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{March 18, 2014}   {Review} Whirl by Emma Raveling (Ondine Quartet #1)

WhirlFrom Goodreads: Outspoken and independent, Kendra Irisavie has always played by her own rules.

She’s an ondine, a water elemental gifted with the powerful magic of Empath Virtue and trained to be a fighter. Pursued by Aquidae demons, she and her mother remain Rogue, hiding among humans to avoid becoming casualties in an ancient war.

Everything changes when violence erupts on Kendra’s seventeenth birthday. A dark stranger appears, promising answers to her mysterious past and stirring unexpected feelings in her fiercely guarded heart.

But as Kendra uncovers the truth about her heritage and future, she realizes just how deep the lies and deception run.

Now, in the face of unthinkable odds, she will need all her wits, skills, and magic to fulfill an extraordinary prophecy.

The first in a sweeping urban fantasy series, Whirl is the beginning of a young woman’s exhilarating journey for survival, love, and hope as she fights for her place in a world where she doesn’t belong.

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If you’re a fan of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, or HalfBlood by Jennifer L. Armentrout, then I think you might really like Whirl.  They are all very similar in style and even story line, yet each have their own flares and originality based on the author’s strengths.

Now, to be fair. Whirl actually came out at the same time Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Half-Blood did, give or take a month depending on the publication site you peruse, but due to different marketing and publishing houses, Half-Blood took off as Whirl remained lesser known.  However, they are virtually one in the same, which makes me believe both were modeled off of Vampire Academy, which came out in 2007.  But in the end, does it really matter?  If the characters have different abilities, personalities, and issues, does it matter if the plotline is similar to other novels?  Some are going to say “yes, definitely,” but I’ve found that, for me, it all depends on the author and how they spin their story.  Personally, I enjoyed Half-Blood just as much as I enjoyed Whirl, but I distinctly disliked Vampire Academy, which I read a very long time ago (and probably need to re-read).  And the reason for this is that they’re all different in their own rights, with different elements, be they vampire, deamon, or ondine, and the mythology surrounding them all is what gives the books their own originality (along with author flare and the ability to write).

Whirl focuses on the ondine—water elementals and selkies—a group I’ve never read about until now, and it was really interesting to learn all about this group of people. And I love novels about elementals, so it is no surprise that I really enjoyed this novel, regardless of it’s similarities to others I have read.  Raveling gives her story life through her own words, and I really liked both Kendra and Tristan, especially as their worlds collided and the tensions mounted.  Filled with intense scenes and non-stop action, Whirl grabbed my attention from the very beginning and I found myself wrapped up in Kendra’s life.  The characterization was realistic and, though Kendra can definitely be a bit annoying at times, I see a little of myself in her, and so I was able to bond with her and her antics right away.  She’s a free spirit set on fighting for those she loves, and I loved that she didn’t back down from a fight, regardless of danger.

Reader beware, there are tons of terms and names in this novel that you’ve most likely never heard of before.  Luckily, the text explains it fairly well, but there’s also a glossary in the back for those of us who need it (like me) to keep everyone and everything straight, because there are a lot to remember.

Overall, I personally enjoyed this novel.  But if you’re adverse to similar plotlines and you’ve read either Vampire Academy or Half-Blood, then you may want to skip this one.  On the reverse, if you haven’t read either of those other novels, then pick up Whirl novel stat and check out the awesomeness that is the ondine.  Four stars.

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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