by Amie Kaufman
reviewed by Sarah Custance
Amie Kaufman is the co-author of many well-known series such as ‘The Unearthed Duology’ and ‘The Starbound Trilogy’ both written with Meagan Spooner and the ‘Illuminae Files’ and ‘Aurora Cycle’ both written with Jay Kristoff. The Elementals Trilogy are her first solo novels.
‘Battle Born’ starts off straight from the last book where 11 year old twins Anders and Rayna have just stopped the immediate threat of war between Ice Wolves and Scorch Dragons but in doing so they have destroyed the city of Holbard and gotten themselves and their friends (from both sides) exiled and marked as traitors, wanted by both groups.
The odd group make base camp at Cloudhaven, a place forbidden to dragons and unreachable to wolves, where they can assess what should be done to stop a bigger war between the two elementals, help the displaced citizens of Holbard, find the twins’ mother, unlock the mysterious past of their new home, and try to find out if the two elements really can not only get along but actually work together in harmony.
A lot has fallen onto the shoulders of a ragtag bunch of kids but since the adults are adamant on waging war it is up to the youth of Wolf, Dragon, and human to join forces and knowledge and fix a situation that they would otherwise inherit.
The first thing to say is that this book should NOT be read as a stand-alone novel. The first two books are an integral part of this book and without the background knowledge you will feel lost and underwhelmed. In the first book, ‘Ice Wolves’, we focus on the wolves’ side of the story of the Great War and Anders’ never-ending struggle to find and save his twin sister. Then in ‘Scorch Dragons’ once Anders and Rayna have reunited, the story focuses on the dragons’ side of the Great War and a search all over Vallen to retrieve the pieces of a hidden artifact.
As the last book, ‘Battle Born’, lacks a lot of the adventure and suspense that the first two books had in abundance but that does not make it any less of a gripping story. It definitely feels like the wrap up of the series, tying up all of the loose ends and such but there are just enough twists to still keep the reader on the edge of their seats waiting to see what will happen next and how it will all ultimately end.
Compared to the first two books this could be seen as an ‘easier’ read as it is a smaller book with less rush to it than the others, however it deals with some very intense themes and politics that actually make it more of a thought provoking and reflective book.
All up I have greatly enjoyed my time spent in the realm of Vallen and I would gladly recommend this series to any young fans of fantasy novels. This would be a perfect series for readers of the ‘Wings of Fire’ books by Tui T. Sutherland, and the ‘Warriors’ series by Erin Hunter.
HarperCollins 2020 Hardback $17.99 320 pages ISBN 1460755294