Born of Aether

An Elemental Origins Novel (Elemental Origins Series Book 4)

Young Adult - Mythology/Fairy Tale
270 Pages
Reviewed on 02/27/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Born of Aether by A.L. Knorr is the fourth book in the Elemental Origins series. On the surface, Akiko is an ordinary teenage girl who lives with her grandfather, but she's keeping a secret she hasn't shared with anyone, not even with her closest friends. The man she calls her grandfather has held her prisoner ever since the day he stole her soul. After all these years, he's finally giving her the chance she's been waiting for. A chance to obtain her freedom. All she must do is travel back to Japan and acquire an ancient sword. Stealing the sword won't be easy. First, she'll have to face off against a dangerous crime syndicate and confront her past.

A.L. Knorr brings to life another brilliant origin tale, this time focusing on Akiko. In the previous books in the series, the core group of friends has stayed in touch via text updates, but Akiko has been largely absent so Born of Aether explores why. As before, the other three friends have a presence throughout. They represent her only true family and give her a grounded place that’s safe as the rest of her life is a secret. Her driving force is her desire to finally obtain her freedom after all these years and she's willing to do anything to get it. She and Daichi have a complicated dynamic as he literally stole her soul and has held her captive, with author A.L. Knorr exploring the reason for his actions, giving him more humanity. He saw obtaining an Akuna Hanta as his destiny to obtain his revenge.

The plot has a fun heist tone as she has to sneak around and infiltrate a crime syndicate to steal this sword. Woven into the story are flashbacks revealing the origin of how she ended up being taken by Daichi. These scenes have a tone reminiscent of a fairy tale as Akiko navigates life in the 1920s, celebrates an engagement, discovers the extent of her ability to turn into birds, and explores her relationship with her Kitsune sister who is the catalyst for her magic. Her past love with her fiancé adds a bittersweet romance to the story while showing who she was then versus now. Born of Aether is a fun and adventurous read with a heist in Japan, a dangerous crime syndicate, the awakening of magic, and the fight for freedom.