Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: Aire by Lena Goldfinch

by Lena Goldfinch

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 350
Publisher: Indigo Road
Publication date: April 22, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy, romance

From Goodreads:
"Annalisia is a seer, a princess with a courageous spirit—and a soft spot for Legends.

Jovanni is a Legend, a commoner with no patience for pampered royals.

Principessa Annalisia is stunned and conscience-stricken when an unknown enemy mistakenly abducts her maidservant. Determined to find the girl, Annalisia disguises herself as plain Anna and slips away from the palace. She tracks down Jovanni, her maidservant's daring older brother, and they soon begin to search together. As they uncover clues, Anna also discovers a kindred spirit in Jovanni. But would he be so free with her if he knew who she really was? Doubtful. Even so, she reveals her secret gift of visions to him, and in so doing disobeys the orders of her beloved grandmother, the queen.

With Jovanni, Anna can almost imagine she’s like any other seventeen year old girl, free to pursue the longings of her heart. When she learns that he also has a secret—he's a sentinel, an ancient shapeshifter who can take the form of a falcon—it seems as if they were destined to be together, as in the legends of
il Sentiro. Though Anna is tempted to wish otherwise, she can’t forget that she’s a princess and it's her duty to marry another. Meanwhile, their hunt leads Anna ever closer to danger, for she herself is being hunted.

A princess and a commoner.

They never should have fallen in love...but they did.

{ I was kindly provided an ebook ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review. }

Aire is a wonderful story set in a beautiful, richly detailed fantasy world. This world is similar to ours, but it's full of magic and myth - or rather, Legends. In the kingdom of Isalla, Annalisa is a princess who is expected to do her duty by accepting an arranged marriage and hiding the fact that she is a seer. But Annalisa finds it difficult to adhere to either one of those responsibilities. When her friend and cloth maiden Mira is kidnapped, Annalisa takes it upon herself to find her, and in the process finds mystery, danger, and romance.

I can't say enough about how beautiful this book is. The world, the culture, the language - it's all blended wonderfully to make a truly lovely story. Isalla seems to be inspired by Italy; for example, the words they use seem quite similar to Italian words, and some of their customs and clothing seem like they may have been drawn from Renaissance Italy. I love all things Italian so I really loved reading about a place that was sort of Italian-but-not, familiar yet with its own unique feel.

The magic and mythology of the world Goldfinch has created is fantastic. It's talked about as something far in the past, something that doesn't exist anymore, and perhaps it was all only a legend... but some believe there are still sentinels and seers. I liked seeing Anna and Jovanni slowly reveal their secrets to each other as their relationship progresses, and I especially liked the scenes where we got to see Jovanni shapeshift into a falcon.

Aire truly has a little of everything. The synopsis focuses on Anna and Jovanni's romance (which is a big part of the story and is very sweet), but there is also the mystery of Mira's kidnapping (which becomes more involved as they go along), suspicion of who is after Anna (which includes suspicion of some in the palace's employ), and the adventures and dangers Anna finds herself in with both Jovanni and her friend Ilan, the falconer's apprentice. (SPOILER - highlight to read: And am I the only one who secretly wanted perhaps an alternate universe where Anna and Ilan end up together? I like Anna and Jovanni and the idea of them coming together as kind of a fulfillment of the legends, but I think I would have liked Anna and Ilan just as much.)

I really enjoyed spending time in Anna's world and the creative magic and mythology that Goldfinch added to it. I would definitely read another book by Goldfinch. I can sometimes be a bit picky with fantasies, but I'd read another of hers without question.

Final verdict: I loved it! I thought this book was great! I might buy it for myself and I would definitely recommend it to others.

More about Lena Goldfinch }

Lena Goldfinch's website
Lena Goldfinch's Goodreads profile
Follow Lena Goldfinch on Twitter

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