Title: Sisters of Wind and Flame
Author: Jennifer Ellision
Series: Threats of Sky and Sea #0.5
Genre: YA Fantasy
A short Threats of Sky and Sea prequel-
Once, Lady Katerine was simply Ekaterina. Once, she was not a countess, but a girl who cleaned fireplaces. And once, she had a sister…
Source: Review copy from the author via email
This short little tale tells the history of one of Threats of Sky and Sea‘s most interesting characters. In fact she’s the one character I felt could most benefit from a little more explanation for her behaviour in that book – Lady Katerine, air mage, countess and all round powerful influence.
But what made her that way? Well, that’s what this story aims to explain – and it sort of does. Ekaterina grows up poor and desperate, alongside her sick twin, until the day their magic kicks in and their lives change for the better. But while Ekaterina’s twin is a fire mage and easily blends in with the rest of the army, Ekaterina is an air mage, who are trained mainly to be healers and are somewhat scorned by the soldiers.
For me, this didn’t make any sense. Air mages are rare, which you’d think would make them valued. As I’d also expect the role of a healer to be, especially by soldiers. I could understand Ekaterina’s frustration at being turned into a healer when that wasn’t what she wanted, but the story focuses more on her isolation and inability to make friends because they think she’s worthless. It might also have been down to Ekaterina herself, who isn’t the warmest or friendliest of people, but I still found it a little hard to believe.
It’s also pretty short, so we don’t learn anything about her healer training, we don’t learn anything about her twin’s powers, we certainly don’t learn anything about how rare and unusual it is for both twins to have magic (something that is mentioned in Threats of Sky and Sea). I understand that novellas are short and don’t have a lot of space for world-building, but one of my main problems with the longer novel was it failure to develop the world, so I was hoping for a little more – especially with regards to magic – from this tale, since the plot is fairly sparse and I needed a few more reasons for why Lady Kat turned out how she did.
So overall this didn’t really deliver all I had hoped, with some aspects of it ending in a slightly disappointing whimper. However, my expectations aside, it’s a quick, enjoyable read, showing the progression of Ekaterina from poverty-stricken young woman to powerful countess, taking every opportunity handed to her and making the most of what she gets. If you’ve already read Threats of Sky and Sea and want to know more about Lady Katerine, then this will certainly answer some of your questions. If you haven’t read anything from this series yet and are thinking of giving it a try, then this will offer you a brief insight into what you can expect – magic, fantasy, sisterhood and the perils of ruthless power.
Sisters of Wind and Flame is Out Now!
Visit Jennifer Ellision for more details.