Master storyteller Sharon Shinn created the thrilling and enchanting world of Welce in her acclaimed novel Troubled Waters. Return with her to that elemental universe in this tale of secrecy, romance, and a battle for power...
Josetta is a princess of one of the Five Families. But she is far from the throne, so she is free to spend her days working in the poorest sections of the city.
Rafe Adova, an outcast since he was born, lives the life of a career gambler in those slums. He has no ambition other than cheating at the card tables - until the night he decides to help a girl named Corene, who looks like she's stumbled into the wrong bar.
She, too, is a princess - sister to Josetta, who finds her with Rafe. He fascinates her. Josetta has never encountered anyone like him - someone seemingly devoid of elemental blessings.
He is drawn to her, though he thinks they are unlikely to ever meet again - but their connection grows strong when she nurses him back to health after he is assaulted by foreign mercenaries. And when they learn the reason he's being hunted, they know that the truth about his history could endanger not only their love but also their very lives...
©2013 Sharon Shinn (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I was so excited to see this book. I love 'Troubled Waters'. It's one of my go to books when I'm looking for something good to listen to, and I always wanted to know what happened afterwards. This was definitely a worthy sequel.
The only downside was that Ms. Van Dyke didn't pronounce certain words and names the same way as she did in the first book and I found that a bit jarring.
I hold a BA in History from York University of Toronto; a 3yr Diploma in Computer Networking from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. I have been "reading" audio books sinces the late 80s and a member of Audible back to 2004. What a really like is a good long story preferable over 30 hours. :)
This is a nice Romanic story in the same vein as Troubled Waters just more Romanic and less magic. Nothing is going to truly surprise you but at the same time it's enjoyable. I personally missed the magic level of Zoe story. It's well written and moves the characters and story about 5 years from the end of the last book without a ripple.
I can't wait for the next one this is a very engaging book that is light hearted but slightly cliche but that in no way detracts from the sweetness
Sharon Shinn writes a very good clean book. the people in her stories are well thought out. and full of life. She gives you a peek at so many. and keeps the humor going. I like how she is doing the air, water, land... primes.
the story over the first one?.... l like the growth of the area, travel by air? lol love the way she is doing it.
sometime when I read a book. I read to fast, to catch all of it, and must go back and reread some parts to see what I missed. that does not happen with Ms. Van Dyck.
No, it was to long.
can't wait for the next one... hope it comes out soon
I have to admit my original opinion of this series may have been a bit harsh. I listened to book 1 again this week and was compelled to get book 2. To let you know how much I enjoyed it, I used a credit I was saving for a pre-order. There ya go. I enjoyed it and now that I've finished book 2 I am ready for the next installment in the series.
I don't have anything negative to say about this book or the audio performance. It was a worth reading all the way through.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
2.5 stars, originally posted at Fantasy Literature. Life's too short to read bad books!
Royal Airs is the second book in Sharon Shinn’s ELEMENTAL BLESSINGS series. I loved the first book, Troubled Waters, which was a light romantic fantasy that told the story of Zoe Ardelay, a young woman who was brought to the royal court of Welce to be the fifth wife of its king. She discovered that she had power over the element of water and, using the personality traits that her water spirit gave her, she successfully navigated the dangers of the court and found true love. I’ll be reading that book again someday.
Royal Airs takes place after the events of Troubled Waters, but it can stand alone. Many of the characters overlap, but this is a separate story, not a direct sequel. In Royal Airs we become acquainted with more of the princesses of the five families of Welce. Corene is a young lady who jumps from her stepfather’s carriage after he tries to molest her. Seeking refuge in a casino, she meets a young free-spirited gambler named Rafe who protects her from other men until her stepsister Josetta, another princess, arrives to collect her. Later, when Rafe is nearly killed by unknown villains and brought to the homeless shelter that Josetta runs, the girls have a chance to repay the debt. The girls and Rafe soon become friends and get involved with all the usual court intrigue of Welce. There are scheming mothers, imposters, false princesses, and hidden princes.
