*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
Bree and her friends have come to help Nereidium stay safe from King Langdon and his Ruin Reaping. But as everyone's trying to adjust to the life altering news shared, they learn that Nereidium is suffering from new troubles of their own - earthquakes. Could it be that King Langdon has found an Earth Shaker and looking for their hidden land. King Langdon needs to be stopped before he gains to much power and destroys more than his own lands.
The writing sounds so poetic in how the moment and feelings are described as we open on the beach with Bree and her friends. Grace's narration keeps a rise and fall to the words and sentences that adds to the feeling we get. Very beautifully written.
Grace feels to put a lot of thought in the story as she voices the characters. The sentences flow neatly together, making us feel as the scene and words are together in thoughts. No sentence or words, unless needed to be, feels to stick out as an extra addition. I like this flow. But, with this strong thinking also comes a feel as though the pacing is slow with the drawing out of the words. This was an easy fix for me as I bumped the speed a quarter to keep going a bit faster.
We start at the exact moment Riot of Storm and Smoke ended.
Everyone's lives are changed coming into this book. Bree's true self is known. Which also goes to say for Aleta as well. Caden left his father, the king, and his land. There are so many possible ways this could play out, and for the good in coupling way. But these are drastic, sudden changes.
We also start to get to know new characters that are from Nereidium. In the beginning, Lady Helen seems nice and could be easy for Bree to talk and work with. I feared she would turn on Bree as others had in the past.
We start to see there is more at work than just people and Elementals. The Makers are gods/goddesses that are believed in (though not truly called gods/goddesses) have an influence in what's happening too. They have attempted to contact those of our group in different ways, some ways that may not be direct. It was a gradual draw to this through the books, but we get there and I like it. Though, if the balance in the world doesn't come to an even keel, the Makers may let the world go. I enjoyed this story as we get a connection to the Water Element and gods/goddesses in the world.
We move through time quickly with this book. We get the telling how many days or weeks have passed as we start into each chapter, if time has passed. There are times we don't get a time frame but know they've crossed sea or land to be to a destination point.
We get the story from Bree, Aleta, and Caden's POV. As all in their group are important, these three are the one's impacted the most and have connections we need to know about. Their feelings and knowledge is very important in how things will play out in the end. Bree grows up in this book, growing into a strong young woman. Aleta, strong as she is, has a brief fall but her determined personality returns and she moves on. Caden still has things to work through as he hasn't faced his biggest. Things come together and work, mostly, out after they all fight for their lives and countries.
There were are few moments with these characters that felt breezed over and not 100% believable for me. The separation from Bree, they didn't work harder to see each other and the time frame apart seems long but may not be as long as I got the feel for. They are determined young adults and this seems to not fit for me. Then when they leave Nereidium, the queen is let go easily. Really? After being lost all these years they'll let her leave without argument? Let alone on such a dangerous expedition? Erm... I don't know. I felt these moments could have been strengthened.
One big fight for part of the crew is very neat as it's a battle of Elementals, nature and humans fighting. Lots happening and sounds fast but cool seeing the use of Elemental powers. I've enjoyed seeing them use their powers in small moments and this is bigger and more action.
In the end this was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I like where the relationships are left. These are young adults with important lives to live. But where the major arc ends is fitting as well.