Title: Of Land and Air
Author: Meghan Rhine
Rating: Four stars
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This book would make such a cool movie!
Rachel Collins is a senior in high school with big dreams. Her parents want her to go to college, get a good job and follow in their footsteps. But Rachel has secretly hoarded her college applications and made plans to travel through Central America after graduation.
Her home life is falling apart as her parents fight and she has to protect her young brother. She finds she and her friends are growing apart despite her deep feelings for Anthony, who she has known for years. Rachel feels unfulfilled, angry with her family and their expectations of her and desperate to escape.
After breaking her “good girl” image and screaming at an unfair teacher, Rachel is sucked out of her life and into a parallel universe. Her body is left behind, leaving her in a coma while she experiences the world of Ourania, a more advanced world currently in the throes of civil war.
Rachel soon learns from soldiers Xander and Cornelius that she is the only human who could have survived the trip from Earth to Ourania. Better yet, she has a big part to play in the war and it isn’t until she fulfils her purpose there that she can return home. Unfortunately, the longer Rachel spends in Ourania, the higher the chance that her body dies on Earth.
I went into this book expecting an “ordinary girls gets thrown into a magical world that’s also in the middle ages” story. However, after learning that Ourania was actually a futuristic world with more advanced technologies and medicines, I was even more intrigued. Medicines heal people quicker and more effectively. The materials used are more resilient and smart. Most impressive of all, the plant life is both sentient and mobile and can move at will to protect themselves and express their feelings.
Ourania is vividly painted by Meghan Rhine and naturally, it led to some pretty deep immersion. The world of Ourania is a colourful place and if it weren’t for the war, we might even think of it as a utopia.
When Rachel first arrives, she is introduced to several colourful characters. Elius, who is responsible for healing her. Xander and Cornelius both take on the role of training her for her purpose in the war. Zara, who helps her settle in but also teaches her about her newfound ability to control the earth and with it the plants that take root there.
Xander and Cornelius both come across as pretty intense and train Rachel very hard to the point where she is hurt a lot on multiple occasions. Zara is a caring young woman, highly empathetic and intelligent to boot. Elius is a bit of a loose cannon at times. Although he is an old man, he has seen horrors that sometimes surface in his demeanour towards Rachel. He is a kind old man at times and at others, he is lost in his past.
This book was incredibly well written, I think this author has immense talent and writes beautifully. There was something about her combination of flow and language that made this book so easy to read.
I knocked this book down to a four star though because there were some frustrating portions where nothing much happened. Rachel trains a lot in this book and she gets thrown in the deep end and hurt during every session. After the third or fourth time of reading this same instance, it got a little repetitive.
A lot of the events in the book were dragged out which took away their significance and their impact. In place of all the extraneous details and happenings that didn’t contribute to the plot, it would have been amazing to learn more about the hardships going on in Ourania and see some bigger action. The stakes are very high but we don’t learn how high until the very end of the book and by then, it’s almost all over.
The ending was amazing, with a highly satisfying climax. I just wished it hadn’t taken so long to get there.
I recommend this book to fantasy and sci-fi lovers, including those of you who always wished to be whisked away to another world when you were a child! Get your copy of Of Land and Air a-right here if this looks like your cup of tea.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!