Blurb from Goodreads:
Ice is in her blood.
Eighteen-year-old Waterrunner Eira Landan lives her life in the shadows — the shadow of her older brother, of her magic’s whispers, and of the person she accidentally killed. She’s the most unwanted apprentice in the Tower of Sorcerers until the day she decides to step out and compete for a spot in the Tournament of Five Kingdoms.
Pitted against the best sorcerers in the Empire, Eira fights to be one of four champions. Excelling in the trials has its rewards. She’s invited to the royal court with the “Prince of the Tower,” discovers her rare talent for forbidden magic, and at midnight, Eira meets with a handsome elfin ambassador.
But, Eira soon learns, no reward is without risk. As she comes into the spotlight, so too do the skeletons of a past she hadn’t even realized was haunting her.
Eira went into the trials ready for a fight. Ready to win. She wasn’t ready for what it would cost her. No one expected the candidates might not make it out with their lives.
Secrets, mysteries, and a handful of deception awaits in Elise Kova‘s new series, A Trial of Sorcerers. Like what its title said, this book is about a trial—a competition of sorts designed to pick not just the most powerful, but also the bravest and smartest sorcerers, to represent their kingdom in a much bigger competition.
Sounds exciting already, but that’s not all! Aside from fighting for a spot in the tournament, our main characters each have their own private issues and personal battles to fight, which adds more good weight to the plot.
Our main character, Eira, is a little bit too trusting and gullible for my taste. But there is a continues growth to her character throughout the book. It was nice seeing her grow into her powers and become her own person, gradually stepping outside of her brother’s shadow and her family’s control step by painful step. And just when you think you know everything about Eira, new mysteries surrounding her identity emerge as we go through the story, which makes her character more intriguing and more fascinating to follow.
The world-building wasn’t very complex like most of the books in this genre. It’s simple but it wasn’t boring. There’s just about enough vividness to give readers a clear picture of the world. Nothing fancy. Even the magic system wasn’t very complicated as the author chose to stick with the classic elemental magic. It’s the simplest and probably the most commonly used type of magic in fantasy, so this might come as tropey to some readers.
The romance is kept at a minimum in this book because, slow burn, baby! But it definitely has a potential of getting more sparks in the future books. And I’m here for it. Just waiting for the romance to blossom is already one level of excitement.
The best thing about this book is how incredibly developed Eira’s friendship with Alyss is, and also her bond and relationship with her older brother, Marcus. They’re just like the best support system Eira can have, especially Alyss who had been a ball of inspiration and a constant voice of encouragement for Eira throughout the whole trial and even before that. It’s just nice reading about friends lifting and supporting each other so they could both reach their goals.
The twists were a little too predictable though. There was more than enough foreshadowing for you to easily tell what will happen next, or who the real bad guys are. This would’ve been more fun if there was an element of surprise to it, or if there were more dangers presenting itself during the trials, or just more scenes of the trial, because I feel like I wasn’t given enough of it.
The events that lead to the ending were heartbreaking and its huge impact on Eira got me all the more curious as to how things will progress in the next installments. Will Eira let her heart succumb to the darkness brought by these events? Or is her friendship with Alyss and her budding romance with Cullen enough to chase the darkness away?
Overall, A Trial of Sorcerers has been a fun read. It contains a lot of tropes but Kova manage to make them enjoyable to read. She has an engaging writing style that makes the book pretty easy to sink into. I wasn’t aware this was a spin-off from another series until after I finished reading it, but thankfully, it didn’t affect my reading experience with this book. But if you wanna get a better picture of Eira’s world before diving into her story, then check out Elise Kova‘s Air Awakens series first.