ended.
I can't wait for the next book. This series is one of my favorite angel-themed series of all time. It's very different than what I've read before on angels and I'm enjoying it immensely. I sincerely recommend it to anyone who likes paranormal fantasy, especially people who are looking for more than just a story, because this world is phenomenal and you won't want to get out of it.