“Wealth, power, fame, status, preeminence, notoriety, prestige.
Some people spend their whole lives chasing these dreams. Others purposefully avoid them. Me, I neither sought nor shunned them, but they came to me anyway, unasked and unwanted.”
First things first: I received a free copy of Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset in exchange for my honest review. Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset is book one of the Sunset Trilogy by Sarah Ashwood.
Hannah Winters is just your average twenty-something. Her sister is getting married soon, she’s done the whole college thing, she’s not had any weird experiences with magic – you get the picture. But when a mysterious stranger shows up and whisks Hannah off to Aerisia, the land beyond Earth’s sunset, she learns that she is anything but ordinary. According to this stranger, she is the Artan – a legendary champion who is supposed to deliver Aerisia from the Dark Powers. There are all sorts of people willing to help her become the Artan: the Simathe, immortal warriors; the Moonkind, people of the Moon; and then the ordinary(ish) human(ish) people of Aerisia. Naturally, not everyone’s excessively pleased with this whole Artan thing – Hannah is one, the Dark Powers are another – and so Hannah’s life is in danger from nearly the moment she arrives in Aerisia. And naturally, we can’t have that. Oh, and then there’s this mysterious Joining that keeps getting brought up but never explained.
Hannah is a very believable person. She reacts rather realistically to finding herself in Aerisia with no way home. I will admit that she cries a lot and it sometimes strikes an annoying chord, but generally it inspires sympathy. There were several times that I felt embarrassed for her because she is very… impetuous and doesn’t often think before she speaks or acts. Subtly, she grows over the course of the book, sometimes the hard way, but she matures nonetheless.
Ilgard is the Simathe High-Chief who is charged with protecting and training Hannah. He is a man’s man, and I love him. Both patient and firm, he is the perfect balance for Hannah’s self-confessed “idiocy”. Honorable and dignified, he handles Hannah’s schemes and difficultness with astute fortitude. Honestly, I didn’t see much character growth in Ilgard, but he did change.
At the beginning of the book, the pacing is a little off. We don’t learn much at all about Hannah’s family or life on Earth because she is taken to Aerisia very quickly. However, the rest of the book seemed to move along quite nicely. The descriptions were amazing! I felt like I could see Aerisia. Ms. Ashwood did a spectacular job with the dialogue – Hannah sounds like a twenty something from 21st century America and the Aerisians sound very… distinct from our culture (which I guess means dignified because I loved the way they talked i.e. – “I know not the meaning of this word”, “It is needful”, “We have come to tender our farewells, my lady, and bless your journey”, etc.). Just throwing this out there: Hannah dropped a few “heck”, “freaking”, and “crap” over the course of the book – I just thought I’d mention that for those who are more sensitive.
In conclusion, I really liked this book! It was a little predictable, but not so much that I couldn’t enjoy it. I would definitely recommend it to any fantasy lovers because it is a clean novel. I give it four out of five sleepless, sighing stars and a PG-13 rating. :)
P.S. – Isn’t this cover beautiful?