Our young heroes are likable folks, but not as likeable as Zoe and Darien from Troubled Waters (Zoe and Darien also appear in Royal Airs and they steal the spotlight when they’re on stage). Corene is strong-willed and courageous; Josetta is a little bit dull, but she’s kind-hearted and admirable because she feels most content when she’s helping the city’s outcasts; Rafe starts out as a rogue but when he meets Josetta he suddenly has the motivation to do more with his life than sit in a bar and play cards. I’m not sure why Josetta and Rafe are drawn to each other since they have nothing in common, but it’s sweet to see them interact with each other and, in doing so, make each other better people.
I had more trouble with the plot. There were too many aspects that were predictable (e.g., spoiler hidden in original blog post, I can't do that here.) and even more that were hard to believe. Most importantly, I didn’t believe in the romance between Rafe and Josetta. I never felt it — there was absolutely no chemistry, especially compared to Zoe and Darien from Troubled Waters. Also, situations were contrived to put Josetta and Rafe together in extremely unlikely circumstances. I couldn’t get absorbed in the story because I kept noticing how the plot had to be maneuvered to get Rafe and Josetta near each other. Cranes and excavators were nearly required.
I also had trouble figuring out who the target audience is for Royal Airs. It is marketed to adults, not to teens, and this seems correct because of the sexual situations, yet the princesses are all young adults (or they seem like it) and much of the plot and dialogue is juvenile. Even the discussions that the adult leaders of the country have amongst themselves are often silly and emotional. Except for the sex, Royal Airs feels
YA. I think Shinn should have left out the sex and marketed it to teens.
Royal Airs has a nice message (especially for teens): it’s not what you inherit that makes you worthy, but what you do with your life. I thought that truth was undermined in the end, though, because (spoiler hidden in original blog post, I can't do that here.)
Jennifer Van Dyck narrates Audible Studio’s version of Royal Airs. She uses a pleasant low-pitched voice for the narrative, which I really like, but she uses an intense angsty tone for some of the characters (such as Corene) that tends to cloy after a while and may have contributed to my feeling that this seems like a Young Adult story. It’s not enough to keep me from recommending the audio version, though, and I will pick up the next book in that format. I liked the first book a lot and these books seem to stand alone well enough. I’m hoping that book three, Jeweled Fire, which focuses on Corene, will be back up to the standard of the first book.
Absolutely NOT time well spent. I was so annoyed by the over-enunciation and over-emphasis of the narrator's reading voice that I gave up by the end of the first chapter and bought the Kindle book at Amazon. This same reader has been used for all of Sharon Shinn's books at Audible, and at first she was just an annoyance, but the irritation factor seems to multiply the way additional exposure to a food allergen does. Now I just find her performance intolerable. Sentences that should have sounded completely natural become overplayed and purple-prose-like from her mouth. I've read nearly all of Shinn's books--she has a very natural and easy style of writing that isn't the least bit purple--it takes a real talent to be able to amke good writing *sound* awful just by the style of reading.
I feel like I'm writing a book report now. Ugh. this isn't grade school and i'm not here to help Audible make suggestions based on reviews. However, I would probably compare Ms Shinn's writing style somewhat to Robin McKinley's mixture of fantasy and romance--both combine them well, with good characters that are immediately relateable. So maybe a bit like her Beauty or Deerskin.
As mentioned above, her reading style is over-the-top, overly-enunciated, and unnatural, emphasizing too many of the words in each sentence and doing execrable "voices" for the characters that were completely unnecessary and might better have been eschewed. This reader needs to read the way that people speak in real life, not like every word is playing to the back row of an ampitheatre--over-emphasized with the audio equivalent of expansive gestures and heavy stage makeup.
Read more Sharon Shinn books? Get back to writing my magnum opus?
Shinn's writing is very natural and instantly likeable. She writes good characters and intriguing worlds. Until Audible finds a better reader for Ms Shinn's books, read them rather than listen to them. And don't judge the writer by the limitations and excessive drama of the performer.
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